Virginia GOP Leadership Votes to Hold Unassembled Convention


After months of heated Zoom meetings, on Friday night the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) State Central Committee (SCC) finally voted to hold an unassembled nomination convention. Delegates to the May 8 convention will visit one of 37 drive-in locations and drop off a completed ranked-choice ballot, and then return home.

“All in all, tonight was a successful night. It was a long journey, I wish that it had been shorter, but these issues are of importance to Republicans,” RPV Chair Rich Anderson told The Virginia Star. “And now we turn to the task of nominating our candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, and waging campaigns throughout the summer and fall that result in Republican victories for the three statewide offices and regaining our majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.”

Since December 5, the SCC has been split between a majority of the party which voted to hold a convention, and a minority of the party that blocked necessary amendments to party rules allowing an unassembled convention. The amendments require a three-fourths vote. Hoping for a primary or a canvass, the minority consistently voted against an unassembled convention — until Friday, when 56 members of the 70-member SCC approved an amendment put forward by Anderson.

Anderson said six SCC members, three from each side, had been meeting behind the scenes to try to find a compromise.

“When they had not yet achieved the goal of finding solutions that were acceptable to both sides, I then asked to join the group and play the role as honest broker,” Anderson said. “What I tried to do was play the role of moderator to make sure that they all looked at these issues from multiple sides, that they understood what the other side was saying and that they treated each other with respect.”

Anderson said those members would then return to their faction to discuss the conclusions of the group with each side and return with concerns from the bigger groups.

“We met almost every night this week in order to hammer this out,” Anderson said. “In fact, we were still hammering out across the SCC by email and telephone the details that you saw adopted tonight, and those discussions went on as late as 30 minutes before we opened the meeting at 7 p.m.”

For the most part, the tenor of the meeting was more cooperative and dignified than the previous Zoom meetings. However, tempers flared at the end of the meeting when RPV Vice-Chair Kristi Way proposed an online form to allow delegates to file to attend the convention. Anderson spoke against the online form, and after outrage from some members who thought the idea had already been shot down in negotiations, Way withdrew her motion.

Anderson told The Star that nomination decisions are normally made in just one or two meetings. The abnormally long process has highlighted apparently deep divisions in the party leadership, with outbursts and name calling in the formal Zoom sessions and threatening phone calls and harassment behind the scenes.

On Friday evening, Democratic Party of Virginia spokesperson Manuel Bonder said in a press release, “Tonight’s meeting demonstrated once again that the ‘disorganized and broke’ Republican Party of Virginia is a hopeless disaster.”

But Anderson said, “It may appear from these Zoom sessions that our party has been divided, but I can assure you I know this from elected Democrats who I know from my days in the General Assembly, they have a party which is going through its own internal discussion. So, we intend to capitalize on that and win on November second.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Virginia State Capitol” by Ron Cogswell. CC BY 2.0.






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