Confirm Judge Gorsuch

Guest Post by Ryan Lodata

Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced his nominee to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United State Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Evangelicals, initially skeptical of a Trump presidency, may find a measure of relief in President Trump’s selection of Judge Gorsuch. Best known for decisions in support of Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor in their opposition to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandates, Judge Gorsuch is likely to be seen as an excellent pick by the – presumptively now less skeptical – pro-life crowd. In fact, a number of conservative Senators were on hand for the announcement of Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch possesses the bona fides that, aside from the aforementioned court decisions, make him a well-qualified nominee for the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch, a graduate from Harvard Law School, clerked for Judge Sentelle on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and subsequently clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the United State Supreme Court. Following many years in private practice, President George W. Bush appointed Judge Gorsuch to his current seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. Put simply, Judge Gorsuch possesses the very achievements that have traditionally been used as a gauge to determine competency to the highest court.

While Judge Gorsuch may have to follow the well-respected legacy of Justice Scalia, many in the legal community see an opportunity for Judge Gorsuch to run with the conservative torch that was feared to have fallen with the late Justice. One of the most interesting questions of a potential Justice Gorsuch, however, is how – if at all – he will differentiate himself from Justice Scalia should he make his way to the bench.

Jonathan Adler, Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, noted one potentially transformative difference in opinion between Justice Scalia and Judge Gorsuch in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post; Chevron deference. Derived from the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., Chevron deference is blamed by many small government advocates as being responsible for the explosive growth in federal regulations passed by executive branch agencies and is seen as one factor in the creation of the so-called administrative state. The simplest explanation of Chevron deference is that courts will defer to an executive branch agency’s legal interpretation of a regulatory statute. Justice Scalia’s opinion, however, differed from that of Judge Gorsuch’s. However, I believe that analysis is best left to Professor Adler, and I highly recommend that you give his article a read.

I have no doubt that Chevron deference will remain at the center of discussions on the size and scope of federal executive branch agencies. In fact, congressional Republicans recently introduced legislation which would end the use of Chevron deference by courts as just one part of an effort by President Trump’s Administration and Congress to rein in burdensome government regulations. The potential outcome of these efforts could begin a dramatic shift in Washington, D.C. that will occupy legal and political discussions for many years to come.

Pro-life and small government conservatives have a potential win in the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. They should not celebrate too soon, however. There is no telling what sort of “jiggery pokery” may surround Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation within the Senate over the next several weeks.

AFP rally 4.

Ryan Lodata is an attorney working in Northern Virginia. Any conclusions or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author acting in his personal capacity. Linked articles are not necessarily the opinion of the author and are given only for general information purposes. And no information, statements, or conclusions from this article are legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. Should you require legal services, please contact your local bar association.

Meals Tax Disproportionately Hits Families

Guest Post by Elizabeth Schultz

Ostensibly, the Meals Tax Referendum is designed to drive more money into the Fairfax County Public Schools budget to offset the dependency on the individual taxpayer’s personal property taxes.

The Meals Tax Referendum requires no prioritization of spending policies by FCPS, just ‘promises’ – does not guarantee – more taxpayer-generated revenue.

However, there is no decrease to the property tax, only an additional tax increase on food in a county where residents have experienced stagnant wages, slow growth in home values, sequestration and the roll back of high-paying jobs. The combined effect of these has further unbalanced family incomes in the face of a consistent high cost of living.

An increased Meals Tax disproportionately hits families, taxing not just restaurant meals – which families have already scaled back on – but also the prepared items in grocery stores, super-marts, membership clubs and convenience stores. Families take advantage of prepared items because they are trying to meet the demands of schedules complicated by working, commuting, and student athletics and activities.

Fairfax County has also been directly impacted by policies at the local, state and national level which have substantially changed our county’s population. Notably, from FY2009 to FY2017, the student population grew 11.0%, from 168,384 to 186,842.

In the same period of time, the eligibility for Free and Reduced Meals (FRM) increased 45.8%, from 35,750 to 52,129 students. While the FRM student population, a poverty indicator, grew at four times the student population growth, the regular price of meals served to students who do not qualify for Free and Reduced Meals increased 20.0% for elementary lunches and 23.1% for middle and high school lunches.

It appears that the governing of Fairfax County involving the creation and enforcement – or lack of enforcement – of policies pertaining to housing, taxation, land use, transportation, education and economic development, has drastically changed the taxpayer and student population base according the FCPS Capital Improvement Plans over time.

Further taxing a population which is increasing in its poverty statistics is the last thing that will help Fairfax when those who are already struggling to remain here are doing so under subsidies while the balance of the population who have and continue to bear the cost of those subsidies is decreasing.

The households supported by a single income, two-working parent families and FCPS’ own employees, teachers, instructional assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and support personnel all will be directly impacted by this additional tax increase – as well as the apparent on-going increase of families living in poverty in Fairfax County.

Vote NO on The Meals Tax Referendum: increasing taxes is something we just can’t afford.

-Elizabeth L. Schultz
Fairfax County School Board
Springfield District

This is provided in my individual capacity and does not reflect the position taken by the full Board.


Elizabeth Schultz is a member of the Fairfax County School Board. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @ThinkSchultz

Say No To The Meals Tax On November 8

Guest Post by Matt Ames

In just a few short days, Fairfax County voters have an extremely important decision to make that will significantly affect our local economy. They will decide whether or not to add a 4% “meals tax” on all restaurant meals and prepared foods they purchase in the County. This proposed tax is on top of the existing 6% sales tax, which will make the total tax 10%. This will nearly double the tax that County residents currently pay.

The tax will apply to meals and beverages purchased at every kind of restaurant, coffee shop, food truck, convenience store and more. Even prepared foods such as a rotisserie chicken purchased in a grocery store deli will be taxed. In short, if you don’t cook your food from scratch in your own kitchen, you will pay a higher tax.

