Past 1st Vice Chair, Events Chair and Elections Chair of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation
I have lived in Fauquier County for 10 years now. Being a Republican voter all my adult life, excluding my uninformed, youthful vote for Jimmy Carter in which I quickly learned the many errors in Democrat philosophy, I was proud I lived in a county that votes over 65% Republican in just about every election. One would naturally assume the citizens here in Fauquier would be electing strong conservatives to the leadership of the local Committee. Until the election of March 22nd to reconstitute the Fauquier County Republican Committee, that would have been viewed a true statement.
As most active Republicans here in Fauquier know, Cameron Jones, one of the two candidates for Chairman of the Fauquier County Republican Committee, is a friend of mine. We have worked together on several campaigns, knocking doors and making phone calls for Republican candidates. Not only have we worked very hard to get Republicans elected, we have donated our money in tough economic times to Republican candidates. Also, we have both attended our Board of Supervisor’s meetings where we have publically expressed our thoughts about local zoning, taxation, school and business policies before the Board Members. Our writings have been published locally in The Fauquier Times (used-to-be-but-still-is-Democrat), Fauquier Now and the Fauquier Free Citizen, as well as various other publications around the state.
So it was with great concern that I watched as the tone of the campaign run by Cam’s opponent immediately took a turn south. The election between two supposed “conservatives”, my friend Cam and a new person in the county, Scott Russell – President of the American Spectator Foundation, would have appeared to be a classic battle of two champions of the right. However, right out of the gate, Cam, our friends and I were labeled “elements” wanting to “seize control” of the same party we had worked for several years to promote. Then came the lies being spread about Cam’s philosophies and record. You can view one letter being widely circulated that spread fears based totally on fabricated lies Here.
This alone was concerning enough, but then we discovered one of those spreading similar deceptions was a person that had given money to opponents of Republicans (but never to Republicans) and stated the following in her letter: “You do not need to be a Republican. Democrats, Progressives, Independents, Libertarians – all registered voters in Fauquier County are welcome.” This is a clear violation of the Republican State Party Plan. You can read Jessica Swan’s letter in its entirety Here.
It was obvious that the Fauquier County Republican Committee had done no credentialing of candidates. How could they? There was no Credentials Committee! So Cam’s team did our own investigation. A quick search on VPAP turned up interesting information on two other At-Large candidates.
Kitty Smith, a resident of Delaplane, who has never donated to a Republican, has donated to Democrats and has voted in two Democrat primaries in 2008 and 2009.
Leslie Cheek III, a resident of Warrenton, voted in Democrat primaries in 2009 and 2013. His donation record is even more interesting. While giving relatively small amounts to four local Republicans (less that 10% of his total donations), the overwhelming share of his almost $20,000.00 of donations went to either Democrats, opponents of Republicans or organizations that gave heavily to Democrats.
One such organization, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters (VALCV), received almost 25% of all of Mr. Cheek’s contributions. This group, claiming to be a “non-partisan political voice” gives almost exclusively (over 90%) to Democrats. “A search of VPAP shows 99.6% of the nearly $2 Million in political donations for 2013 went to Democrats, with 98.1% of that money going to the top 3 positions (Governor Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring).” VALCV was Terry McAuliffe’s third largest donor. Leslie Cheek III sits on the Board of Directors of this “non-partisan” group. For further details click Here.
Mr. Russell stated in an email blast that these three individuals are solid Republicans with the “leadership qualities and experience to help lead the Fauquier County Republican Committee”, and they are “dedicated to keeping Fauquier County solidly in Republican hands”. You can read Mr. Russell’s entire letter Here.
Election Day was like a circus. Folks showed up in droves. There were over 1200 people who cast their ballots. The only thing they needed, true to Swan’s letter, was a valid ID. The Party leaders had done nothing to prevent Democrats from “taking over”, even though Cam had requested measures be taken. A Republican voter related this conversation of the couple in front of him: Female voter “This is so weird coming here to vote today, I’m not even a Republican.” The male voter replies, “I know, I’m not either.” Similar conversations were heard by many that day.
One Democrat, creating her own Circus Act, came dressed in a carrot suit. Anyone watching the antics outside the polling place would see that this election was being made the laughing stock of the county. Cam’s supporters, however, were not laughing. Some of the Democrats hurled personal threats to his volunteers as they handed out sample ballots, saying things like “their days in the county were numbered.”
So Jessica Swan, along with her two Democrat associates, Cheek and Smith, are now voting members of the “new” Fauquier County Republican Committee. They were successful in getting out the Democrats to select the leaders of the “new” Republican Committee in Fauquier County.
It was the saddest day in politics I have ever experienced. Not so much that a mockery was made of the election. It’s that the “winning team” has no problems with either the lead-up to the election or anything that occurred that day.