I got to Richmond, Va. Friday afternoon with time to spare before my meeting with the Republican Party of Virginia’s nominations committee to see if I would be selected as one of Virginia’s 13 at-large delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
A number of other candidates milled around outside the room; former Congressman Tom Davis and former Gov. Jim Gilmore each had meetings with the committee to see if they would go to Tampa.
A number of Ron Paul activists from Northern Virginia asked me to toss my hat into the ring, so I put together a bio and stated my case. I ran for office at a young age, helped out on a number or Republican campaigns and traveled to train conservative activists nationwide.
The meeting lasted only about 10 minutes, if that. Several committee members were interested in my experience as a young candidate and another wanted to know my position on drug legalization (Something that I thought would sink my chances).
The committee thanked and excused me, then called Gov. Gilmore in for his interview. “He’s got big shoes to fill,” I thought.
I drove two hours back to Arlington to wait. I knew I wouldn’t hear anything until the convention the next morning, so I got some sleep.
The next morning at five o’clock, I woke up to make the trip back to Richmond. I had no idea if I would be selected or not, and the convention began with little fanfare.
A brief hiccup happened when the delegates from Warren County were refused their seats for not filing the proper paperwork in time.
Rumors circulated among older Republican women that Ron Paul supporters had brought cages filled with doves that they would release if they lost a floor fight. But that was news to Paul supporters who I spoke with.
The election of at-large delegates came next. The nominations committee recommended 13 delegates and 13 alternates.
I found myself among the 13 at-large candidates alongside Gov. Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, former Gov. Jim Gilmore, John Tate, campaign manager for Ron Paul for President and Chris Stearns, Ron Paul’ Virginia state director.
There were others, but I didn’t hear them. Once the chairman of the nominations committee called my name, I zoned out. I had made it! What a unique opportunity!
Attendees voted overwhelmingly by voice to confirm the slate of candidates, and the convention continued without much commotion until the election of national committeeman and committeewoman.
Morton Blackwell, who has served as national committeeman from Virginia since 1988, faced opposition from Ron Paul supporter Shelby McClurin Jr.
Incumbent Committeewoman Kathy Hayden Terry faced off against Donna Holt, a conservative activist with wide grassroots support.
Blackwell won re-election by a roughly 2-to-1 margin. Terry, on the other hand, eked it out by less than five weighted votes. Holt lost by what amounted to one or two actual delegate votes.
Holt’s supporters, recognizing the razor-slim margin by which they had been rebuked, demanded a recount. All four candidates, however, had the results explained to them beforehand and accepted the outcome. There was no recount.
The convention drew to a close and elected delegates and alternates met to select committee appointments to the four GOP committees: Platform, credentials, rules and permanent organization.
Stearns was elected to the Platform committee, and Mike Rothfeld, who runs a direct mail business and consulted for Paul’s presidential campaign, was elected to the credentials committee.
These were two important victories for Paul supporters.
But as Eric Goloub, a blogger for Washington Times Communities, writes, “…this is all inside baseball. It excites political junkies…” Goloub is absolutely right.
It was exciting for me, as a political junkie and candidate for at-large delegate, to see the process first-hand and receive the support of so many Republican activists.
See you in Tampa!