Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gilmore Wins VA GOP Senate Convention- Attendance is Everything Folks!

In the closest race I've seen in many years, Gov. Jim Gilmore's Goliath met his David today.

Jim Gilmore is officially the Republican nominee for the November, 2008 election running opposite of liberal tax hiker Mark Warner.

The convention, held at the Richmond Convention Center, was a "nearly" packed house of approximately 3,500 delegates who had volunteered to attend on behalf of their respective counties and districts.

Just about every major player in Virginia politics, past, present and future, was in attendance including Senator George Allen, Congressman Rob Wittman, Del. Mark Cole, Del. Bill Howell, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli and my good friends of The Jeffersoniad Blog Alliance whose appearance in numbers simply overshadow the "real" press.

Bloggers had numbers, results, opinions, humor, interviews in audio, video and print, all available in real time to the public whereas the newspapers were still scribbling in little notebooks writing stories you won't hear until tomorrow sometime!

TV was noticeably weak in attendance, but there were a few cameras, so you might see a snippet on the boob tube tonight, but I doubt it...

It was GREAT to see and meet a lot of the Virginia blogosphere in person for a change.

The crowd was vociferously in favor of Marshall. Based on decibel levels alone, I would have thought a 75-25 split was eminent. You already know, it wasn't. That was weird.

We were graced by a video made from President George W. Bush who spoke of keeping party unity, taxes low and a few other stock presidential speech items. It was long and frankly, old rhetoric.

Each county was given a total number of possible delegate votes based on its voting population. Each GOP committee nominated its delegates to attend the convention. No committee successfully put forth as many people as the the possible votes they were allotted, so the delegates who signed up basically represented those who didn't bother to. Furthermore, those delegates who actually attended the convention got to vote in proportion to the total number of allotted delegate slots.

Some counties had a few hundred possible delegate positions to carry one vote each, but only a few dozen signed up to be delegates and therefore those few dozen voted for the rest. On the day of the convention, of those few dozen who signed up, only a handful showed up, and thus there were instances where a single attendee's appearance and single ballot carried the weight of as many as 30 delegates!

Spotsylvania and Stafford, part of the First District, had some of the highest Marshall supporting vote ratios in the county itself but the overall number of district-wide delegate votes was what made the difference, and the Henrico area of the 7th District had some of the highest for Gilmore.

For example, if County ABC had 150 total delegate votes and 100 showed up with 90 voting for Marshall, then Bob has 135 out of 150 votes (each delegate weights as 1.5 votes), and County DEF had 100 possible delegate votes and only 2 people showed up and voted for Gilmore, then 100 votes went to Gilmore. Thus 2 people carried the weight of 50 votes each in the second county compared to 90 people only weighing 1.5 votes each.

In that example, had ONE extra person showed up in the second county for Marshall, it would have made the vote 66 votes for Gilmore and 33 for Marshall. Had two shown up, it would be 50-50!

You can see how IMPORTANT ATTENDANCE WAS in this convention!

Bob Barry, a dropped third candidate, received 22 delegate votes from a single district. These votes would have almost certainly been for Marshall, but were disqualified from being counted, and a re-vote was not authorized but Chairman Hager (who lost badly to Jeff Frederick, our new state GOP chairman.) This was a small factor in delegate vote losses for Marshall.

Gilmore outspent Marshall 14:1 and got quite the jump start by about nine months since Del. Marshall was prohibited from campaigning and fundraising while the House of Delegates is in session. This isn't meant to be an excuse, but it was a factor.

Gilmore's refusal to change his lifetime of advocating for life itself not beginning until the 8-12 week point in development, thus allowing abortions to occur until that time, will likely never earn him favor with pro-lifers.

He has several other chinks in his armor to overcome that have been aired in this campaign and in his brief presidential bid in 2007. Warner is waiting to exploit these weaknesses and Jim's virtually broke campaign as of now. Gilmore spent nearly a million dollars during this year long ramp up campaign and has nearly nothing on hand at this point. Warner, however, has amassed 3 million dollars and has no opposition to worry about in his party.

Conservatives and core-value loyalists will have to decide between now and November, if Gilmore is "close enough" to conservative to earn their vote or not. The alternative of course is liberal tax-raiser Mark Warner for six years in the U.S. Senate. One hopes that will be enough to turn out the vote when there are few to no state or local races to bring out the grassroots.

We must however, remember to re-elect U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman, so do make it a point to vote if he's your federal congressman!

This is the breakdown of delegate votes per district (not the number of people who voted, but the total weighted votes that were cast):

Thanks to Bearing Drift blog for his dedication and hard work live at the convention and recording these votes!

1st: 643.27-490.73 for Marshall (confirmed)
2nd: 612-345.6 for Gilmore (confirmed)
3rd: 121.83-75.16 for Gilmore (confirmed)- ABOUT SEVEN VOTE DIFFERENCE!
4th: 382.53-319.45 for Marshall (confirmed)- FIVE VOTE DIFFERENCE!
5th: 666.17-419.65 for Gilmore (confirmed)
6th: 530.62-507.47 for Gilmore (confirmed)- TWO TO THREE VOTE DIFFERENCE!
7th: 1035.79-581.52 for Gilmore (confirmed)
8th: 156.96-145.04 for Gilmore (confirmed) -- ONE VOTE DIFFERENCE!
9th: 551.78-335.22 for Gilmore (confirmed)
10th: 584.5-160.5 for Marshall (confirmed)
11th: 1137-577 Marshall (confirmed)

After the announcement of Jim Gilmore's win, a pre-made video diary of Jim's life was played on the big screens. It was LONG to say the least and its audio was like that of a 7th grade science class video on the forming of a star. "Wake me when it's over", I told my wife.

A very nice, and again very LONG video honoring Jo Ann Davis' memory was aired having been introduced by her successor Rob Wittman.

Note to whomever hired this media company- DUMP THEM. The videos aren't interesting and they are very old fashioned. I think the soundtrack was from the 84 Olympics! You will never win the hearts and minds of young people with this type of video style. It's more interesting to watch grass grow. Whomever you get to do future videos- make them SHORTER also! Two words: "MTV Generation".

Bob Marshall shook Jim Gilmore's hand and congratulated him, then took the stage and told us to "beat Mark Warner" at the end of a brief speech and thanking his family, staff and hundreds of grassroots volunteers. They really did a great job with the time and resources they had, and this effort will not go unnoticed. In fact, it will be sorely missed by future campaigns of candidates with lesser qualities and qualifications.

Bob Marshall is still serving us as a Virginia delegate from Prince William County. He brought us a 7-0 win in a lawsuit that challenged HB3202 (abusive driver fees and unelected tax hiking authority), the Marriage Amendment, and many other success stories during his 17 year (so far) service to Virginia's House of Delegates.

Thank you Bob for all you've done for the party, Virginia and the pre-born. Your principled leadership, accomplishements and steadfast loyalty and understanding of the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions are now legendary.

You're a patriot in every sense of the word.

You didn't lose today, we, as voting self-proclaimed conservatives, let you down. I'm personally very sorry for that.

... Gilmore wins: 5,222.73 to 5,156.97

ONE SMALL FAMILY'S VOTES would have made the difference in a Marshall Victory.

Did you show up?

Cross posted on Rappahannock Red and Bloggers for Bob


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