The pro-tax crowd has carefully honed their message; a vote for the tax will “support our schools” and “raise teacher salaries.” However, as is usually the case, these arguments are misleading at best and an extreme oversimplification of the real issues voters face.

As they make up their minds and head to the polls, voters deserve the clear facts.

The Meals Tax will be the second $100 Million tax in one year. Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors raised property taxes by 6%. In the last five years, property taxes have increased a whopping 26%. But that’s not all. Other taxes and fees have increased during the same time period as well.

Again and again, Fairfax County residents have stepped up and paid the taxes they have been asked to pay. But despite billions in tax revenues received, our County government has spent even more. In fact, the School Board alone projects a $134 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year. The County currently projects its own $79 million budget shortfall. Combined, the County is $213 million in the red without any serious plan to address the problem other than coming to its residents for more money.

The claim that 70% of the money collected by way of the tax will automatically go to the schools is untrue. The Board of Supervisors will continue to decide each year how much money to transfer to the School Board. They are not legally bound to increase the School Board budget by the amount the meals tax brings in. This means that today’s promises of plenty may be offset by tomorrow’s revised priorities.

Even if the School Board gets more funding, there is no guarantee that the money will be spent directly on teacher salaries or children’s education, or that every school in the County will benefit from the increased funding.

The Meals Tax is a regressive tax that will hit vulnerable Fairfax County resident populations such as low-income working families, senior citizens and young people the hardest. All County residents will pay the additional tax whether they can afford to or not. There are no exceptions for those who may be struggling. A new meals tax may force some residents to make difficult choices. Even the Washington Post has had to admit that “Levies on meals, like most sales taxes, are regressive; as a percentage of income, they hurt the poor more than the rich.”

The Meals Tax unfairly singles out the restaurant and food services industry. The restaurant business is intensely competitive and prone to failure. Many operators are small business owners. The average profit margin is 3%. Even small increases in costs or reductions in sales can force a restaurant out of business and put people out of work.

There is no question that the tax will negatively impact an industry that provides 40,000 good paying jobs right here in Fairfax County. As one local restaurateur recently summed it up, “There is no way I can raise my prices by 4%, how can I expect my customers to pay 4% more in taxes and not have it make a difference?”

The Meals Tax is not a new idea. In 1992, the Board of Supervisors proposed the same idea, and the voters said NO. In 2014, the Board brought it up again, but under pressure from residents and businesses, decided to wait. Now they are back and the measure is on the ballot.

It is critical that voters say NO to the Meals Tax on November 8.


Matt Ames is chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee.

Meals Tax Could Drop Your Property Value

Guest Post by Spike Williams

On your ballot Nov. 8th you will find a referendum vote on whether or not to add a 4% Meals Tax to the existing Sales Tax of 6%. Let’s examine how this can impact your life as a property owner or prospective buyer in Fairfax County.

It is commonly accepted that real estate values are fluid and tied to changes in the market. Of course there are still those who believe that their property has inherent value based on an array of anecdotal indicators such how much they paid for it, how much they have put into it, or even how much they love it. The truth is that the only indicators that will really determine the value of your home in a competitive sales market are Location, Condition, and a Comparable Market Analysis. The reason I point that fact out is to establish a baseline for my argument that a Meals Tax increase to a net 10% could effect property values and hence your return on investment.

If imposed the meals tax will apply to all prepared foods and beverages, not just those acquired at restaurants, it will also include alcohol when served with a meal, grocery stores (rotisserie chicken, coleslaw…), delis, food trucks, convenience stores, caterers, movie theater concessions, hotel food services, coffee shops, and more. Currently Fairfax County has a competitive advantage over some area jurisdictions like Arlington County, The City of Falls Church, The City of Alexandria, The City of Fairfax, the Towns of Vienna and Herndon and others. Our existing meals tax is 4% less than many of our neighbors. That discrepancy drives consumers to our communities and increases economic activity. One local jurisdiction that could reap some benefit to its business owners would be The Town of Clifton, assuming their governing body doesn’t impose an additional meals tax. Bear in mind though that from a real estate perspective they would be dragged down along with the rest of the area.

You see, Fairfax County (which includes Tysons, Reston, Fair Oaks, Springfield, The Mosaic District and others major economic engines) by way of its lesser tax, draws interest from businesses looking to provide those services and companies who’s employees will consume those goods. This is the essence of economic stimulation – we are, and have been, enjoying the effects of a virtual economic vacuum that draws commerce to our communities. And what does that mean for your property value? You guessed it, it is buoyed by the increased economic activity.

Make your own decision on the meals tax referendum but don’t do it believing that this is free money for schools that won’t have consequences. Changes in the economic landscape always cause ripples.

Cross-posted to Williams Realty NoVA Blog


Spike Williams is a realtor at Williams Realty. He was the Republican nominee for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2011.

What’s In Your Wallet?

Guest Post by Mick McKeown

Election Day is around the corner and the most common question seems to be which Presidential candidate could you stomach in the White House. While picking the leader of the free world this election might not be the most enticing prospect, another tax is on the ballot in Fairfax County that deserves attention, but is getting buried between clips of Access Hollywood and Wikileaks. Below is how it will read on the ballot:

“The question presented in this referendum asks Fairfax County voters whether the Board of Supervisors should be authorized to levy a meals tax, as allowed by Virginia Code § 58.1-3833, at a rate not to exceed four percent (4%) of the amount charged for the taxable food and beverages. The Board of Supervisors has decided to dedicate the revenues to two purposes, which are specified in the ballot question. First, 70 percent of the net revenues would be dedicated to Fairfax County Public Schools. Second, 30 percent of the net revenues would be dedicated to County services, capital improvements and property tax relief.”

The Washington Post wrote an editorial supporting the tax. The piece has valid points. It discusses the vibrant dining scene in the District and Arlington are growing in spite of the tax. Mentions that people don’t notice the tax or it doesn’t change dining out habits. Lower tips are based on millennials not tipping well and couldn’t be because of the tax. Passing the tax is only going to help the situation according to the Post.

