Over the last few days many here at Redstate have written much about the Rick Perry campaign's failure to achieve the necessary number of nomination form signatures to gain a spot on the Virginia Republican Party primary ballot.
I wonder how many of the Redstate contributors who reside in Virginia either signed a nominating petition on behalf of Rick Perry or gathered signatures for him in their precinct or elsewhere? Based on this web site
I totaled the number of precincts in the state.
I didn't, and won't, double-check my math (as the hour was late while writing this and I was tired), but I came up with Virginia having a total of 2,318 precincts. So, assuming that each precinct has just one Republican Party precinct committeeman (bad assumption, but assumed for this hypothetical), and that all of the precinct committeeman slots are filled (another bad assumption), if only about one-third (800) of the precinct committeemen went out to get signatures for Perry in their precincts to obtain a total of 15,000 signatures, each of them would have had to obtain only 19 signatures. Nineteen.
But, some precincts have more than one precinct committeeman. And, if Virginia is like the national average, probably about half of the precinct committeeman slots are vacant. And about one-third of the precincts have not even one Republican precinct committeeman.
Any Redstaters who are precinct committeemen in Virginia want to weigh in here with what things are like inside the Party where you reside?
Regardless, my original question stands:
I wonder how many of the Redstate Perry supporters who reside in Virginia either signed a nominating petition on behalf of Rick Perry or gathered signatures for him in their precinct? I wonder how many Virginia Redstaters picked up the phone and called the Rick Perry campaign to ask, "How can I help?" Or at least visited the Perry campaign web site to fill out an online volunteer form?
As I have mentioned before, a friend of mine here in AZ whom I admire for his principles and hard political work, David Fitzgerald (he's run for our state legislature and is an elected Republican Party Legislative District Committee Chairman), says, "You cannot call yourself a 'political activist' unless you have actually, physically gathered signatures for someone or something that will appear on an election ballot." That's his opinion. Not everyone can do it, of course. Some perhaps are home-bound due to disability. But for those of us who are able, if we all do a little, we can achieve much.
Again, I wonder how many Virginia Redstaters who are complaining about Perry's failure to achieve the necessary number of valid signatures to get on the Virginia Republican Party primary election ballot actually either signed a Perry ballot petition or gathered signatures in their precinct for Rick Perry?
Party politics is played in what Ron Robinson calls the "meat space." I wonder if anything that was written at Redstate about Rick Perry can be proven to have actually helped get him the signatures he needed to get his name on the Virginia Republican Party primary election ballot. By contrast, if he had had just 800 committed Virginia precinct committeemen going door-to-door in their precincts, in the "meat space," and each gathering just 19 signatures from qualified voters (using Voter Vault 3 walking sheets), he would have had 15,200 valid signatures.
Lady Penguin wrote a very good Diary here a while back about how easy it is, in Virginia, to become a precinct committeeman:
Again, for the umpteenth time, the only way to change the Republican Party "establishment" is to get "inside" the Party by becoming a "voting member" of it. And the best way to get involved in things like mundane signature-gathering for nominating petitions, which can actually get constitutional conservatives onto ballots, is by becoming a Republican Party precinct committeeman. Period.
With over half of these slots still going begging in our Republican Party, can you find a way to become one? Please see the links in my signature below for more information.
Richard Winger at Ballot Access News reported something that sheds some light on why, perhaps, the Republican Party of Virginia more closely checked the nomination form signatures:
But what has not been reported is that in the only other presidential primaries in which Virginia required 10,000 signatures (2000, 2004, and 2008) the signatures were not checked. Any candidate who submitted at least 10,000 raw signatures was put on the ballot. In 2000, five Republicans qualified: George Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes. In 2004 there was no Republican primary in Virginia. In 2008, seven Republicans qualified: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Alan Keyes.
The only reason the Virginia Republican Party checked the signatures for validity for the current primary is that in October 2011, an independent candidate for the legislature, Michael Osborne, sued the Virginia Republican Party because it did not check petitions for its own members, when they submitted primary petitions. Osborne had no trouble getting the needed 125 valid signatures for his own independent candidacy, but he charged that his Republican opponent’s primary petition had never been checked, and that if it had been, that opponent would not have qualified. The lawsuit, Osborne v Boyles, cl 11-520-00, was filed in Bristol County Circuit Court. It was filed too late to be heard before the election, but is still pending. The effect of the lawsuit was to persuade the Republican Party to start checking petitions. If the Republican Party had not changed that policy, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would be on the 2012 ballot.
Will YOU help make 2011 "The Year of the Precinct Committeeman?"