Steve Knotts | Fairfax GOP
Virginia’s 8th, 10th, and 11th Congressional Districts have now concluded their nominating conventions — these were the first of many steps needed to give Virginians a voice and restore common sense to our Commonwealth.
Your friends and neighbors registered to serve as delegates — and even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they came out to cast their ballots and participate in our great democracy. Delegates had important decisions before them, and evaluated the candidates with care and thoughtfulness. At each convention, they selected national delegates (and alternates) to the Republican National Convention, a presidential elector, a chairman for their district committee, members of the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee, and perhaps most importantly, our congressional nominees to run against Democrat incumbents Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly and Jennifer Wexton.
Most of these positions were contested, wherein lies the beauty of our democracy. In order to make the most of our freedom, we need choices. We are fortunate that so many Republicans dedicated their time, talent, and treasure to the task of strengthening our party. Every single party position is voluntary, providing no financial compensation whatsoever. For their willingness to serve and advance our shared ideals, we owe these volunteers a debt of gratitude.
At their core, elections are lengthy job interviews with a large group deciding who gets the position. A contested election means each candidate must differentiate him or herself from their opponents. During the process, candidates shore up their supporters and regrettably, create some detractors along the way. No contested election is, nor should it be, one in which 100% of the votes go to a single candidate. Unfortunately, the losing side often fails to accept the results, settle their differences, and support the winner.
The Republican Party is the party of the individual, and as such, personal freedom is a cornerstone of our worldview. Liberty includes forming and keeping our opinions with respect to political candidates. We vehemently disagree with the Left on most issues, but we still would fight for their right to have their opinions and voice them without fear. The same applies to our fellow Republicans in the context of nominating conventions. However, if we are to take these congressional seats back in November, we must now unify behind the winners.
The Gospels teach us that a house divided cannot stand, and we have all seen the results of a divided GOP. Petty differences and perceived slights can grow into bitter resentments. Some go beyond simply failing to support our candidates — they undermine, criticize, and actively resist. We, as individuals and a party, are better than the mindless “#Resist” movement that seeks only to destroy President Trump, and in so doing, destroy our Republic.
Scripture also teaches us that there is a season for all things. In Virginia’s 8th, 10th, and 11th Congressional Districts, the time for debate, disagreement and dissent has now ended. Soon, on June 23rd, Virginia will hold statewide primaries and Republicans will have the opportunity to select our nominee for U.S. Senate. Finally, the Republican Party of Virginia will hold its quadrennial convention. This is the time to use our voices and votes to choose the absolute best candidates to lead us and to represent us. Following these votes, the time for dissent ends. We must then come together and focus only on success in November!
Many times, what is necessary is not easy. We are emotionally committed to a particular outcome or a candidate. When it happens, we are joyful. When it does not happen, we are disappointed. My hope is that all the winners will be graceful and include everyone in their joy. My further wish is that the defeated rally their supporters for the betterment of us all. We who have accepted a public role, at whatever level, have the responsibility to rise up together in unity. When we are attacked, we must rise up together as one. When we are at our weakest, we must gain strength from unity. This is our only way forward as a party, and our only path to victory.
Steve Knotts currently serves as chairman of the Fairfax GOP, the Republican Party of Virginia’s largest political unit.
Remember, upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.
– Alexander the Great