The Post makes no mention of principles. Revenue in the county is down. Growth is stagnant. The taxpayer is expected to carry a larger burden while the County refuses to reduce expenses. This is the first tax, not the last one. If the county was sincere about this tax being a stop gap measure due to an economic downturn a sunset clause would have been included. Instead expect sugar/soda taxes next like Philadelphia and California.

The quickest and quietest way to stop the insanity is at the ballot box. Vote your conscience for President and your wallet on the Meals Tax Question.


Mick McKeown is a creative and resourceful campaign professional who is well versed in contributing to political initiatives and interacting with elected officials. From Pennsylvania, McKeown now lives in Falls Church with his wife and daughter. He can be reached at

Who’s With Her?

Guest Post by Lou Di Leonardo

Hillary Clinton is having a bad time of it. The woman (hardly a ‘lady’) who thought she was a shoo-in in 2008 was summarily defeated by a nobody of a US Senator who voted “present” rather than yay or nay over 100 times in his short career in the Senate. This man-child from Hawaii-Indonesia-Chicago, whose claim to fame was that he was a community (dis)organizer in Chicago, had a similar record as a state Senator in Illinois. Conveniently, he also lost all his personal records from his time in the Illinois legislature. Sound familiar? He attended church in racist Jeremiah Wright’s palace of worship for 20 years but never heard the preacher man say a word against the United States. The rest of us, of course, did hear those words on television. I guess the sound is better on TV than in person at that church-of-what’s-happening-now. Madame Clinton had it wrapped up!!!

Not so fast. Barack Hussein Obama had history on his side: he would, if elected, be the first “black” President of the United States. Never mind that he is fully 50% Caucasian, never mind that a black author named Toni Morrison (see the soft core pornographic novels Beloved and The Bluest Eye) said Bill Clinton, although nominally Caucasian, was actually America’s first black President. No, Barack Hussein Obama’s election would be historic so America must elect him. OK, Hillary Clinton was pushed out as the presumptive 2008 Democrat nominee for the sake of history. But, she would be appointed Secretary of State by absentee Senator Obama IF he beat John McCain. Well, he beat John McCain and she was made SOS (talk about irony with that acronym under Clinton’s tenure).

To show its gratitude to America for electing Obama, the Nobel Institute issued its Peace Prize (also once awarded to that peacenik, Yasser Arafat) for 2009 to him. Nominations were closed 11 days after he took office yet he made the list! After assuming the presidency we found out he thinks a military medic is a corpse man, that Austrians speak Austrian (or was it Australian?), and that US is comprised of 57 states. Never mind that it took him years after his election to show his birth certificate (a photo shopped fraudulent document according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio). Madame Clinton was doing a slow…but intense…burn as she watched this and plotted her future.

As Americans we have seen how disastrous Obamacare has become, how Americans died in Benghazi because he took no action to help (and where the heck was he from 4 PM EST on September 11, 2012 to 8 AM the next day???), how he has run up more debt than all prior Presidents combined, how racially polarized we have become as a nation, how Chicago has become known as Chiraq, how Baltimore was burned, how he paid $400+ million in ransom for 4 hostages to Iraq, the #1 state sponsor of terrorism, etc. And Alinsky acolyte Hillary Clinton is now promising 4 more years of Obamanations!!! That includes a healthy tax hike on the middle class to pay for the developing Socialist state we now have in America.

We have seen how the US government Department formerly known as “Justice” refused to bring criminal charges against Madame Clinton for hiding/destroying/minimizing over 30,000 emails stored on a computer server located in her home! Both the head of the FBI, Jim Comey, and our first black female Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, refused to prosecute her. Another 15,000 previously undisclosed emails have been found and are now being reviewed by the FBI (so what, right?) and we have now seen how more than half of her meetings with people outside the government while she was secretary of state gave money, either personally or through companies or groups, to the Clinton Foundation.

On top of this, there is serious speculation that she may have Parkinson’s disease. We do know she fell, seriously banging her head, in December 2012 and spent the next 6 months recovering. There was a blood clot in her brain, she has fallen getting onto an airplane, has almost fallen (she wears flat shoes so don’t blame it on high heels) numerous times, she has coughing fits ON TV, took an extended bathroom break during a debate with Bernie “The Bum” Sanders (his first fulltime job was at age 40), can’t seem to remember lots of things, has inappropriate laughing fits, and lies full time.

Well, the American people aren’t buying her rotten apples anymore. There’s another new kid in town, Donald Trump. Only thing is, this new kid is an accomplished entrepreneur who gets things done, gets them done quickly, and gets them done right. All of a sudden, Madame Clinton’s aspiration, nay, entitlement, to the Presidency based on her female private parts is in serious jeopardy.

What’s a girl to do? My advice would be to quit before Mr. Trump and WikiLeaks further expose your criminality and make rhetorical mincemeat of you and your “platform”. Spend the rest of your days visiting Diane Reynolds (Chelsea Clinton’s false identity for purposes of email communications on State Department equipment) and your granddaughter, take a long vacation to some out of the way destination with your hubby, learn how to surf, whatever. Just get lost and take Bubba with you. Take a rest until the next Attorney General (Rudy Giuliani) formally charges you with breaking laws you swore to uphold. Until then, you and Billy Goat should donate 100% of all monies in the infamous Clinton Foundation to charities like Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, the USO, or St. Jude’s Hospital. Show some good will to the world.


Lou Di Leonardo is a grassroots activist who is involved with the Northern Virginia TEA Party. He lives in Fairfax County.

Burger With A Side Of Tax

Guest Post by Jorge Reyna

On June 7th the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on a referendum to put a meals tax in Fairfax County. Why a meals tax? What’s it for? And how does it affect us? According to the Fairfax County Board the tax is being implemented to help out schools with the following breakdown:

70% of the net revenues will be dedicated to Fairfax County Public Schools.
30%of the net revenues will be dedicated to county services, capital improvements and property tax relief.

