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GOP Searches for a New Leader

Anita Kumar

Virginia Republicans are considering selecting either Pat Mullins of Louisa County or Alexandra Liddy Bourne of Fairfax County as their new state party chairman May 2.

Until then, First Vice Chairman Mike Thomas, a leader in the movement to remove Jeffrey M. Frederick yesterday will serve as interim party chairman, a post he has held three times since 2003.

Thomas, a consultant at the McGuire Woods, said he will not run to complete Frederick's four-year term.

But don't count Frederick out just yet.

Frederick hinted, even before yesterday's vote, that he may run again.

"I will not be deterred,'' Frederick told reporters yesterday. "I feel the course we set for our party is the right one, and whether I or someone else steps in to complete the task we began last year when I became chairman, that remains to be seen."

Gary C. Byler, chairman of the 2nd Congressional District Republican Committee in Hampton Roads, said the State Central Committee will consider selecting Mullins, Louisa's Republican chairman and former Fairfax leader, or Alexandra Liddy Bourne of Fairfax, an unsuccessful House candidate who works for a conservative think tank, as their new leader. Byler said he would discourage Frederick for running again.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell had initially refused to get involved in the brewing feud, but a few weeks ago he said the party needed more effective leadership in a pivotal year. He did not attend the meeting yesterday but released a statement that described the party leadership change as an "internal dispute."

"Political parties have internal disagreements frequently, which must be civilly resolved,'' McDonnell said. "We must turn our attention to the November elections and work together to advance our positive, common-sense vision for bringing jobs and opportunity to every region of Virginia. I look forward to leading the effort to unify our party after this vote."

By Anita Kumar  |  April 5, 2009; 1:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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