As I wrote on Saturday, Krystal Ball swept all delegates and alternates from caucuses over the weekend in Stafford and Fredericksburg. These were huge victories for Krystal and, in sweeping these caucuses, helped her secure slightly more than one-third of the number of delegates she needs to secure the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s First Congressional District. There is no other way to put it, these were devastating losses for his campaign and call into question his continued viability. So how does Scott deal with adversity? If you guessed by putting his nose to the ground and working hard to build up a currently non-existent field operation, you would be sorely mistaken. This is how he has chosen to deal with things.
This email is being sent with the intent of informing you of troubling events that have developed over the last few weeks involving a fellow Democratic Committee (Stafford County) and what actions the Robinson campaign intends to use to remedy the situation.
It is the opinion of the Robinson campaign that the caucus process in Stafford County was “hijacked” by a small group of Krystal Ball supporters and the democratic process was circumvented with the intention of ensuring that the Krystal Ball campaign not only won a majority of delegates but left the caucus with a “slate” of supporters for Krystal Ball.
As I write this I am quite certain that while you read this you will feel this email is bourne of frustration and written with my campaigns best interests in mind. No doubt that is true.
However, there are facts that are too egregious to ignore that point in the direction of an organized attempt by members of the Stafford County Democratic Committee (SCDC) to make the proverbial “smoky backroom deal” scenario seem all too real.
· The SCDC violated the Democratic Party of Virginia’s (DPVA) plan by not posting the Call to Caucus in a local paper.
· The SCDC did not inform the Robinson campaign of the Call to Caucus via phone, email, or United States Post Office mail.
· The chair of the SCDC did not inform the remainder of her own EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE of the Call to Caucus.
· The chair of the SCDC made the decision of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ of the Caucus without ANY input from the rest of the Executive Committee.
· The chair of the Committee chose to allow for a non-executive committee to take charge of the committee in her absence while on vacation in violation of the committee rules.
The Robinson campaign feels at the very least that the rules of the Caucus have been violated and election law could have been as well. Because of these facts and actions of individuals who are associated with BOTH the Krystal Ball for Congress campaign and the SCDC; the Robinson campaign intends to file a formal complaint with the Chair of the Virginia 1st Congressional District Committee.
My intention is to follow this email up with all of the county chairs of the 1st Congressional District individually. I appreciate your patience as we work our way through this process.
Scott Robinson for Congress
I’m speechless, well not really. The wheels have now completely come off the Robinson campaign. The allegations are quite serious; however, they lack any legal basis (federal or state party) and, instead, show a campaign that is spiraling out of control.
Why can’t the Robinson campaign just admit that they were out organized and lost badly this weekend? Instead, they come off as a bunch of sore-losers. You would think that Scott would have done his homework before leveling these ridiculous claims publicly, but that is clearly not the case. The fact is that this should come as no surprise to anyone, since he has shown a continued failure to do his homework and has made false statements before (see breeder reactors).
He clearly does not understand anything about the rules that govern party caucuses. To his point that “The SCDC violated the Democratic Party of Virginia’s (DPVA) plan by not posting the Call to Caucus in a local paper,” he is simply confused (as though this should surprise anyone by now). As Blue Virginia points out:
Those are some serious charges right there, up to and including possible illegality. The only problem, as 1st CD Democratic Party Chair Suzette Matthews points out, is that none of this is accurate. In fact, as Matthews points out, “Contrary to the second bullet of this message, local committees do not have to pay for expensive newspaper postings of caucuses.” In addition, Matthews writes, “Please note the last sentence of the following provision of the DPVA Party Plan, which permits posting of the caucus notice on web sites and press release to newspapers (we understand [1st CD City and County chairs] have no control whether the newspaper prints the notice or not).”
The provision that Suzette refers to is “Instead of a newspaper notice, a committee may provide notice by placing notice on the State Party website, its local website, and providing a press release to all relevant newspapers of general circulation.” In interpreting this provision, I would add that legally the word “may” implies discretion. That would imply that a committee could decide whether they needed to provide notification using all three methods or just one. As will be clear in a moment, the committee did meet this requirement.