According to the county it is supposed to generate $99 million within the first year….. The county says they need the money because once again schools are underfunded. The questions is why? Year after year, the county asks for more money through bonds that we vote for and increased real estate taxes. Every year they keep saying we need more money, the Supervisors and School Board Members feel they need a raise, and take even more of our money. SO, how does this affect us? Well if we vote yes, according to the Fairfax County website, the meals tax will be implemented on ready to eat food and beverages sold at restaurants, as well as grocery stores, convenience stores and delicatessens at a rate of 4% on top of the sales tax of 6%, for a total of 10%.

Now, as a YR (Young Republican) and a father, 10% is a lot of money. To feed my family of 4, and trying to be conservative with what we buy at a restaurant, we spend between $60 – $80 dollars on food. Adding tip at possibly 20%, you are talking about 30% more on the food you just bought, or $18 – $24 dollars extra. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up. Also, this will affect servers, employers, and young people. Young people can spend up to $50 – $100 going out at night, because of this tax, they may think twice about tipping 20%. Servers will lose tips to an already low paying job, and employers may cut down on the amount of staff needed. But let’s say people still go out and not much revenue is lost. Well what’s to stop the county from raising that tax more?

A little background on me, I was born and raised in Fairfax County, possibly one of the few natives you will find. I also went to Fairfax County public schools, and my kids started going there. But the schools I remember are not the same any more. In fact, it got so bad for my kids, we decided to home school them. They classified my child as “special needs” so they could get more money from the county. Is my child different, well yes he is, but does he need to be in a special needs program? The answer is no. The problem with the school system is they are trying to fit all the kids in a square peg, while my child is a round one, as many other children are. How does this relate to the meals tax? Well, the meals tax is supposed to flood the schools with more money and alleviate the problem of low teacher pay and being able to educate our children. But the problem is, schools like the one my children attended, try to get more money out of the government for programs that may not be needed.

The whole purpose of the meals tax is to “help” schools. Maybe it’s time we audit the schools and find wasteful programs that don’t help children, or suck money from the school funds, because let’s be honest, in the end, when you give your money to the government, who knows where it will end up, so just vote NO.


Jorge Reyna is a former chairman of the Fairfax Area Young Republicans.

Is This Donald Trump’s Moment?

Guest Post by Shak Hill

Raccoons are bad. When Robin and I moved into our first home after leaving the military, we discovered a raccoon family had moved in just before us, living in the ceiling of the garage. A story attributed to Newt Gingrich about the phenomenon of Donald Trump compared him to a raccoon exterminator. The belief is, we don’t care about the person who exterminates the raccoons, we just want the problem fixed.

With Donald Trump the presumptive nominee, many are now wondering whether they should leave the Republican Party. I don’t propose there exists the perfect answer to this question. But I understand why people are asking it (because we also want the raccoon problem fixed).

For the record, I’m not a “NeverTrump” person. In the two-party system that America enjoys (or, increasingly laments), the question is binary: Democrat or Republican. As a question with two possible answers, I can understand supporting him despite his lack of conservative track record. It is simply a pragmatic response.

But I’m not an “AlwaysTrump” person, either. What amazes me is that so many people are willing to table their core beliefs to support Donald Trump. Case in point: if you are arguing with a big Trump fan and you criticize Trump on any level for any action, eventually you often become the bad guy in the course of that argument. “You don’t understand!” “You don’t get it!”

No, I think I do. As a Major League Soccer (MLS) Official and a United States Basketball League (USBL) Official, I saw many games won by one play. Often, that single moment turned the tide of the game and secured victory.

Politics is not entirely different from sports. To use a football analogy: with Donald Trump, you are voting to start a quarterback in the Super Bowl who has never thrown a pass. Why? Because you are tired of interceptions and losses. You are the guy at home who keeps yelling at his TV on Sunday afternoons: “Start a guy from the stands! He’s gotta be better than this guy!!”

Yes, in the far flung possibilities of mathematics, it is possible that the random guy in the mezzanine might actually be better than your quarterback. Trump’s argument is that since he has done all the things to put him in the owner’s box, he should therefore be on the field. Voters believed him. They could have chosen from many more Republican candidates who were, on any logical level, more qualified than Mr. Trump. Voters only have Super Tuesdays, not Super Bowls, but many of those who voted in Republican primaries and conventions decided to start a guy from the stands.

Mr. Trump, you are now the quarterback. Many of my conservative friends want to know your first Supreme Court “play”. Release your selection of who you are going to nominate – so we can determine if your first moment will turn the tide of your administration and secure victory for our country.

As for whether to leave the Republican Party, I think we need to begin by asking a broader question: What do we believe? Do our beliefs lead us to be Republicans, or does the Republican Party lead us to our beliefs?

My support about a “party” is fundamentally tied to ideas: the ideas of freedom, liberty and the rule of law. Freedom is what I personally fought for as a graduate of the Air Force Academy (class of 1988), a combat pilot (Desert Storm) and now the father of two boys in the Army — who represent the fourth consecutive generation of my family to serve in uniform for our country. Liberty is to use our Creator given talents without crushing government intervention. Rule of law is adhering to the original contract with America – the Constitution.

One last thing, which is actually the first thing. Ultimately, my principles are not dictated by Reince Preibus or Donald Trump—they are formed in my heart by my Creator. And that will never change.

Yes, I too want the raccoon problem solved. But I need to know what comes after the problem is solved. Mr. Trump, this is your moment. This is your first play in the big game. We want to support you, but we need to know your Supreme Court pick.

Shak at WWII Memorial.

Shak Hill is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

Fredy Burgos For SCC

Guest Post by Fredy Burgos

County Republican elected party officials, including those on the SCC, have not grown the party and will not be instrumental in winning elections unless there is a new approach from the Party. Simply voting on Republican Party business is not good enough. A lack of engagement with our local communities has resulted in a disconnect of ordinary working people from Republican Party values and has contributed to political election losses, locally and state wide, despite having candidates clearly superior to Democrat opponents. I will be the active SCC member who will work to change this.

