Proof the Republican Establishment is Not Listening -- VA5 is the Next NY23

The Republican establishment did not learn their lesson from the absolute debacle that we witnessed this past fall in upstate New York.

I know they haven’t because they are again backing a moderate candidate in another critical Congressional election.

We all remember the rightful firestorm that erupted across the country and throughout upstate New York when, in smoke-filled back rooms, the Washington-based GOP establishment lined up behind the most liberal candidate in a special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional seat.

Only when principled conservatives like former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), and former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) put their reputations on the line to oppose the officially-backed GOP candidate did others follow suit, changing that race and inspiring an important debate about the future of the Republican party.

In that race, principled conservative Doug Hoffman surged in the polls and nearly won as the  Conservative Party candidate.  In the end, Hoffman was hamstrung by his ballot position and the liberal GOP nominee endorsing the Democratic candidate.  And the result wasn’t just a missed opportunity; instead a seat that was held by a Republican for over 100 years went Democratic just in time for the new Congressman to provide half of the two vote margin needed for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass a left-wing bill that will lead to a government takeover of health care.

In light of the strategic failure and disastrous result that we all witnessed in NY-23, one would think that the NationalRepublican Congressional Committee (NRCC) would operate with tremendous political caution and instead support greater competition to produce the most prepared and best performing GOP nominees in races across the country.


As the saying goes, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

In Virginia’s 5th district, the Beltway insiders have determined that blue blood State Senator Robert Hurt must be the GOP candidate to take on the incredibly weak and politically vulnerable freshman Rep. Tom Periello (D-VA).

So in an anti-competitive manner, the NRCC has endorsed the most liberal candidate in the primary in Senator Hurt, whose establishment praise reflects his establishment record.  The NRCC’s endorsement of Hurt comes in a seven-way GOP primary more than six months away from the election, only weeks after Hurt joined the race officially.

But Sen. Hurt has a record that will outrage conservatives when they become aware of it.  Let me give you two critically important examples.

Hurt voted for then-Democratic Governor Mark Warner’s $1.4 billion tax increase, the largest in Virginia history.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the state had a surplus at the time, negating any shallow argument that the state needed more money.

Unfortunately, this isn’t my opponent’s only misguided vote. He also voted for outgoing Democratic Governor Tim Kaine’s unconstitutional transportation bill which attempted to appoint regional tax authorities to tax Virginians without their approval. Thankfully the State Supreme Court was more prudent than Hurt when it unanimously decided (by a 7-0 vote) that the law was unconstitutional for imposing a system that amounted to taxation without representation.

Conservatives should be outraged about this.  We know that the NRCC has demonstrated terrible political judgment and unchecked arrogance.

There are two reasons that conservatives must get involved in this race.

First, we need to send a message to the NRCC that their endorsement is a huge mistake and must be retracted.

But second, we all want to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi lose her job on Election Day next year.  The best way to do that is to provide the starkest contrast with conservative candidates running against the excesses and damaging left-wing policies of this administration and the Democratic Congress.

This is a time for bold colors, not pale pastels.

I can already hear incumbent Rep. Periello, in defending his votes for the health care bill and the Cap and Tax bill in Congress, say: “Sen Hurt, it’s ironic that you are attacking me for voting to increase taxes when you voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia history.”

There are six other principled conservatives running to be the GOP nominee in this Congressional race, and I am one.

Sen. Hurt should not be the GOP nominee.  The NRCC needs to stay out of Virginia.

Conservatives who care about the direction of the Republican party and the country need to send a clear message that we will win again when we go back to our conservative roots and principles and demand that our leadership do the same.

Laurence Verga is a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 5th district and may be reached via http://www.vergaforcongress.com.