By Alex Bridges
The Shenandoah County Republican Party picked its candidates to run for two seats on the Board of Supervisors in November.
GOP supporters gathered Friday night at Central High School for the local party's nominating convention. Delegates chose Steven Shaffer to run for District 4 and Supervisor Dennis Morris for District 5.
Shaffer, a former member of the School Board, sought the nomination to run for District 4 after Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli announced she would not seek re-election. Morris, currently the vice chairman of the board, will seek re-election to represent District 5.
Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz also had sought the party's nomination to run for District 4 and 5 respectively. In separate statements made after the convention, Bailey and Shruntz criticized the local GOP and the nominating process used.
Bailey and Shruntz stated they would take a leave of absence as members of the Republican Women of Shenandoah County. Bailey stated she plans to run for the board seat as a Reagan Conservative. Shruntz said she would run as an independent Constitutional Conservative. Bailey and Shruntz sent their letters to Karen Kwiatkowski, president of the Republican Women of Shenandoah County.
Shenandoah County's GOP is the only one in Virginia that still nominates candidates through the convention process, said Suzanne Curran, western vice chairwoman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Most of Virginia's local GOP units nominate candidates by way of a mass meeting -- a single event in which party supporters choose delegates who then vote on a nominee.
In the convention process, delegates are chosen in each precinct weeks before the party holds the nominating event, Curran explained. This year the delegate selection event took place on Maundy Thursday during the Christian holy week. Curran said it was possible that many people who would have attended the delegate-selection event in the precincts could not because they were in church services that night.
"I believe that the convention is burdensome and it requires too many meetings for busy people," Curran said. "There are any number of people that, when it's between God and politics, it's an easy call."
Likewise, she said, the fact that the precinct event happened on a Thursday night may have prevented people who work outside the county to attend and participate.
"I think that it's asking a little too much when we're the only county that asks people to come out of their comfortable houses after they've finally gotten home from where they might be employed, 'cause it's probably not here," Curran said.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org