Most of our “political science” candidates have never produced any goods or services that the private sector would voluntarily pay for, have never created a private sector job, and wouldn’t begin to know how to do it. They are effectively disconnected from “ordinary people”. This is the reason for the perception of being elitist and arrogant that people have of our Party and why our Party has not grown.

These “political science” candidates and “leaders” are all talk and no action. Our Party should not be a majority of intellectuals whose only end product is ideas and who vote in ways that make us scratch our heads in confusion: they vote contrary to the tenets in the RPV Creed and do nothing to advance it. These people have no consequential knowledge base and should not be in a position to give advice on how to arrange society.

Most Americans and first generation Americans work in or own small businesses. Ordinary citizens make up the majority of citizens in America. The Republican Party has ordinary citizens who are “Super Volunteers”…I am one…that help to grow the Republican Party by explaining the value of conservative principles. These people, these Super Volunteers, must be given leadership positions so they can lead the Party by example and not just words. I am a small business owner and have been a 100% volunteer worker. I have not been paid for any of my time in my 8 years of political activism. Knowing in my heart that I have done my best to help Republicans win and being a positive influence to my daughters has been enough payment for me. That is the mind set we need for change to occur in the Party and for our Party to win elections again.


Fredy Burgos is running for a seat on the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee from the 11th Congressional District. His race will be decided on Saturday at a convention at Centreville High School.

Rauner Running For SCC

Guest Post by Ryan Rauner

Why should you vote for Ryan Rauner on May 14th?

The Republican Party of Virginia has not won a statewide election since 2009. 60% of voters under the age of 29 voted for Obama in 2012, as did 74% of voters that identify with a race other than white. While these statistics may or may not seem alarming to you—you should feel compelled to at least ask why…

Now certainly a lack of transparency and exclusionary practices can turn people off and discourage participation, but the simple fact is that we’re losing elections because we aren’t growing our Party.

Our country is becoming more diverse every day. These are facts that we can’t deny. If we want to win we need to become the party of tomorrow…today. Millennials are the largest voting bloc in the country today, period. We need to attract new, younger, and more diverse members to the Republican Party.

Our party needs a new face, a hopeful voice, and a positive message. That’s what I bring to the table. More than any other candidate in this race– I can mobilize a young and more diverse demographic to grow and expand our party.

At this point you’re probably wondering why and how?

The short answer is that while I’m active within the Republican Party, I’m not only active within the Party. I’m on the board of the Northern Virginia Republican Business Forum focused on activating the business community to support our candidates and advise them on policy; NextGenGOP focused on engaging millennials and a more diverse demographic, and have been involved with the FCRC since 2012.

Now while I’m proud of my involvement in these organizations what we need now is more than a Republican activist. We need an ambassador in the community; practicing and preaching conservative values… and that’s me.

I’ve been involved in various charitable, volunteer, and professional organizations for the better part of a decade and have served in leadership positions in each and every one. I’ve help raise hundreds of thousands for charities representing all areas of need, I’ve grown organizations from dozens of members to hundreds, and I mentor at risk youths on Saturday mornings.

Millennials and minorities think Republicans don’t care. I’ve shown them that we do. I’ve practiced what I preach. Because of this they will listen. But a new generation of Americans needs a new generation of leaders.

I love people. I’m a connector. It’s who I am and what I do. And that’s what we need right now. We need someone who can unite our party and bring others in. We need someone who will look for the common ground, focus on the 85% that we agree upon, and use it to accomplish our common goals. This is how we’ll grow our party…. this is how we’ll win again… and this is why I’m asking for your vote for State Central Committee on May 14th.

rauner 2.

Ryan Rauner is running for a seat to the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee from the 11th Congressional District. His race will be decided at a convention this Saturday at Centreville High School.

Taking The Pain Out Of Conventions

Guest Post by Richard McCarty

Why do conventions have to be so miserable?

The short answer is that they don’t. If elected to State Central, I’ll work to make conventions less painful for attendees. How will I do this?

I’ll advocate for the state party to set up online registration for conventions. From one page, you should be able to register for all of the conventions that you’re eligible to vote at, sign up for your local Republican committee, and pay any necessary fees.

I’ll advocate for satellite voting locations when the party is nominating statewide candidates. Under my plan, you’d have your choice of going to the main convention location or going to one of 3-4 satellite locations around the Commonwealth where you could watch the convention proceedings on a large screen and vote for the candidates of your choice. This would save convention attendees both time and money and enable more people to participate.

If I cannot get satellite voting locations set up, I’ll advocate for holding the convention near Charlottesville, Richmond, or Williamsburg. Most of the Commonwealth’s population is located near I-95 and I-64, and I think we should strive to locate conventions close to our population centers so more people can attend.

To save convention attendees’ time, I’ll advocate for Instant Runoff Voting. With Instant Runoff Voting, you’d rank the candidates from your most preferred to your least preferred. The votes for the least favorite candidate would be reallocated according to the voters’ preferences. The process of reallocating votes would continue until a candidate received a majority of votes. Using Instant Runoff Voting, we could eliminate the need for multiple rounds of voting while still ensuring that every winner has majority support.

To make conventions more accessible to college students, recent grads, and those on fixed incomes, I’ll advocate to keep convention fees low or optional for attendees.

Finally, I’ll advocate for setting up a committee to review what went wrong with our recent state convention in Harrisonburg and what we can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

If you agree that it’s time we reform our convention processes, I ask for your vote on May 14th at the 11th Congressional District Convention at Centreville High School.


