Dear Fauquier Free Citizen:
I was privileged, along with eleven other 5th District Republicans, to attend our 5th District Republican Convention this past Saturday [17 May] in Farmville, VA.
The purpose of this convention was to elect a new Republican chairman for our congressional district in which Fauquier County is included.
The race pitted conservative leader, Mark Lloyd, against a moderate, Bill Bolling-style Republican, Jon Berkley – Congressman Hurt’s handpicked candidate.
The highlight of our raucous convention was Robert Hurt’s attempt, through Jon Berkley, to disenfranchise Campbell County’s entire delegation. This effort had already been ruled illegal by our 5th District Committee, but Hurt and Berkley had the votes on Saturday and denied anyone from Campbell County from voting at the convention, thereby ensuring Berkley’s narrow victory. A great resource for the shenanigans leading up to the convention is former GOP Senate candidate Jamie Radtke at the web site www.thebullelephant.com
Mr. Berkley, throughout his campaign, had parroted the notion of “party unity.” So, within minutes of his victory, he and Hurt took the unprecedented action to immediately purge five elected conservative members of our 5th District Committee who had supported his defeated opponent.
This is unity?
Almost half of the 440 delegates left Saturday’s 5th District Convention feeling abused, betrayed and disillusioned.
Yes, Congressman Hurt, you won on Saturday.
But here is what you lost: you compromised your integrity, you damaged your conservative credentials, you lost the trust of a significant portion of your constituency, but most of all Congressman Hurt, you destroyed party unity here in our Republican 5th Congressional District.
Jeffrey E. Knight Washington, VA