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More GOP division

Amy Gardner

State Sen. Martin E. Williams (R-Newport News) is the latest moderate Republican to predict trouble on the horizon for the GOP if it doesn't open its tent to a broad range of voters. Williams, who lost a fierce primary battle earlier this year to conservative Tricia Stall, has launched a new blog, www.reagansgop.com, whose principal theme will be to lament the damage that the party's conservative wing is wreaking on GOP majorities.

"If we're not willing to open up the tent a little bit and broaden our base, we're in for a rough ride for the next six or seven years," Williams said. "That's exactly why I estabished this site."
Williams is particularly chagrined that conservative Republicans seem to care more about opposing abortion and promising never to raise taxes than about solving complex problems in their communities, such as traffic or helping at-risk children. Williams lost to Stall primarily over his support for a transportation plan that included local taxes and steep statewide fees for abusive drivers.
"This is what Ronald Reagan did: He worked with a Democratic Congress and he changed the world," Williams said. "But he had to compromise to do that, including raising taxes. I don't want to be a site that promotes tax increases. But I won't sign my life away to not support one."
Williams said the blog will focus primarily on Republican politics in Virginia, particularly where the divide between conservatives and moderates is in play. He expects to give lots of attention to the nomination process for the 1st Congressional District, represented by Jo Ann Davis until her death earlier this month, and to next year's U.S. Senate and presidential contests.
In the short term, Williams will also focus on the General Assembly races. He's worried about Republicans losing seats in the Senate.
"Without the artful redistricting that we did in 2001, I think we'd be in real trouble," he said.

By Amy Gardner  |  October 18, 2007; 6:21 PM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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