Richard McCarty is a pro-life conservative and long-time Republican volunteer. He is currently a candidate for the State Central Committee from the 11th Congressional District. More information on his campaign can be found at Richard McCarty for State Central Committee. He can be reached at

God Save The Republic

Guest Post by Daniel Bradshaw

Since yesterday evening, many of my friends are saying that they are going to dump the Republican Party. Now I TOTALLY understand why they feel this way. But I just want you to consider a couple of things:

First, if good men and women of principle would have stayed involved and engaged in the Republican Party and held the leadership accountable over the last three decades, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

Second, if you leave the Republican Party, you better have a plan for what you ARE going to do. If the Founding Fathers had just held a protest against King George, America would never have existed. It was because they had an actual PLAN for a new country that they were able to succeed. So, if you are going to leave the Republican Party, you better have a plan for what you ARE going to do to save this country.

Lastly, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am looking into what strategies we as conservatives can employ to prevent the liberal media, party bosses, and donors that listen to Karl Rove, from continuing to pick our nominees which they have consistently done in every GOP Presidential Primary since 1984. If THAT is something you are interested in being a part of, then please join the conversation. Giving up and going home IS NOT the answer.


Principled Compromise Or Compromising Principles

Guest Post by Shak Hill

It sounds so nice and lofty to be all about compromising to “get things done” in Richmond or Washington. Republicans are constantly asked if they will compromise on issues. Being a great compromiser seems to be the key characteristic the Media and Democrats want a Republican to have.

In my travels around Virginia, I talk about Republican principles a lot. I offer this example of Compromise versus Principle:

Think about your kitchen. Consider the walls. Look at the color. Many kitchens are bright, which makes the room feel open and welcoming.

“We” could obtain diverse opinions from many people about the color of your kitchen. Every reasonable group of people could arrive at a compromise for the color “we” should paint your kitchen. Some might lean towards mauve, others fuchsia, and still others magenta. No matter the size of the group, in a short time, a vote could be taken and “we” could compromise on the color.

However, the preferred color of your kitchen is not the real question. The question is: Do “we” have the authority to paint your kitchen?

Because the answer is “No!” there’s no ability to ‘compromise’. Even if the group wants a color you can live with, is willing to pay for it, will do an outstanding job and clean up after finished, it doesn’t matter. “We” can’t paint your kitchen, because “we” have no authority to paint your kitchen in the first place.

It is wrong for the government to do something it has no authority to do. Because it’s wrong, there’s no ability to ‘compromise’ and let government do less wrong. Some grey areas of government exist. I get that. But some areas the government participates in now are clearly outside the limits of good government. Government must stop exceeding its limited authority. Recognizing limits is better than the so-called principle of compromise, which serves the Leftist Media, the Democrats and the Establishment on both sides, but not the people.

The Republican Party was born refusing to compromise on slavery. Thank goodness they did not compromise. I wonder what would have been a good compromise on slavery. Many will be free and a few will be slaves? How many? Where? Why? The Missouri Compromise failed, because it violated the principle. There is no compromise on the principle of freedom, so there is no compromise on the issue of slavery.

If the principle is the Free World must win the Cold War, then President Reagan was right to say, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” A compromise would not have worked: If you don’t mind, Mr. Gorbachev, please tear down a piece of the wall and let a few folks visit the West.

If the principle is all human life is precious, then compromises can’t be made to kill when life is inconvenient.

If the principle is America is a nation of laws, then the compromise can’t be – unless you’re here illegally and have lived here for ten years. Not applying laws to illegal immigrants isn’t a compromise. It’s a rejection of the principle.

If the principle is to let the free market economy work, then there is no compromise for the government to dictate a federal minimum wage. The federal government has no authority here.

If the principle is our right to keep and bear arms, then making compromises for universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines, requiring concealed carry permits, etc. is outside the authority of good government.

These compromises violate the principles.

The Virginia Republican Creed demonstrates our principles at the state level, and the Constitution sets our principles at the federal level. If the authority exists to get the government involved, then let’s work together to find a compromise that will advance the majority. If the government has no authority, then let’s stand on principle, as no ability to compromise exists.

Shak at WWII Memorial.

Shak Hill is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

John Kasich: An Experienced Leader

Guest Post by Chester Wynn

Ohio Governor John Kasich is the only viable candidate left in the Republican presidential primary and is the only one of the five remaining Republicans that has experience in the legislature and experience as a chief executive of government.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Kasich led the effort that achieved the last balanced budget of the federal government. He also has more experience in foreign policy than the other candidates, having served on the House Armed Services Committee for 18 years. He is the current two-term Governor of Ohio; and just as he brought conservative economic reform to Washington, he brought conservative economic reform to Ohio. Under his leadership, Ohio went from an $8 billion shortfall to a $2 billion surplus while cutting taxes.

For reasons that I have yet to comprehend; the Governor of Ohio has not connected with conservative primary voters. Kasich is the only candidate with a proven record of conservative economic policies. The campaigns of the other candidates have been successful at bogging down the debate with the rhetoric of conservative principles and values. “I’m the most conservatives because I read the Bible, I do not like immigrants, I do not like abortions,” and so on. It is time for conservatives to wake up. The only two issues a true conservative should consider in voting for any office in the federal government is; 1) Who will limit the federal government and allow the economy to grow? 2) Who will cut taxes and stop wasteful, irresponsible spending? The only answer to these two questions that we know for sure is Kasich.

The definition of conservatism is very narrow when it is applied to the federal government. Do not be distracted by social and moral issues, especially when there is no successful record to back up a candidate’s position. Kasich is the only choice for those who value leadership and experience.

Virginians can turn the tide on Tuesday. Virginians can say no to empty demagoguery and yes to conservatism that works. On Tuesday I will be voting with my wallet, and that is why I am voting for John Kasich for president.


Chester Wynn is an old-time Republican who lives in Winchester, Virginia. 

Fairfax YR Chairman Race: Katie Bell

Guest Post by Katie Bell

Organizing people to come together to unite around conservative principles and to elect Republican candidates has been my life’s work and greatest passion.

