Updated: GOP Leaders Ask Hamilton to Resign; He Refuses
We expected Democrats to call for GOP Del. Phillip A. Hamilton to resign in response to emails showing he sought a job at Old Dominion University while securing state money for the school. But now Republicans leaders are calling for his resignation too.
In extremely strong statements, gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Pat Mullins, chairman of the state GOP, all said tonight that Hamilton should resign.
"From what I have seen of published news accounts containing emails and admissions, it appears that Delegate Hamilton has violated the public trust,'' McDonnell said. "Based on this public information it would be in the best interests of his constituents for him to step down."
McDonnell and Mullins called for the resignation, but acknowedge that Hamilton has the right to defend himself in any investigations first if he chooses to do so.
Updated: Hamilton said in a statement late tonight that he was disappointed in the statements of the statewide candidates but "their collective opinions have not lessened my resolve to continue serving the people of the 93rd District."
"These gentlemen have cited the best interests of the people of the 93rd District as their
reason for calling on me to resign,'' he said. "Yet, it appears that only Governor Kaine and Senator Cuccinelli possess sufficient confidence in those voters to permit them the privilege of expressing their opinion at the ballot box. I share that view, have confidence in the fairness and judgment of the people I serve, and will continue to campaign for their support."
Read the full statements from Republican leaders and Hamlton below:
On Friday, McDonnell, who served with Hamilton in the House of Delegates for 14 years and represented the same area of the state, said he was "surprised and very disappointed" in his friend's actions, but did not call for him to resign.
"Elected officials must keep the highest ethical standards in order to maintain the public trust. From what I have seen of published news accounts containing emails and admissions, it appears that Delegate Hamilton has violated the public trust. Based on this public information it would be in the best interests of his constituents for him to step down, but if he believes that the due process of a full inquiry by the House Ethics Advisory Panel will clear his name, he should have a full opportunity to present his case. Any such inquiry should be commenced immediately and conducted expeditiously."
"I was very disappointed and surprised to learn of Delegate Hamilton's actions in the matter involving Old Dominion University. Delegate Hamilton's actions represent a serious error in judgment and an apparent conflict of interest. While I was pleased to see Delegate Hamilton acknowledge this fact and sever his relationship with ODU, I'm afraid the erosion of public trust as a result of his actions will make it impossible
for him to effectively represent the citizens of the 93rd District. Phil is a good man and a good friend, but under these circumstances, I believe it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth for him to resign."
"I join my friends on both sides of the political aisle in saying that I am deeply disappointed with Phil Hamilton, a man I know as a long-time servant of the people of Virginia. These allegations are very serious and, if true, are a severe breach of the public trust and confidence his constituents have placed in him. While I understand that an ethics inquiry has been requested by House Speaker Bill Howell, I feel that Phil Hamilton should resign from the House of Delegates effective immediately. Failing that, Phil has the right to pursue all of his avenues under due process, which he may well choose to do. That is his right."
Earlier, AG candidate Ken Cuccinelli praised Howell for calling for an ethics investigation, but stopped short of calling for Hamilton to step down. "The circumstances that Delegate Phil Hamilton is involved in are disappointing,'' he said. "My understanding of those circumstances suggest that it is in an issue between Del. Hamilton and voters in his district. The issue is now on the table in that race and will be part of the decision voters in that district make as they consider who will represent them in the state house over the next two-years."
While I am disappointed by the statements issued by Ms. Wagner and Messrs. McDonnell, Deeds, Bolling, and Shannon, their collective opinions have not lessened my resolve to continue serving the people of the 93 rd District. Their comments, which most of these individuals have readily acknowledged are primarily based on news accounts, do not coincide with the response I am receiving as I campaign door-to-door in the 93 rd District. I might note that unlike the aforementioned individuals, I am campaigning door-to-door in the 93 rd District, hearing directly from the constituents I serve and represent.
These gentlemen have cited the best interests of the people of the 93 rd District as their
reason for calling on me to resign. Yet, it appears that only Governor Kaine and Senator Cuccinelli possess sufficient confidence in those voters to permit them the privilege of expressing their opinion at the ballot box. I share that view, have confidence in the fairness and judgment of the people I serve, and will continue to campaign for their support. This situation is not the first time I have found myself in disagreement with some of my party's leadership. Undoubtedly, it will not be the last. But, the people of Newport News and James City deserve a representative whose first concern is their interest, and not one who follows the dictates of partisanship or convenience. With 21 years of service to them, I believe I am best suited to continue to serve. I will, therefore, continue to campaign for their votes and await their verdict on November 3."
August 24, 2009; 7:00 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell
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