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Frederick Fights Back; The Battle is Set for April 4

Tim Craig

Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick is digging for a fight to keep his job as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, sending out a memo today that paints his critics as GOP "insiders" responsible for the party's dramatic decline in recent years.

In the lengthy statement, Frederick vows he "will not back down" even though nearly every top ranking GOP officeholder in the state is calling for him to be ousted.

Frederick is billing the looming clash as a contest between the party's grassroots versus the "small minority" who want to turn the Virginia GOP "into a rubber stamp for its long-time insiders."

"For years, the Virginia Republican Party had been run from the top down, with consultants and lobbyists providing far more input into the direction of our party than the grassroots," said Frederick, who blamed national and Virginia party leaders for losing control of the U.S. Senate and House in 2006. "Rest assured, we're fighting for the future of our Republican Party and our commonwealth and we will not back down."

Frederick also tries to rebut all 10 charges that the Republican State Central Committee brought against him. The charges will be aired at a meeting April 4.

The full text of Frederick's letter can be found below.


Dear Republican Friend,

Less than one year ago, thousands of our party's activists and volunteers attended the 2008 State Republican Convention in Richmond. It was at this gathering that I was overwhelmingly elected chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV).

At that Convention, my message of a Republican Party that would be driven by the beliefs and convictions of the grassroots carried me to a clear and convincing victory. I won nearly 60% of the vote, carrying 8 of Virginia's 11 Congressional districts. As my four immediate predecessors had each been initially elected by the members of the RPV State Central Committee, I became the first Chairman in 12 years to initially win election at a convention, and the first in 16 years to win a contested convention.

Regardless of whether you voted for me or even attended the 2008 Convention, I want you to know that I'm proud that I have honored the commitment to refocus our party's priorities on the grassroots, as opposed to the top-down approach we had taken for so many years to disappointing - and sometimes disastrous - results at the ballot box.

I'm further proud of the achievements we've made at the RPV in less than 10 months. We have aggressively communicated a consistent conservative message in the mold of Ronald Reagan; surpassed the Democrats in the use of technology; and established field-representatives in every area of the state to serve our local Party units.

Despite an extremely challenging national environment for Republicans, RPV raised over $1 million during my first seven months as Chairman to support our candidates and grassroots efforts. And, those monies were in addition to resources provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC), where combined, led to RPV spending an unprecedented $5 million on behalf of our candidates last year.

More recently, we have actively assisted the resurgence of our party in special elections, where our candidates have made great strides in districts Barack Obama won by large margins.

All of this was accomplished in less than a year, in large part because we changed the way RPV did business and listened to the voice of the grassroots.

Unfortunately, many of the same Party insiders who overwhelmingly opposed me last year have decided to wage a campaign to overturn the results of last year's State Convention and remove me as State Party Chairman. Because they never supported me, my removal has been a consistent focus of theirs almost from the moment I took office.

Because I would not step aside, this group served me with a list of "charges" as a pretext to vote me out at a Party meeting to be held April 4. Disappointingly, several of these individuals have already declared their intentions to remove me at that meeting regardless of my response to these charges. In effect, they have decided to prejudge what is supposed to be a fair and deliberative process.

As I have stated from the beginning, I will not abandon the chairmanship and break my pledge to the rank-and-file Republicans who elected me less than a year ago. The votes and decisions of the thousands of the Party faithful who attend our conventions, where we select our party's nominees and elect our Party's leaders, must be respected. Overturning them because the results do not fully comply with the choices of long-time Party insiders would be a violation of the trust the Republican Party must hold with its own conservative base. Elections should mean something, after all.

Below you will find a summary of my response to the "charges" against me. A comprehensive response containing much greater detail accompanied by supporting documentation is being sent to every member of the State Central Committee (SCC). These are the seventy-seven individuals who will vote on my Chairmanship on April 4.

As you know, one of the media's favorite story lines in Virginia this decade has been Republicans fighting Republicans. Whether it was a battle between Republicans over car tax relief in 2001; over a massive tax increase in 2004; or, more recently, over transportation funding, many of our state's editorial pages are delighted when we're battling one another.

I regret having to write you on this matter. Even though those working to remove me as Chairman have fought this battle largely in the media, engineering almost a news release per day, it was my hope I could respond to the charges without distributing them to a large audience. My hopes for discretion in this matter and my plan to restrict my responses to these charges only to the seventy-seven members of the SCC were dashed last week when my critics turned them over to the Associated Press.

From the moment I read the "charges," I have maintained they are false and without merit, and that one day soon I would respond to them thoroughly and convincingly. That day is today.

With these charges swirling in the media, I believe it is very important you be kept fully informed as to what is going on in your Republican Party. I make no apologies for standing against these efforts to remove me or the changes I've made within our party to give greater authority and input to the grassroots. Those seeking my removal are asking me to abandon the promises that earned me the chairmanship so that they can take us back to the way things used to be. In my opinion, that would be a disaster.

I do not take it personally that some want me to step down so we can return to the old way of doing things. After all, very few of them ever supported me, and many of the elected officials in Virginia endorsed my opponent's campaign. But, I do take offense when a small minority seeks to nullify the voices of so many, once again turning our party into a rubber stamp for its long-time insiders.

For years, the Virginia Republican Party had been run from the "top down", with consultants and lobbyists providing far more input into the direction of our party than the grassroots. The result? Republicans supporting tax increases in 2004; 11 seats lost just this decade in the House of Delegates; and control of the Virginia Senate now in the hands of Democrats.

This is the same mentality that cost us United States House and Senate, where Republicans strayed from their core beliefs and ignored the grassroots, "spending" their way to minority status in a body that is now a rubber stamp for Barack Obama. Our nation and our commonwealth are just too important to go back to the old way of doing business.

I'm disappointed some in our party want to fight old intra-party squabbles. But, they will not distract me from our efforts to build our grassroots, oppose the egregious liberal agenda of Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats, and do everything I can to ensure we prevail in the 2009 elections to make Bob McDonnell our next governor.

To the hundreds of you who have written, called or emailed your support on behalf of our quest to change the Republican Party of Virginia, I want to thank you for your strong encouragement and words of support these last several days. Rest assured, we're fighting for the future of our Republican Party and our commonwealth, and we will not back down.

Sincerely,

Jeff Frederick

By Tim Craig  |  March 17, 2009; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

Good for Jeff Frederick! I hope other conservatives will stand this tough when Bob McDonnell inevitably tries to push them aside as well. We need to stick to our conservative foundations and sticking with Jeff Frederick is the first step. Go Jeff!

Posted by: rightsideva | March 17, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

One of the problems I have had with Jeff is that he thinks his supporters are the "grassroots", and opponents are the "insiders" and "elites" out to get him. He made this clear at the convention, and it turned off many people. We are all grassroots supporters of the Republican party, we just differ on our opinion of Jeff's effectiveness as RPV Chair.

Posted by: DaveCheney | March 18, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Time for the mainstream (Goldwater/Reagan) conservatives to seize the VA GOP back from the religious zealots and extreme anti-tax types! Time for Frederick to leave.

Posted by: marc5 | March 18, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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