By Alex Bridges -- email@example.com
Virginia Republican Party officials likely could decide the leadership of the Warren County GOP.
Members of the Sixth District Committee at a meeting Saturday voted 32-5 to deny an appeal filed by Mike McHugh, who argued the Warren County Republican Party membership did not rightfully choose Dominic "Don" Repici to serve as their chairman at its mass meeting in March. McHugh, at the county committee's meeting April 12, issued a challenge not recognizing Repici as chairman.
Members at a May 15 meeting voted in favor of sending an amended version of McHugh's appeal to district leaders. At the district-wide meeting, according to Dan Moxley, chairman of the Bath County GOP committee, leadership did not consider McHugh's amended appeal. Rather, the committee addressed and voted on the original appeal.
McHugh stated in an email Monday that he plans to present the amended appeal to the Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia. District panel Vice Chairman Chaz Evans-Haywood put into the minutes his objection to Chairman Wendell Walker's decision to ignore the county committee's vote May 15 to reconsider the appeal with the amendment, according to McHugh.
Walker addressed only the matter of the appeal, he said Monday. Asked who he felt lawfully held the chairmanship of the Warren County committee, Walker said Repici remains in that role. However, Walker noted that David Henderson, former chairman of the county committee, remained in that role after the mass meeting.
"There were discussions regarding did Mr. Henderson officially resign so Mr. Repici could become chairman," Walker recalled, but noted the committee took no action on that issue. "It took some time and everyone had some interesting thoughts in regard to that but my hope and prayer is that we can get this issue resolved as we move to the state central committee and they will look at all the facts as presented by both gentlemen from day one -- from the refile, the mass meeting all the way up to this point - and that they will make a final decision as to who is chairman of the committee and things will go forward."
Moxley, chairman of the Bath County GOP committee, said that at the district gathering he raised the issue of the April 12 meeting and whether or not a vacancy existed to which members could fill by choosing a chairman. As Moxley recalled, Repici told members an "implied vacancy" existed.
"Well, an implied vacancy does not constitute a vacancy nor does failure to elect a chair at the mass meeting constitute a vacancy," Moxley said. "A vacancy occurs when someone is either removed from the chair, resigns, dies, something, but has a position and it becomes unoccupied by those means.
"So there was no vacancy as we understand and so trying to fill the vacancy by means of a regular meeting when there is no vacancy is not legitimate either," Moxley added.
While the vote count shows a majority rejected McHugh's appeal, Moxley noted the result doesn't necessarily legitimate Repici's chairmanship.
As Moxley explained, the chairman selected to lead a mass meeting serves in that capacity only for that purpose. Such a meeting cannot be reconvened after adjourned, Moxley said. The chairman did not set a date to reconvene the meeting prior to adjournment, Moxley noted. The committee bylaws barred the group from reconvening the mass meeting, he explained.
Moxley questioned Walker's decision to not consider McHugh's amended appeal - an action the member called "problematic."
"At the beginning of the meeting it was not as clear as it could've been," Moxley recalled.
"Our concern at the sixth [district] is the rule of law," Moxley said. "You know we have a party plan and that's what determines what should occur here and neither party seems to have gotten that just right even though it might seem unduly persnickety here. It's just the way we gotta do it."