Let’s look at the numbers.Then there is the cost to the state party putting this thing on. In years passed, they charged a delegate filing fee of $35.00. Not only did this give an individual at least some incentive to actually show up because they invested a little money in the exercise, but it helped raise money for the state GOP. But some enterprising college student sued the party after one of the large conventions in the 90's and the party had to make the fees voluntary. So, now the party pays much of the cost of renting the Richmond Coliseum (a now dilapidated arena that not even the NCAA will use to hold first round tournament games) by charging fees to guests. For instance, if delegates want to bring their children for this all day (and this year well into the night) event, it cost $25 per child. It is doubtful they make up the rental costs from voluntary filing fees and guest fees. The money the party coughs up could be better used supporting the Party's candidates.
8,094 – The total number of registered delegates who showed up, out of over 12,000 who registered.
255,826 – The number of Republicans casting a ballot in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary.
Just from those numbers you can see that the majority of well-motivated Republicans interested in participating in our nominating processes were disenfranchised by the State Convention.
And as Schoeneman noted, the only information that delegates got during the three hour ballots were from bloggers via email, Facebook and Twitter. By 5:30 PM, even this wasn't helpful as many with smartphones saw their batteries hitting red. This led to rumors and the the fake/rescinded endorsement controversy between Corey Stewart and Pete Snyder on the final ballot. Schoeneman had it right when he wrote:
Conventioneers were treated like fungi – kept in the dark and fed crap – and that inevitably had an impact on the final selection of E.W. Jackson as our Lt. Governor nominee.So in the end, just about half of those who even bothered to show up in the first place (12,000 registered but only 8,000 showed up yesterday morning) cast the final ballot. This is no way for a party to get their message to the voters. The GOP, and especially Ken Cuccinelli is left with a Lt. Governor candidate that no one even considered to have a chance when they walked into but who made an inspiring speech (he is a Black minister and attorney) that moved a significant number of delegates who came in with no strong attachment to any of the seven candidates.
What this means to gun owners is we have to work extra hard to get the GOP ticket elected because the Democrat candidates for Lt. Governor, Aneesh Chopra, the former chief technology officer in the Obama administration, and state Sen. Ralph Northam of Norfolk, are not our friends. Whichever is nominated in June, should they win in November, will give Democrats control of the State Senate and the Senate Courts of Justice chairmanship to vehemently anti-gun Henry Marsh. The stakes could not be higher. The state GOP made it that much more difficult for us but we have to play the hand we are dealt.