Dear Delegates to the RPV State Convention and Friends,
I am very pleased our Chairman, Jack Wilson, is finally talking about change in the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV). Unfortunately, what he talks about is how he is against it.
In any dynamic environment, be it culture, politics, business, or warfare, an I am sure that he is satisfied with the recent accomplishments of the RPV. Under his leadership, the RPV lost its 15 seat majority in the House of Delegates, lost any voice in our State Government, was blind-sided by the RPV failing to contest 25% of the seats in the State Senate and House of Delegates, did nothing to recruit new voters, failed to defend the Second Amendment, and has been silent about our Governor’s abuses of power in the Coronavirus pandemic.
Inside the RPV, he has tried to manipulate the outcomes of nominating contests, been censured twice by my District Committee for interfering with the Party appeals process, abused his power by attempting to oust a legitimately-elected unit chairman for the offense of opposing Jack’s favored candidate, usurped the State Central Committee’s authority by trying to drive the State Convention planning without their consent and failed to develop a process to oversee the RPV’s finances. How can we have $500,000 in our Federal bank account, have collected $140,000+ for our State Convention, and hear his agent telling candidates that we have no money for the State Convention? Does anyone on State Central know what has been happening to our money, since the Budget committee has not met for 6 months? All I know is that I keep getting two-sentence scare blurbs followed by a plea for a donation.
My conclusion is that Jack’s campaign slogan should be, “Vote for me and I’ll stop what I have been doing.” (By the way, on this nonsense claim that the proposal of the Republican Change Committee (RCC) disenfranchises our affiliate groups, a cursory reading shows that it reduces the overall numbers of seats, but every group’s relative voting weight remains the same. Maybe Jack assumes that the VFRW, YR’s and CR’s cannot understand such high-level accounting as weighted voting, so will not call him out on his statement.) Given the lack of member recruitment effort by the RPV for the past 2 years, apparently the “big tent” to which Jack refers is a larger management body, not a bigger political party. Personally, I would prefer to have more voters.
It gives absolutely no pleasure to write these things about our party. But the RPV is too important to mince words. I decided to run for RPV Chairman after a number of other unit chairs, who were appalled by the chronic self-inflicted failures of the RPV, asked me at our December 2019 Advance to do it. They knew that I had experience in running large organizations and that, per my Marine Corps training, I am aggressive and self-starting. Subsequently, the RCC approached me and offered to support my modernization agenda. (Bishop E.W. Jackson has endorsed me, too.)
As I have said repeatedly in public, I completely support a top-to-bottom review of our operations. After 10 years of failure, we should be taking a critical look at all our activities. Every organization needs to do so; that is what healthy organizations do. In contrast, unhealthy organizations, those run by a small elite for their own benefit, will chose irrelevance over change.
For my part, I am tired of failure. The RPV is too important to let fail. I will bring in leadership that serves the RPV membership, not just claims seats at the head table and waits to be honored with titles. I was an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, where the officers get up first, eat last, stay up late to walk the lines at night, worry about whether everyone has what they need to do their job, and are responsible for everything that their unit does or fails to do.
I promised to modernize the RPV. To that end, I will:
- Create a financial oversight committee at State Central so that we can avoid the problems we are having now.
- Form a committee to examine the structure of State Central and ask them to find what we can do better. State Central is full of very smart people. They can figure how best to do their job if given a chance.
- Rename our Party Plan to reflect it’s real purpose – By Laws – and develop an operational plan, with a strategic goal, concept of operations, specified and implied tasks, timelines, measures of performance, and an estimate of resources required.
- Transform the RPV headquarters from an administrative to an operational unit, task organized to support our local committees.
- Organize an IT effort so that we capture every email, phone number, twitter handle, and snapchat address of every Republican-leaning voter in Virginia – and make them available to our local committees for their work.
- Establish a media operation that supports our local candidates and that gets our voice heard in the mass and social media.
- Train and support local candidates
We cannot wait any longer for our lethargic RPV to find county and district-level candidates for State November 2021 elections, so I have organized a small group of concerned RPV activists to begin the process. I am also working with the leaders of several single-issue groups to find good Republican candidates. I have already passed the name of one potential candidate to a local committee and have more coming. Separately, I want the RPV to be a catalyst for highlighting Voting Fraud. As a first step, I forwarded a petition from the Election Integrity Alliance (EIA) to Rep. Rob Wittman this week, asking him to coordinate with the other members of the Virginia Congressional delegation, and jointly, forward the petition to Attorney General Barr. (Importantly, Rep. Ben Cline (VA-06) is a member of the Judiciary Committee, so have the ear of the Justice Department.) If I have enough bandwidth left over after these projects, I will also start a parallel effort with our Second Amendment and Pro-life platforms.
This is what the RPV, under Chairman Wilson could and should be doing – rather than wringing hands over scary SCC change proposals. There are limits to what I can do as just a candidate. However, I will assault our problems with all the horsepower that I can bring to bear, whatever my position. As far as the RPV goes, we may not be as strong as we once were. But, will we be stronger next month? Next year? The answer is no. No, we must turn this around right now. I will not surrender or back down or falter. The future of Virginia is at stake. We are the Grand Old Party. Now, more than ever, Virginia needs us to be Grand again.
I hope you will vote for me to be chairman of our illustrious party.
Chairman, Lancaster County Republican Party
Candidate, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia
Mike Schoelwer for RPV Chair
Emailed to Delegates on June 24, 2020