John Whitbeck, chairman of The Republican Party of Virginia, chats with J.R. about the clear message voters sent November 8 when they delivered a resounding defeat to the GOP. Republican candidates have lost ten straight statewide contests since 2012, and Whitbeck explains how the GOP needs to change. That said, he also mentions how Washington DC disproportionately affects Virginia’s politics and how the state electorate tends to nationalize our politics differently than other states. Regarding that messaging, he says that calls to “Drain the Swamp” are unlikely to be effective in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. However, that doesn’t mean candidates should abandon conservative principle; rather, they need to work on finding the right tone that reflects the Virginia Republican creed for new and diverse voters.
Whitbeck also addresses Corey Stewart’s call for Whitbeck to be replaced. He says that this was a “media stunt” and “garbage” because, despite the recent drubbing, the party as an organization is very healthy financially, has growing field and grassroots operations, significant digital/online activism, and excellent relationships with affiliated organizations. He recognizes the concern and knows that winning elections will go a long way to unifying the party. He says it’s his job to roll with the punches and ensure fairness in the nomination process.
Ultimately, Whitbeck says the party is far from dead and has no intention of rolling over going into 2018 and 2019.
Links of Note:
- The Republican Party of Virginia
- VPAP Report: Republican Party of Virginia
- Young voters turnout a GOP hurdle in Virginia (The Washington Post)
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