This Saturday in Richmond, Pat Mullins is seeking a full term as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. When he was named chairman at a recent meeting of the State Central Committee, Mullins was hailed as “the adult in the room,” following the disastrous chairmanship of Del. Jeff Frederick.
His honeymoon didn’t last long.
Earlier in the month, Chairman Mullins made a speech to Virginia Beach Republicans where, according to the Washington Post, he said he is glad he is not a Democrat so he doesn’t have “to defend a President who goes overseas and bows to dictators that would like to destroy this country.”
He also said Sen. Jim Webb is, ”an embarrassment to everybody in this commonwealth and is gonna serve one term and be gone.”
Of Sen. Mark Warner, he said: “I’m glad I’m not a Democrat supporting a junior senator who is adept at speaking out of both sides of his mouth and tells the business leaders in Richmond, ‘well, I can’t vote for the check-off in its current form, but…’ and he’s told us during the election that he would cherish Virginia’s right to work laws.
Of Gov. Tim Kaine, he said: “I’m glad I don’t have to defend a part-time governor who’s making a full-time salary.”
So how did the state’s GOP establishment react to these remarks?
To endorse them.
According to the Post, Mullins yesterday announced that Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell, the state’s five GOP congressmen and House Speaker Bill Howell had endorsed his candidacy for chairman.
McDonnell said: “Pat provides our party with a dedicated conservative leader who comes from the grassroots of our party and understands what it takes to win in a competitive state,” McDonnell said.
Rep. Eric Cantor said: “Pat Mullins is the conservative leader we need right now.”
Maybe McDonnell and Cantor should read what Mullins has to said on his Website: “I believe that grass-roots activists should run our party, not elected officials, and that we should work closely with our elected officials to help grow our numbers, elected other Republicans, and keep those elected officials aware of the feelings of the conservative grass-roots on specific issues.”
So Mullins is the boss, except when he’s not.
We’ll see how much support he gets on Saturday when he faces Franklin County GOP chairman Bill Stanley. That, and the number of delegates who show up in Richmond, will tell us a lot about McDonnell’s chances in November.