GOP show of support
Pictured from left to right: Garrisonville challenger Mark Dudenhefer, Supervisors Cavalier, Maurer, Milde, Thomas, Snellings and Bohmke
Politics is a slippery business at the best of times and never more so than during campaign season. We the public have been exposed to enough mud-slinging and name calling on television, radio and social media that rarely does any of it seem shocking, it's just par for the course. It is one thing to ignore the slings and arrows associated with political races but it's quite another to allow outright untruths to go unchallenged. While BTW does not give endorsements and attempts at all times to be fair in presenting both political parties, I will not allow the public to be misled by shady political ploys.
Over the weekend, a Facebook page popped up called "Republicans for Sellers." Laura Sellers, the current Garrisonville district incumbent on the Board of Supervisors, is the BOS's only Democrat member and she is running on a platform of being " Socially Conscious, Fiscally Responsible. " As a Democrat, Ms. Sellers has the unenviable task of getting re-elected in a heavily Republican county so her campaign is attempting to focus on how she can straddle the party lines.
However, this new Facebook page gives the clear impression that not only does Ms. Sellers believe she embodies certain Republican principles but that her Republican colleagues on the BOS do as well. There are images on the site of all the current Republican supervisors, mainly public images available to anyone with internet access, working in their capacity as county supervisors. While there are no outright claims that any of these local elected officials endorse Ms. Sellers, the name "Republicans for Sellers" heavily insinuates that this is the case.
If all of these important county Republicans did endorse a Democrat, that would be news indeed. The truth is they haven't and that the state party to which they belong wouldn't allow it. According the the Republican Party of Virginia Plan of Organization, all qualified voters can participate as members of the RPV at party events, which the party plan defines as mass meetings, conventions, canvasses and importantly, primaries. Typically, the local parties will ask for a "statement of intent" to be given by the party participants which states they will support all Republican nominees in ensuing elections. While this statement of intent is not necessarily required by the state party, it is by our local Stafford GOP.
Of course, intent is a slippery word. It's not easy to prove what someone's intent may or may not be. However, according the rules governing the Republican Party of Virginia, as well as the bylaws of the Stafford County Republican Committee, there are provisions that allow for censure of those who obviously defy the statement, including our elected county officials. Under Article VII(C) of the RPV's "Plan of Organization," a Republican supervisor would be automatically deemed to have resigned from any official party position if he/she "makes a reportable contribution to and/or knowingly allows his name to be publicly used by and/or makes a written or other public statement supporting the election of a candidate in opposition to a Republican nominee in a Virginia General or Special Election."
What does this mean? Well, if any of these Republican supervisors came out and publicly endorsed Ms. Sellers over Republican candidate Mark Dudenhefer, they could immediately be booted from the party. Of course, none of the current supervisors are required to endorse anyone, Dudenhefer included. But they can not endorse a Democrat over a Republican in any race.
Danielle Davis, the Stafford GOP Chairwoman, released a statement condemning the Facebook page saying, "Democrat Laura Sellers is peddling her own “Fake News” that she is supported by Republicans. This is simply not true and is both disingenuous and a sign of desperation. Make no mistake, Laura Sellers is a progressive Democrat in the Obama, Clinton, and Sanders mold. Mark Dudenhefer, her opponent, is the real conservative in the Garrisonville District Supervisor race. He has the support of thousands of Republicans including current county Supervisors Paul Milde, Meg Bohmke, Gary Snellings, Jack Cavalier, Bob Thomas, and Wendy Maurer, as well as all other Stafford Republican elected officials. Don’t be fooled by the latest Democrat shenanigans."
BTW reached out to Ms. Sellers for comment and while she is aware of the site, she stated that "this is not my page so I have no comment." BTW also reached out via FB message to the owners of the page but they have not responded to questioning. While Ms. Sellers denies responsibility for the page, it is not in her best interests for the page to remain active. The site is well done and looks very official. Since it has her name and face featured prominently, by not insisting on it's removal, she is being complicit in allowing this untruth to spread. We here at BTW hope that Ms. Sellers will do the right thing and demand the page either be removed or renamed.