In 2011, I worked for a political consultant whose client list that cycle consisted of handling eight different races for Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate. As a result of my proven work ethic, I was afforded the honor of joining Mitt Romney’s field team in Central Florida. This region is the ultimate bellwether region in what is the largest swing state in the country. When I arrived in Florida, I didn’t know a soul. At the conclusion of the campaign, I had assembled a team of 65 consistent volunteers who collectively produced over a quarter of a million voter contacts, via either knocking on doors or making phone calls. Meeting new people and recruiting them to enlist in a cause greater than themselves is a passion of mine. If elected YR Chairman, it is one that I will use to expand membership and grow the party in the Fairfax County area.

In 2013, I entered the world of third-party election efforts. I was a Regional Field Director for Generation Opportunity, an organization dedicated to educating 18-30-year-old voters in issues affecting their daily lives. I was responsible for mentoring students at James Madison University, Liberty University, Virginia Tech, Roanoke College and Radford University. Our focus was garnering voter IDs from their peers, and had the highest numeric results of any region in the Commonwealth. This experience gave me a heart for working with college students as they start their political endeavors. I’m still mentoring some of these incredible young people today.

In the winter of 2014, I volunteered for Matt Ames in his successful race for FCRC chairman. In the last 2 weeks of the 2014 midterm election, I filled in for Braddock’s District chair, overseeing GOTV activities. I organized the first debate watch party, an event that had over 60 attendees. Last year, I volunteered for the campaigns of Sang Yi, John Guevara, and John Cook.

The predominant goal I would like to accomplish is to strengthen the bond between FAYRs and FCRC. If elected, my first motion would be to allow the FAYRs to oversee the high school volunteer program during election season. Fairfax County Public Schools require their high school students complete a significant number of service hours on political campaigns. It would be a huge relief to the Executive Director and an excellent opportunity for parents to gain exposure to FCRC. What better way to recruit new members than to look after and mentor their children? In the past, I have observed high school students being dismissed to go door-knocking with little instruction and more often than not, no adult supervision. This is a practice that needs to be reassessed. I am fully confident the FAYRs can play a vital role in looking after and training our high school volunteers.

If elected, my secondary goal would be to expand the club by engaging in both volunteer and philanthropic opportunities such as furthering the pro-life causes and engaging in organizations which seek to enhance the lives of veterans and their families. I propose we use our club as a means to be actively engaged in our community while also helping to foster a spirit of service and giving back.

I have been endorsed by Fairfax County Republican Committee Chairman Matt Ames, former FAYR Chairman Ben Bush and former FAYR Treasurer Megan Bush. I would be honored to have your support on February 3rd. If you have any questions, then please contact me at 757-448-8203 or

Katie BellKatie Bell is running for Chairman for the Fairfax Area Young Republicans. The election will be held at the next YR monthly meeting, which is this coming Wednesday, February 3rd, at 7:30pm at The Old Firestation #3 located at 3988 University Dr. in the City of Fairfax.


Fairfax YR Chairman Race: Phil Bell

Guest Post by Phil Bell

My name is Phil Bell and I am running to be the next Chairman of the Fairfax Area Young Republicans. I’m running because the past decade has taught us that until we return government to its Constitutional size and scope, we can no longer take politics lightly. What’s more, our Republican organizations have watched Virginia decline from a reliable red state in national elections into a purple state rapidly trending blue.

I’m a life-long entrepreneur and Conservative activist who has volunteered for Republican candidates along the East Coast. I have worked as a staff member to Republican candidates at every level—including Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. My background includes serving as an officer in the Fairfax GOP, Treasurer of the Alexandria Young Republicans, and as a Regional Vice Chair for the Young Republican Federation of Virginia. I have resided in Northern Virginia since 2008 and Fairfax County since 2011.

However, I don’t come to this race out of a desire to just be the leader of a group. I’m in this race because I know the Fairfax Area Young Republicans have the opportunity to lead in electing Republicans and building the Commonwealth into the top state to raise a family, start a business, and live the American Dream. If elected, we WILL seize this opportunity and here’s how:

Great Social Events: We will hold Fairfax YR meetings at Metro-accessible bars and restaurants, which have ample parking, good food, and great atmosphere. What’s more, we will also have joint social events with other Republican organizations throughout the Greater Washington-area. This will help each of us grow our personal and professional networks, while having a great time.

Building The Future: As a Maryland GOP staffer, I helped implement a successful candidate training program that helped both first-time office-seekers and established incumbents to become great candidates. The Fairfax GOP has no such consistent program, so we will leverage the skills within our membership to operate a yearly program that becomes the gold standard for candidate training in all of Virginia.

Getting Out The Vote: As your Chairman, I will make sure we are more than just campaign foot soldiers. We will help turn out Republican votes in difficult areas that most campaigns ignore, which will help all of our candidates by building the Party for the long-haul. We will also implement my plan to turn out up to 5,000 20-40 year-olds in our region to vote for Republican candidates during the 2016 cycle. This will help build our Club and our Party.

Promoting Our Work: We will use every channel available—social media, Internet, print, television, and otherwise to call attention to who we are and the good work we do. Promoting our meetings, activities, and the individual achievements of our members will help us grow our ranks, increase our influence, and accomplish our goals.

I want to hear from you. You can call my cell phone anytime at (201) 602-4934 or email me at Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @ThePhilBell, Instagram @PhilBell4022, and add me as a friend on Facebook.

With your vote for me February 3rd, the Fairfax Area Young Republicans will lead the way to making Virginia great once again!

Phil BellPhil Bell is running for Chairman for the Fairfax Area Young Republicans. The election will be held at the next YR monthly meeting, which is this coming Wednesday, February 3rd, at 7:30pm at The Old Firestation #3 located at 3988 University Dr. in the City of Fairfax.


GOP Plan for Election 2016 in Fairfax

Guest post by Matt Ames

It has been my great privilege to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party in Fairfax County since March of 2014. This blog post lays out my plans for a second term, should I have honor of being re-elected.

