GOP Loyalty Pledge Back On

Jeremy Aldrich -- April 19th, 2010

Today 26th District Republican leaders reversed a decision to nix the loyalty pledge. At a meeting on Friday, the 26th House District Committee of the Republican Party (composed of city GOP head Tracy Evans, county GOP representative David Lee, and chairman Joel Hensley) had decided not to require voters to declare their intention to vote for Republicans in the coming election. Over the weekend, those involved learned that the power to make that decision actually resides with the party’s Credentials Committee, composed of Suzanne Obenshain, Chaz Evans-Haywood, and Susan Threewitts. The members of that committee unanimously decided this morning to reinstate the pledge for tomorrow’s canvass.

According to Evans-Haywood, who chairs the Credentials Committee, voters tomorrow will be asked to give their name and email address and certify they are voters of the 26th House District.  They will be required to sign the following statement: “I intend to support all of the nominees of the Republican Party in the ensuing election.”

Votes will be collected, sealed, and then counted at the courthouse by members of the Credentials Committee.  Candidates and their representatives will be allowed to monitor the voting, and after the votes are tallied the media will be notified of an announcement of the winner on the courthouse steps, probably around 10 PM.

Vote totals will not be announced publicly, and people who monitor the voting will be asked not to share the vote totals. “It’s important when you have three candidates, they need to know they have the support of the other people,” Evans-Haywood says.

Brent Finnegan contributed to this report.

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32 Responses to “GOP Loyalty Pledge Back On”

  1. Megan says:

    I think it’s funny in a sad kind of way that they want voters to play by the rules, yet they don’t feel the need to.

    As of now, I intend to vote for the Republican, since the other choice is Kai, but that would easily change if an independent were to jump in.

  2. Gene Hart says:

    Can anyone provide the language of the pledge that will be required?

  3. Megan says:

    I sent an email to Joel Hensley a few days ago asking for clarification as to what being “in accord with the principles of the Republican Party” means and haven’t gotten a reply yet. Maybe you would have better luck.

    • When I first saw the part about being in agreement with Republican principles, I went to the Republican Party of Virginia website. On the About page, they list these:
      “Lower taxes;
      less and smaller government;
      personal responsibility;
      creating opportunities for anyone;
      protection of life;
      empowering families;
      and defending freedom and liberty.”

  4. Lowell Fulk says:

    From their call to caucus:

    All legal and qualified voters of the 26th HOUSE District under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions or primaries encompassing their respectiveelection districts. A voter will be required to
    present a government issued photo identification or a valid Virginia voter registration card at check in.

  5. Gene Hart says:

    Ask and ye shall receive. The “pledge” is:

    “26th House of Delegates District Republican Committee Nominating Canvass
    NAME (Print)
    e-mail address

    I am a legal and qualified voter of the 26th HOUSE District.
    I intend to support all of the nominees of the Republican Party for public office in the ensuing election.

    Interesting. I got lots of “support” from many Republicans in November; clearly didn’t get lots of “votes” from them though. Do these words, does this “pledge” really obligate anyone to do anything? I just don’t see it.

  6. Megan says:

    Thanks, Gene. My emails are still unanswered.

    • Gene Hart says:

      Megan, I didn’t get that from Mr. Hensley. Got it from more than one friend across the aisle.

  7. NewHburger says:

    “I intend to support all of the nominees of the Republican Party for public office in the ensuing election.”

    I thought this was a special election to fill ONE seat? How many nominees do they intend to have? Is the intention for the pledge to cover just the special election or the November elections too?

  8. Emmy says:

    This is getting insane. I’m not voting in it. I’m not going to sign that pledge. I’ll very happily be voting for Kai.

    Tricks like this from any party just make the people involved look stupid. It would be nice if those actively involved in the party (who aren’t running) would stand up and take a stand against things like this. Come up with rules for different scenarios and then stick to them. If you encounter a scenario you haven’t thought up, come up with something as a group and stick to it. That goes for any party.

  9. Dave Briggman says:

    Emmy, you could in theory, help break the machine if you and your fellow Democrats would cast their votes for either John Elledge or Ted Byrd…

    A Democrat will never win this seat until the machine operating the Republican Party is broken to allow for more grassroots voices to emerge and be heard.

    • Emmy says:

      Dave, I’ve gone back and forth on it. I see your point, but I don’t see anything changing anytime soon. I’m going to Lacey tomorrow anyway, so I might change my mind again, but I’m not a fan of signing a loyalty pledge to anyone. I wouldn’t want to sign one for Democrats either.

      But, I do know several other Dems who will be voting tomorrow.

  10. Deb SF says:

    Today = 1 Byrd mailer + 1 Wilt robocall + 1 Elledge robocall

  11. David Miller says:

    I’d like to be able to express my vote for a Republican candidate but I intend to vote for Kai. Ergo I cannot sign a “loyalty pledge” to a Republican candidate. It doesn’t matter to me that Republicans may have voted in previous primaries to sway the vote towards a perceived ends. It matters more to me where my name signed. That being said, I’d encourage anyone thinking about crossing isles to sway the Republican primary vote, volunteer for Kai instead. Even an afternoon can make a difference. Make a positive difference for his campaign instead of trying to weaken his adversaries. That being said, I’d like a better system. I just can’t figure one out

  12. David Miller says:

    Wow, please excuse my numerous grammatical errors. Its early still.

