Dear Unit Chairs and State Central Members:
Over the past few days, there has been a large amount of attention regarding access to the Virginia ballot. Over the past few months we have done the following to help all 17 of the candidates get access to the Virginia ballot: 1) sent out a comprehensive memo to all the campaigns with complete information on qualifying for the ballot and other legal issues; 2) communicated with most of the campaigns’ staff on a regular basis to answer questions and provide updated information; 3) refer Virginians interested in working for particular candidates to the campaign of their choice; and 4) helped activities who want to gather signatures for particular candidates get access to the campaigns.
Recently, an Agenda item for our next State Central Meeting, specifically the item, “Proposal to Require Presidential Candidates to Sign a Pledge to Support the Nominee to Compete in Virginia” is being construed by certain members of the media to mean that our Party is trying to exclude certain candidates from the 2016 Primary ballot. Of course, this is not the case and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that all 17 candidates are on the Virginia ballot.
Prior to releasing our agenda for our September meetings, State Central Committee members, Unit Chairs and activists contacted me and said they were planning on bringing a motion requiring the candidates to sign a pledge to compete in the primary. I put the item on the Agenda to ensure there would be an open and honest public debate on the issue beforehand. Currently, there is no actual motion that I am aware of on this issue and the staff at RPV are not planning or pushing a particular motion one way or another.
There has also been confusion on what RPV can do regarding requiring candidates to sign a pledge to compete. The Code of Virginia already states that candidates who lose a primary are not able to run as a third party candidate. The relevant Virginia Code section is § 24.2-520. The statute is reproduced below and a Declaration of Candidacy Form has been attached to this email:
Declaration of candidacy required.
A candidate for nomination by primary for any office shall be required to file a written declaration of candidacy on a form prescribed by the State Board. The declaration shall include the name of the political party of which the candidate is a member, a designation of the office for which he is a candidate, and a statement that, if defeated in the primary, his name is not to be printed on the ballots for that office in the succeeding general election. The declaration shall be acknowledged before some officer who has the authority to take acknowledgments to deeds, or attested by two witnesses who are qualified voters of the election district.
Any action by State Central would be in addition to the requirement already in state law. I am having our staff check on what our Party can legally do requiring a pledge to get on the ballot as well as if a pledge can be used regarding delegate allocation. Once we properly vet these findings, I will be releasing them to the entire State Central Committee.
I would appreciate you forwarding this email to the Members of your Committees, Units or any other interested Republicans who may wish to review this.
Thank you for your time and please contact me with any questions.
John C. Whitbeck