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The 2012 RPV Advance in Virginia Beach was a party. Before we begin I must mention that Fairfax County Republican Committee was named Unit of the Year.

State Central met on Friday afternoon. They voted against any signature requirement for candidates and decided on a “suggested donation” to the party when filing in 2013 at $25,000 for gubernatorial candidates and $10,000 for other state offices. Then the party started. I hit the Welcome Reception at 7:30 and then hospitality suite after hospitality suite after hospitality suite. There was a ton of free food and booze for everyone. Every suite was really great, no duds, but special mention goes to the House Delegation for their enormous boat of the biggest damn shrimp I have ever seen and Curtis Colgate’s ‘80’s party.

I missed breakfast Saturday morning but I did hit the New Media and then Mass Meetings workshops. They were nice. Then lunch, which was also nice, not because of the food, but because of speakers George Allen, Artur Davis, and Pat Mullins.

Next came the so called Candidates Forum. This surpassed the chicken we had at lunch as the biggest disappointment of the weekend. Originally the Republican National Lawyers Association was going to host a real candidates forum for the Attorney General candidates which would have included questions. That format would have allowed the two candidates to present their views to a panel that is well qualified to discuss a wide range of issues which would have highlighted expertise and brought out contrasts. But instead of offering the opportunity for substance, RPV wrecked the RNLA’s design by throwing the two AGs in with the seven candidates who have announced for Lieutenant Governor. All nine candidates were given seven minutes to speak so we basically heard the I’m Awesome speech nine times in a row. Eh. If I critique one, then I have to critique all of them and that would take too long so all I’ll say is that the room was too cold.

The showstopper of the afternoon was Pete Snyder’s BBQ and popcorn in the parking lot, which was free and perfect after the weak lunch we had paid RPV top dollar for. After that, the Diversity workshop was too crowded for me to get into so I climbed north back to NoVA, opting out of the black-tie gala.

The Advance was a success primarily because the hospitality suites on Friday were such a great party and because I was able to stay lapel sticker free all weekend, with the one exception of the “Who Elected the E.P.A.?” button, which was given to me by Delegate Brenda Pogge. And because we remember the first and last thing we hear, Fairfax County Republican Committee was named Unit of the Year.

FCRC Chairman Jay McConville accepting the Unit of the Year Award on behave of all of Fairfax's great volunteers.

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