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GOP Squabbling Continues

Tim Craig

The division within the conservative ranks over the controversial fees for bad drivers continues.

John H. Hager, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, was scheduled to speak last Tuesday before a group of conservatives who meet monthly to talk about public policy and state politics.

But a week ago, Shaun Kenney, spokesman for the Virginia Republican Party, called the organization to say Hager had to cancel his appearance before the organization, known as the Tuesday Morning Group.

John Taylor, the chairman of the group, said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) asked Hager to cancel the appearance. It seems that Hager and Howell are upset with Paul Jost, the chairman of the Virginia Club for Growth, an anti-tax organization. Jost is active in the Tuesday Morning Group.

Last month, Jost said his organization will not endorse any Republican legislators in the Nov. 6 election who supported the transportation bill, which included the fees. Taylor said Hager and Howell also objected that Paul Goodman, a critic of the transportation plan, was scheduled to speak before the Tuesday Morning Group on the same day as Hager.

Taylor, who is also president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, said he is "shocked that the chairman of party is taking marching orders from a beleagered speaker."

"If Ed Gillespie was still chairman, I doubt the speaker would be calling Gillespie telling him where he can speak," said Taylor, referring to the former state party chairman who is now a senior adviser to President Bush.

In an interview, Kenney said "obviously the speaker and (Taylor) are not on the best terms.
Our mission is to elect a Republican majority. Mr Taylor and Mr. Jost have said they oppose that mission," Kenney said.

But Taylor thinks the 500 members of the Tuesday Morning Group may have the last word because some are now withholding contributions to the Virginia Republican Party.

By Tim Craig  |  September 14, 2007; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

I have never said that I oppose the mission of electing a Republican majority. I have only said that our group, the Virginia Club for Growth, and I, are not going to support anybody this cycle who voted for HB 3202. We have not said we would oppose anyone, only that we would not help them.

Helping candidates who support higher taxation, overly punitive punishment for traffic offenses and additional layers of unaccountable government goes against our philosophy. Frankly, I think it also goes against the philosophy of the Republican Party.

I am personally working to help elect or reelect Bob Fitzsimmons, Tricia Stall, Brenda Pogge, Tom Gear, Jeff Frederick, Patricia Philips, Bob Marshall and others. Just today, I made a pledge to help Mark Cole. If I opposed your mission, I would not be helping these candidates

Posted by: Paul Jost | September 17, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

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