The final vote is in. The Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia has voted to remove Del. Jeff Frederick as its chairman in a 57-18 vote.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, one member of the committee from Roanoke was unable to attend and their proxy was not counted and according to Bearing Drift, Morton Blackwell abstained, so only 75 votes were cast. Frederick needed to win 19 votes to remain chairman. Earlier today, The Washington Post reports that 67 members attended in person, with 9 members being represented by proxy voters who were approved.
No doubt, Frederick views this as a temporary departure from the chairmanship. Remember, he indicated to the Richmond Times-Dispatch that if he is removed, he will be a candidate for the chairmanship at the Virginia Republican Convention to be held in Richmond on May 29-30. The expected nominee for Governor and Frederick opponent Bob McDonnell, has arranged for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to be the keynote speaker at the Gala. Interestingly, although Frederick announced in February that Fox News’s Sean Hannity would speak at the convention, Mr. Hannity is no longer listed on the RPV’s website as a speaker. (Maybe McDonnell’s team withdrew the invitation.)
In my view, today’s decision sets up Frederick as a political martyr in the eyes of the religious conservatives who elected him. These are the voters Bob McDonnell needs to get elected and I believe that they will stay home in November, particularly if the Democrats nominate Creigh Deeds, who most view as the most conservative of the Democratic candidates for governor. McDonnell better hope that he faces Terry McAuliffe, whose ties to the Clintons and his history of antagonizing the right will force Frederick’s supporters to help McDonnell anyway.
But in no means is this over. I really believe that this decision sets up the Republican Party of Virginia to go the way of the Republicans in Kansas. Personally, I am delighted.
BTW, I wonder how long before Frederick’s bio and photo are removed from the RPV’s $60,000 website?