John Hager's history within the Republican Party is extensive and impressive. According to his page on Wikipedia;
In 1975, he volunteered for Lieutenant Governor John N. Dalton, and in 1984 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. In 1994, he co-chaired the Senatorial campaign for Oliver North.Quite a list of accomplishments, to be sure. Thank you John Hager for your lifetime of dedicated service to our State, our Nation, and our Party.
Hager has served as the director of Virginia's homeland security under Governors Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner. Hager was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1997, defeating Democrat Lewis F. Payne, Jr.. Hager is believed to be the first disabled individual to serve in an elected statewide office in Virginia.
In 2001, Hager ran for Governor of Virginia, but lost in the Republican primary to Virginia's then Attorney General, Mark Earley.
Hager is the former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. He was appointed to this position by President George W. Bush on May 24, 2004, confirmed by the Senate on November 21, 2004 and resigned effective August 1, 2007.
In July 2007, Hager was elected to serve as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.
His challenger, Delegate Jeff Fredrick, has a less lengthy resume, but a much stronger association with grassroots politics. As a Delegate, Jeff has had to campaign every two years for his own political future. He's done so successfully in a heavily Democratic district, while maintaining a solidly conservative record in the General Assembly. Fredrick's statement from his website;
I represent the 52nd district in the House of Delegates, which is located in eastern Prince William County (the southern end of Northern Virginia). My district has not been won by a statewide Republican since the 1990’s, and notwithstanding the fact that I am viewed as one of the most conservative members of the House, I just won re-election to my third term with 59% of the vote.Two men, each highly qualified, but with quite different backgrounds. Since this is an opinion piece, I suppose it's time for me to give you my opinion.
I know how to win tough elections. I have consistently been a top fundraiser in the legislature, having raised more than $1.3 million as a House candidate in just 4 years. I’m an effective and aggressive communicator, experienced at getting our common-sense conservative message out to the public, and I’ve spent a career moving the grassroots to action.
Lastly, I’ve successfully been able to appeal to independent and conservative Democratic voters by articulating our values in a way that earns me their votes, in significant numbers – and, importantly – without violating my conservative principles. With a district like mine, I simply can’t afford to alienate my conservative base, nor can I win without non-Republican votes.
While Virginia (statewide) may not closely resemble my district, I think it is safe to say that communities and neighborhoods around the Commonwealth are increasingly voting more and more like the people I’m honored to represent. Virginians as a whole seem past the point where they will simply vote for someone because they are a Republican.
The purpose of the Republican Party of Virginia is to support, in as many ways possible, our candidates. Local candidates, statewide candidates, and national candidates. As a perennially successful candidate himself, Jeff Fredrick has proven that he can connect with not only voters, but donors, grassroots supporters, and volunteers as well. With more experience as a candidate, not to mention more recent experience as a candidate, Fredrick knows what campaigns need from the higher organization. My own recent experience as a campaign manager has shown me that RPV, as it currently exists, does not know what it needs to provide our candidates and their campaigns.
The RPV has other problems besides a disconnect with its candidates. Let's face it, it just does not look good when the Executive Director hires family members as contractors for the Party. At what many say is a grossly inflated rate of pay.
The staff at RPV have often appeared incompetent, or at least not very well organized. The candidate and committee classes which were held last Fall are a prime example of this type of incompetence and or disorganization. Poorly promoted, poorly organized, and consequently poorly presented and poorly attended, these classes were simply a waste of time and money. Both of which are resources a campaign cannot afford to waste. These are only two of many issues that I and many others looked forward to being corrected when John Hager was elected Chairman last summer. It's an issue that I and many others have sadly concluded will not be corrected without a change in leadership.
My conclusion? In a perfect world Jeff Frederick would be our new Chairman. Then, in that perfect world, Jeff's first two acts would be to fire Executive Director Charlie Judd (and his son, the contractor), and immediately hire John Hager as Executive Director, a position his background is much more suitable for.
Elle, at In-Politically Correct, follows up on this subject with a quote from a letter of endorsement from the 11 District Chairs along with a response from Del. Fredrick. Her post is followed by a comment from J. Tyler Ballance, among his thoughts was this statement;
I encourage a fair and open competition for the RPV Chairmanship. This sort of open and honest discussion of ideas is what our Republican Party is supposed to be about.Amen, J. Tyler, but I doubt we have anything to worry about on that front from these two solid Republicans.