Frederick leaving public life, Will not run for RPV Chair
Jeff Frederick just sent an e-mail to his supporters, (headlined by the logo above) announcing his decision that he will not be among a group of candidates seeking the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Virginia. The news finally brings his brief and tumultuous tenure as the party leader to a close.
In addition to his decision to not seek the party chairmanship, Frederick also announced that he will not be seeking any public office in the near future. That includes his seat in the House of Delegates. Frederick stepped away from the seat as part of a pledge he made in his campaign for the party chairmanship. At one point his wife Amy was exploring the possibility of running, but backed out last week. Frederick probably missed an opportunity to run for the position anyway when he missed the filing deadline to run in a primary (although there are rumors that he was exploring what options were available to him).
While the announcement officially takes Frederick out of the mix as a candidate and statewide political leader, it is by no means the end of his career. The brash former chairman is still very young and enjoys the support of many within the Republican Party. It is no secret that many party leaders were scared to death that he had the potential to mobilize the support necessary to pull off winning the chairmanship again at the upcoming Republican convention.
In the e-mail, Frederick encourages his supporters to not back the appointed candidate of the State Central Committee (who he never mentions by name), Pat Mullins. He also pledges that his “break” from public life will not be a “long sabbatical”.
Rest assured, this is not the last time we will hear from Jeff Frederick.
The full text of his e-mail to supporters is after the jump.
Over the past four weeks, Amy and I have had the opportunity to take a step back, reflect, and pray about our next course. It’s been a refreshing and exciting period as we consider incredible opportunities before us.
It has also been an encouraging time, and I can’t possibly put into words how thankful we are for the literally hundreds of people who have written me with their expressions of support and their confidence in our efforts to bring principled, grassroots leadership back to the Republican Party of Virginia. Your prayers have strengthened us, and given us comfort and peace.
Many of you from every corner of Virginia have urged that I seek the Chairmanship again, and I strongly believe that if I were to seek it at the state convention later this month, my prospects for victory are strong.
Unfortunately, I do not believe the same is true for our party’s prospects this year.
As you have likely heard, Amy has decided not to run for the House of Delegates. Her decision makes the task of keeping the 52nd District seat in Republican hands much more challenging, potentially making it the first casualty of the State Central Committee’s April 4 vote.
But that April 4 vote will likely have other consequences.
Those in our party who make the phone calls, put up the yard signs, canvass neighborhoods, and write small checks won’t soon forget how they expended time and resources to attend a convention last year to only have a small group of party insiders overturn the will of thousands as expressed in a fair and free election.
The events surrounding my removal were just the latest in a long succession of efforts by the SCC to ensure that they – and not the party’s base – were paramount in determining the direction of the Virginia GOP.
What some fail to realize is that the problems within our party have little or nothing to do with me. I was simply a rally call for those that have felt and feel disenfranchised as conservatives within the Republican Party. The action of the SCC on April 4 only reinforced that view and sentiment.
Grassroots conservatives are in the fight due to a commitment to their ideas and values – not because of any personality – mine or anyone else’s. Those on the SCC may have won this most recent battle, but regrettably, they fail to recognize that they are losing us the war. Winning elections is a game of addition not subtraction, yet our state party is turning away good people every day. You can’t rebuild a majority that way.
I was elected to change things, but those that are the guardians of the status quo strenuously resisted the changes I attempted to bring. They are intent on returning the party to the course it was on prior to my election, confident in the mistaken belief that doing the same thing over and over again will somehow produce a different result.
You would think that – given the number of chairman the Party has had in so few years – these “leaders” would figure out that maybe, just maybe, the party’s decline might have something to do with their own misguided priorities and poor judgments. It is inconceivable that they neglect to realize just how obsolete their approach is, particularly given that they are the very same people who have presided over loss after loss for our party.
The SCC’s actions taken in the last few months in particular have made a challenging course for our nominees even more treacherous. For example, the choice of our next Chairman should be put in the hands of the convention delegates. But once again, the grassroots of our party have been removed from the process by those at the top, putting such a decision in the hands of an elite few.
It is that kind of top-down approach that resulted in our party’s greatest contraction, and it is the top-down approach that our activist and volunteer base resoundingly rejected at last year’s convention. Yet, reclaiming the chairmanship without replacing the entrenched party “leadership” would likely result in failure – and putting the energy and sacrifice I did into being Chairman isn’t worth a futile effort.
Therefore, today I announce that I will not be a candidate for Chairman at this year’s state convention.
My mission as Chairman was to advance our beliefs, articulate our vision, and win elections. A party firmly in the hands of the grassroots can accomplish this. A party controlled by a few insiders cannot. It is just that simple. Sadly, I don’t see that changing any time soon.
However, I recognize that I was not the perfect chairman. I made my share of mistakes. But, I also faced a small yet vocal and influential group who were determined to see me fail and committed to my removal from the day of my election. The opposition I encountered as I worked to change our party from the top-down organization it had become to a grassroots party rooted in principles rather than power was not surprising. Most of those at the top had strongly opposed my candidacy for chairman, as I made clear my intention to depart from the status quo approach that had failed us so profoundly during this decade. What was surprising is how determined these people were to revenge their loss at last year’s convention, putting that task above all others, including the task of electing Republicans, which is the primary reason our party organizations exist.
I’ve also learned quite a bit as a result of my experience as a chief partisan – among the lessons: it turns out I’m not that great of one. In my time running for and in public office, I have had to be the non-partisan, mostly because of the composure of my district. But I’ve realized that being a “conservative” is much more in my nature than being a “Republican”, and some of my missteps (particularly in the press) highlight my discomfort in campaigning for party versus ideas.
Many people have suggested to me that the “party comes first.” I strongly disagree. I’m not loyal to a party label, but rather to what that label is supposed to represent. It is the principles and values I am committed to, not politics.
As for my replacement, I would encourage you to oppose the anointed choice of the SCC. Remember, these are the same people who have led the compromising of our core principles and have overseen defeat year after year. If the Republican Party here in Virginia is once again to become a majority party, they are hardly the ones to be in a position to know what it will take to get us there. Nothing personal against the person they have selected, but that endorsement should be a signal to the grassroots of who not to support.
I am thoroughly confident that a true grassroots candidate – not one hand-picked by the same insiders who removed me four weeks ago – will emerge to pick up where we left off. Such a candidate will put principle before politics, champion our conservative beliefs, and honor the will and the efforts of our grassroots members.
To all of you who have stood by Amy and me, both when it was easy and during those more difficult times, we are grateful. Thank you. You have been a blessing to us, and you can count on us to be friends for life. We hope you will keep in touch, and we will make an effort to do the same. Also, please don’t ever hesitate to let me know how I can repay even just a small measure of the abundant support you have shown us.
Having not been in this particular position in our lives for 8 years, Amy and I are happy to be taking a break from public and partisan office. But rest assured, God willing, it won’t be a long sabbatical.
We have been humbled and inspired by the people we’ve met and the commitment we’ve witnessed by so many to preserve and protect the Virginia we love. Keep the faith.