To his second point that “The SCDC did not inform the Robinson campaign of the Call to Caucus via phone, email, or the United States Post Office mail,” there is simply no requirement beyond what was previously mentioned by Blue Virginia. The Call to Caucus was posted on the SCDC website (here) 2 weeks prior to the caucus, which is the maximum amount of notice that is allowed for within the party plan. An email also went out to all committee members, a few of which support Robinson, with the Call to Caucus attached. In an email dated February 27, 2010:
Please find attached the SDC Call to Caucus and the Pre-Filing Form for the 1st Congressional District. We will meet on March 13th in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Stafford Government Center. We will have our regular meeting after the Caucus. The information about caucus can also be found at http://www.stafforddemocrats.org.
Please forward this information to anyone you feel might be interested in participating.
This is another example of a total lack of organization on behalf of the Robinson campaign. Instead of dealing with the fact that this is one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen run, they make up false claims and sound like a bunch of sore-losers. I’d imagine that they would also try to blame the government for not reminding folks to show up to vote for them on Election Day, to cover up for their ineptitude.
As to his third point that “The chair of the SCDC did not inform the remainder of her own EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE of the Call to Caucus,” this is not true. See aforementioned email from the Chair, which went out to every single committee member (including the executive board). This isn’t even a requirement.
To his fourth point that “The chair of the SCDC made the decision of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ of the Caucus without ANY input from the rest of the Executive Committee,” again this is incorrect. This was discussed in great detail at a February 20, 2010 meeting of all committee members. A ton of input was provided on when NOT to conduct the caucus, which did not include March 13, 2010. The Chair said that she would provide the Call to Caucus to members, based on their feedback from the February 20, 2010 meeting, the Call to Convention and the Party Plan. Not a single member objected.
To his fifth point that “The chair of the Committee chose to allow for a non-executive committee to take charge of the committee in her absence while on vacation in violation of the committee rules,” this is another untruth. The Chair was in complete control of the Committee and responded to phone calls and emails, during this period of time.
How Scott can claim the process was “hijacked” is laughable. His lack of understanding of the process is evident and very troubling, as is his candidacy. Krystal left the caucus with a “slate” of supporters because her field operation was superior to Scott’s. Slates were clearly advertised in the Call to Caucus:
Slate voting for delegates and alternates shall be permitted at this caucus. Slates must be filed no later than 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, with Kandy Hilliard, Chair of the Stafford County Virginia Democratic Committee, 43 Town & Country Drive, Suite 119-129, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22405 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Slates must be prefiled by the time and date specified above. There will be no exception to this rule for any reason. A properly filed slate will include the names of those persons wishing to appear on the slate, their candidate preference, who will serve as the 29 delegates and 15 alternates and who will be serving as the caucus chair. The fist slate filed will be designated as Slate ‘A’, the second Slate ‘B’, etc.
All properly prefiled persons will be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order. The ballot will also indicate the candidate preference for each individual who prefiles, or uncommitted; and it will include whether they are running for a delegate or alternate slot. Slates will appear at the bottom of the ballot and not show the names of the candidates included in that slate. It will be the responsibility of the slate organizer to have the names and candidate preferences of those comprising their slate available for distribution at the caucus.
I’m not really seeing their point on “slates.” In fact slates were giving the least amount of preference you can possibly give them on the ballot. They had ample opportunity to file and didn’t. You would think that given Stafford’s proximity to Quantico, he could have turned out more than a few supporters?
The best part of this email is the last part of it where it indicates that “election law could have been [violated].” What are they claiming has been violated, specifically? As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for a seven-justice Supreme Court majority opinion, “A political party has a First Amendment right to limit its membership as it wishes, and to choose a candidate-selection process that will in its view produce the nominee who best represents its political platform.” The party manages the caucus process and they are allowed to specify the process by which a candidate is selected. No court is getting involved in internal party workings; however, there is one limitation. That is no party can exclude voters based on race (see “White Primary Cases”) or religion. I understand that the Robinson campaign likes to deal in generalities, but you can’t level serious claims like this without providing details (as they do with his positions or lack thereof).
I agree with Blue Virginia in saying that
…Robinson’s complains are completely and wholly without merit, not to mention hysterical and pathetic. The only question is how badly his super-sore loser routine will hurt him in upcoming caucuses. Starting with Gloucester tonight, followed by James City this Thursday, Newport News on March 25, etc.
This campaign is as good as finished. No one likes a sore-loser.