… that was the headline in this Washington Times story.
It’s a little deceiving, though.
Gearing up my PAC had nothing to do with making a “comeback”, but rather to do what I can to help change politics as usual while supporting those that share my view that establishment politics is a cancer on our political system.
Yet, the Times story couldn’t resist delving into the same old rumors and falsehoods that have been in the public domain since I was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia — elected overwhelmingly in a statewide convention against the wishes of the Virginia GOP political establishment. Of course, they couldn’t get rid of me fair and square (the same way I was elected, in a convention), so they worked for months to get the support they needed of a small group of insiders on the State Central Committee — where they got the votes they needed only after they enlisted my former colleague and friend, then-gov-candidate Bob McDonnell, onto the effort.
Sometimes, people just don’t want to let the facts get in the way of what they want to say (or claim). While it probably isn’t a wise use of time for me to respond to each and every accusation that has been (and continues to be) leveled against me, if you really care to get to the truth, a five minute investment of your time might easily dissipate some of the most common claims.
For example (from this recent Times story), “He was blamed within the state party for low fundraising numbers”. The fact is that I raised more in my first 6 months as chairman than Hagar, Gillespie, Griffin, Thompson… did in any of their first 6 months, and I got the Party out of debt.
When I became Chairman on May 31, 2008, RPV was $161k in debt with a net income of –$187k, and it was on track to get even worse. As of December 2008, we turned things around by raising over $3.5million and, after accounting for accounts receivable, had over $350k cash available.
Here’s more specifics from the “State of the Party” update I sent out in December of 2008:
As we prepare to face the new year and kick-off our 2009 campaigns, I’m excited to report to you that your RPV is in good financial shape heading into these crucial campaigns. First, let me begin by recapping our accomplishments in 2008:
- Debt — It’s gone. In June, the Party had $161,000 in debt. Today, we have zero debt. At mid-year, the Party had a net income of –$187,000 and today we have a net income of +$53,000 for the year. If we were a business, you could say that we are now profitable.
- Fundraising — From January to May of this year, the Party raised $669,000. From June 1 to December 4, 2008, we raised $1,000,167.36 — importantly, this figure does not include any Victory dollars. Of course, we need to raise much more, but we could have done much worse given the climate and state of the economy.
- Cash on Hand — Over $350,000. Not too bad, considering the election we just experienced. Of course, we have to increase this number substantially to have the resources we need in 2009.
- Field Staff — RPV gave the ’08 campaigns direct access to the use of our field staff, who among 5 people provided statewide coverage to our Virginia grassroots operation.
- Absentee Ballot & GOTV Program — RPV financed an absentee ballot and Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) program.
- Voter File Lists — RPV provided up-to-date voter file data to campaigns and units.
- EDO — Our Election Day Operation/ballot security program was unprecedented. RPV was committed to insuring a fair election process and protecting the integrity of the ballot.
- Volunteer Marshall Program — Grassroots workers handled the final 72 hours of campaign operations, door knocking, and phone calling.
- Signs & Collateral — RPV purchased over 130,000 yard signs, plus door hangers, lit for distribution, and other collateral.
- Candidate Assistance — RPV ran commercials and sent millions of direct mail contact pieces on behalf of our candidates.
- Total raised and spent on behalf of our 2008 candidates — Over $3,500,000.
We did a lot in 2008 — perhaps more than ever before. But we must do more; become better prepared; and work together to face the challenges ahead. Every person in our state Party and in all our local Parties bring something productive to the table. We must leverage every skill and talent we have out there, and working together, we’ll be able to take advantage of the great opportunities before us…
Of course, all of this can be verified by reviewing state and federal campaign finance reports, although the numbers may vary slightly due to the reporting periods. You can also check out official RPV Executive Committee and/or State Central Committee minutes, which were distributed to those on the committees at the time. If they won’t hand them over, let me know and I’ll send them to you.
Probably more info than you wanted, but just a great example of how digging a little for the truth can tell a different story than the one you’ve been told.
Oh, and by the way, check out those campaign finance reports — especially the most recent ones. You’ll see the financial disaster RPV has been in since I left, notwithstanding McDonnell’s big bail-out contributions here and there.