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Va. Northern Neck GOP Embraces Crabill - Again

Rosalind Helderman

Not only is Republican delegate candidate Catherine Crabill not stepping aside, as requested by the state GOP last week, but local party leaders are redoubling their support for her campaign in the Northern Neck against Democrat Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr.

Crabill's campaign Monday announced that the top Republican in the 99th legislative district, R. Allen Webb, will chair a grassroots steering committee for her campaign.

The announcement came just a few days after state GOP leaders, including all three candidates for statewide office, formally denounced Crabill over her comments last month that her supporters might have to "resort to the bullet box" if not successful at the ballot box. State party chairman Pat Mullins called on her to abandon her run for office.

"I'm happy to answer the call to help Catherine Crabill as the Republican Party's 99th District nominee," Webb said in a press release, urging party members to rally around Crabill. "Local Republicans made their views known overwhelmingly at our district convention earlier this year, and I will do all that I can to help Catherine succeed."

Pollard saw a renewal of intraparty dissension between conservative and moderate Republicans in the announcement.

"What it says is that the GOP leadership has decided to take a very pragmatic approach, but that's 180 degrees from where their grassroots want them to go," Pollard said. "The local GOP has decided to double down. They told Bob McDonnell and Pat Mullins to take a long walk off a short dock."

The party's unequivocal statements renouncing Crabill last week suggested Republican leaders sense she could prove dangerous to McDonnell's effort to run statewide as moderates. But local Republicans are now making clear that they will not allow Crabill to be jettisoned.

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia, said Virginia law does not allow for the state party to intervene. Crabill was nominated to run for office at the local level.

"We've made our position known," Murtaugh said. 'They can certainly chart their own course. They'll do so without our help."

Crabill campaign manager Bill Kling said she has no intention of stepping aside. But he also denied local party members are trying to send any messages to state leaders.

"We have never asked the state party for anything, and we did not expect anything from them," he said. "We don't have any fight or quarrel with the top of the Republican ticket. If they're uncomfortable with Catherine Crabill, that's their problem. It's not ours."

He added: "We don't believe the way to make friends in politics is to rub two politicians together to make a fire."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  August 17, 2009; 5:23 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Looks as if the Virginia Republican Party has divided into the Joe McCarthy Wing Lite
and the Joe McCarthy Wing True Believer. Only Joe McCarthy will win!

Posted by: TomPaine2 | August 18, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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