GOP Squabbling Continues
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.
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