  13. Dave Briggman says:

    The “pledge” is neither legally, nor in my view ethically binding…especially since they’ve rigged the nomination process.

  14. Steve Albertson says:

    The loyalty pledge is aimed precisely at people like David Miller, who admits he’d vote for the Democrat but would nonetheless like to influence the Republican nomination process. In a system without formal party registration, this type of mechanism is the only thing available to political parties to ensure the integrity of their processes. It is neither a “trick” nor the “rigging” of the nomination process…it is to help ensure that actual Republicans are the ones that choose the party’s nominee. It’s obviously not ironclad, because we know for every voter like David who has the personal integrity not to sign a statement he knows is false, there are others who don’t give a whit. So it may not be perfect, but why is it objectionable?

  15. Dave Briggman says:

    No, the rigging of the process commenced with having only a single, County polling location to “limit the participation of City Republican voters”.

    While you, Steve, may support such an oath, even conservative publications cast doubt on what the Virginia GOP is attempting to do by using them:

    What happened to the sanctity of the privacy of our votes that YOU think it’s OK for a political party to solicit a voter’s future intent before the slate of candidates is even complete?

  16. seth says:

    what he said.

    also, i’m an actual, open minded republican who doesn’t feel indentured to the party.

  17. Emmy says:

    Going to have to agree with Dave on this one.

    Plus if the intent is to get only true Republicans to vote then where does that leave independents in the whole process? Do they not have a say until the candidates are chosen by the two parties?

  18. cook says:

    The fundamental question here is: “Who is the Republican Party?” Either it is a dozen or fewer guys in a smoke-free back room somewhere or it broadly includes everyone who can sign a pledge and squeeze in under a very large tent. The local party leaders want the former with the appearance of the latter.

  19. Ernie Didot says:

    Man, they’re writing the book aren’t they? “How To Disenfranchise Voters & Participation in the democratic Process” by The 26th District Republican Party.

    Kind of a dopey pledge… and I was going to give a straight up vote w/o sinister intentions, but now…?! I was also interested in the candidates actual platform but the Party decided, I guess, we didn’t need the time to be informed.

    Also, does anyone find it odd that on the day of the primary election, the only indication that there will polling held at Keister Elementary is an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper on one of the many doors at that school. They have a huge sign out front saying something like, “Celebrate Spring” but they can’t indicate to the general public that part of our democratic process will be held from 4-8 today at the school?!!!! I ran into two wandering, potential voters on the backside of the school looking for the entrance to the polling area (we mistakenly thought that voting would be all day like on general election days). The whole affair is Mickey Mouse and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Should we actually be considering WWTPD? [What Would the Tea Party Do?]

  20. Emmy says:

    Another liberal friend has talked me into going. We’ll be heading to Keister around five (I forgot I’m in the city haha). I’m no fan of signing anything pledging my support to anyone in any party because things change. But it’s my right to go and vote and I plan to vote for the person who I truly feel will be the best person for the job on this side of the aisle.

  21. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    There is no privacy implied or promised to participants today. Their names and addresses are given to the nominee and could be released to the public. Would they be called out publicly if they decided to support someone other than the nominee, even if they didn’t vote for them, after signing the pledge?

    I’m also surprised the issue of religious exemption hasn’t come up here.

  22. Ernie says:

    There’s a tall, shady looking guy w/mirrored sunglasses standing to the side observing the Keister proceedings. I wonder if he’s signed the pledge? Is he a pledge enforcer? He looks like he knows a lot… and might tell… hmmm…

  23. Emmy says:

    I was at Kiester around 5 this evening. I felt like there was a fair number of people there for a local primary, but I’m not sure what a normal turnout is. I have to admit that the age of the crowd and the people working was quite interesting. The majority of the voters (while I was there) were elderly and the people working to check the names were elderly. However, everyone involved in getting people to sign the loyalty oath were very young. I heard a number of complaints about the pledge and I’m betting they all weren’t Democrats. They only asked for my name, e-mail and a signature. I don’t care what they do with that information. Tony Wilt and John Elledge were both there. My thoughts about either person aside, if I’d been voting simply on how they presented themselves to those going in, Elledge would have taken my vote hands down.

    The ballot was very odd. Three names on a standard piece of paper and you just had to circle one and stick it in the box (I’ve only voted in one other primary so this might be normal). I stopped to wait for my friend a fair distance away from the ballot box and some guy (whose purpose in the room I could not discern) kept eyeballing me and I thought he was going to ask me to leave the room, but he never did.

    The whole thing was interesting at least.

  24. Ernie says:

    There won’t be any hanging chads in this election.

  25. BANDIT says:

    ….is everything on the up & up?

  26. Emmy says:

    From Jeremy on Twitter (since it hasn’t updated here yet).

    “Someone just came out and said “Tony Wilt”, then went back inside. #hburgnews”

    Wonder if that’s the “announcement”?

  27. Parent says:

    What kind of crap is this? Really? How can it possibly be legal? And it goes completely against any of the old school conservatism values of the republicans I knew in my youth. Privacy issues, freedom of thought and action, it’s just amazing what people are coming up with tie peoples hands and minds now days. Loyalty pledges are for those who fear that they can’t control someone else. You don’t need it if your product/ideas/candidates can stand on their own merits.

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