We all know that November 8, 2016, is a critical date. We must win the Presidency this year if the nation we know and love is to remain strong and free. Despite the electoral gains our Party has made in recent years, the “progressive” left has achieved too many of its aims. That kind of “progress” must end. When I first ran for this office in 2012, I said that the Democratic Party is a clear and present danger to the national security and the economic prosperity of this country. This is truer today than ever.

The nation needs true reform, based on conservative principles, consistent with our traditions, and aimed at fair, effective and long-lasting solutions to our problems. For that to happen, our Republican candidate for President – whoever it may be – must carry Virginia. A strong and well-led organization in Fairfax will be essential to victory in 2016.

I have the experience, the drive, and the commitment to lead our Party for the next two years.

  • I understand our financial needs and challenges: During my tenure – and with your help — we have raised 40% more money than we did during the previous comparable period (2010-11).
  • As County Chairman, and previously as a precinct captain and District Chairman in a Democratic area – again, with your help — I have met the challenges of grassroots organizing in a difficult environment.
  • And, I have proven that I can lead a complex volunteer organization in a county of over one million residents.

This election offers a tremendous opportunity. We will see an enormous outpouring of volunteer support. We have an excellent leadership team in place, who understand and share my vision. With their help, our Party will channel this new energy where it is needed in 2016, and capture it for future campaigns, including the critical race for Governor in 2017. We cannot just surf the wave – we have to harness it and use its energy to accomplish our goals.

Winning in 2016 will invigorate our Party here in Fairfax and across Virginia, and lay the foundation for future success. Please join me in making sure this happens.

2016 will require a massive effort, even greater than that of 2012. We must do everything we have done before, but bigger and better. We have our weaknesses, but the FCRC is in fact a strong and effective grassroots political organization – we punch above our weight because of the dedication of our grassroots volunteers. This year, we will get bigger and stronger, we will keep punching, and here is how we will do it: Continue reading

Taking the “Bully” out of the “Bully Pulpit”

“You can’t govern by yelling.” This was said on NBC’s Meet the Press this Sunday by New York Times columnist David Brooks in regards to Donald Trump’s perceived un-electability. I believe he meant that you can’t just be a bully to be President.

David Brooks said this as if it was a concrete rule; a rule that was never communicated to our current president, Barack Obama. Obama only governs by yelling. Obama is a bully. Rather than work with the legislative branch, Obama just tells them to do their job. So what is the job of the legislative branch? According to Obama, their job is to pass the budget that Obama wants without concessions or compromises; and for them to stop their efforts to repeal Obamacare. According to our Founders, the job of legislative branch is to be most powerful branch of government and to serve as a check against the power of the presidency. Their job is not to be a rubber stamp for the agenda of the great and powerful O. The power of the executive branch has surpassed that of the legislative. Our nation is now governed by the agenda of one man which occasionally is interrupted by the oligarchy of nine. Congress is now playing third fiddle.

However, I do not blame Obama. This did not just happen over the past six and a half years; instead the process of the evolving power of presidency started long ago. There have been many presidents who have contributed to the expanding powers of the presidency; such as Jackson, FDR, and even Bush 43. The federal government has expanded at an exponential rate since FDR’s New Deal. Entitlement programs and federal enforcement agencies are gargantuan. The role of the legislative branch has not been able to keep pace and is in danger of being left behind.

As a result, you can govern by yelling if you’re the President of the United States. Yelling is easier than compromising with a branch of government that is too weak to stop you anyways. This is why I am not surprised with the success of Trump’s campaign. Until we ask for a candidate that will reduce the power of the presidency to save our democracy, bullies are all we deserve.

obama bully

-Jeff Farmer
Winchester, VA

A Dose of Reality on Debate Night

Thursday night was Opening Night for American politics with over 24 million tuning into Fox News to watch, not one, but two great debates. With such a crowded field picking winners and losers becomes very nuanced. The frontrunner, Donald Trump, claimed to have done no debate prep and it showed. He didn’t strike out but he could have hit some homeruns. Overall, his performance was impressive but he didn’t change the landscape of the race yet. Before we get into the main event let’s discuss the undercard of underdogs, aka the Happy Hour Debate, with the percentage point Presidential hopefuls.


The bottom tier candidates in this debate are beyond impressive with Governors, Senators and a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Unfortunately for most of them, they have reached their political peaks. 2016 is not being as friendly as 2012 was to Rick Santorum or Rick Perry. Governors Pataki and Gilmore are finding the 21st Century isn’t interested in 20th Century ideas or politicians. They all were speaking to an empty arena and it showed.

The most human moment belonged to Senator Lindsey Graham. He talked about losing his parents when he was 21 and 22 which left him alone to raise his little sister. To me, it was heart wrenching to hear the story but also refreshing. Instead of a canned answer we got a candid look at what made a candidate. My respect for the man grew, but he didn’t convince me to give him my vote.

Governor Bobby Jindal did an excellent job of showcasing his wonkish ways. However, wonks rarely win hearts and minds with policy points. The lone woman in the race, Carly Fiorina, did win hearts and minds with her fiery rhetoric and no holds barred attitude. Fox should have brought her back for the 9 o’clock show.


It’s easy to get lost in a crowded field which is exactly what happened to Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker. None of them helped or hurt their chances with their performance. Carson was too polite to be behind a podium. Cruz defended a dictator, which was an interesting approach. Walker was quiet, very quiet.

Thankfully, Rand Paul and Chris Christie got the memo that Thursday night was supposed to be a debate and got into some heated disagreements. Both men illuminated their positions but didn’t seem to win over the crowd. Paul wanted to push buttons and Christie was looking to punch someone in the face. Both men got their wish.

Huckabee had a few head scratchers with his comments regarding the purpose of our military and those freeloading pimps and prostitutes. He did hit the ball out of the park with this gem: “A lot of the B-52s we’re flying, we’ve only got 44 that are in service, combat ready, and the fact is, most of them are older than me. And that’s pretty scary.” I for one appreciate a politician with a sense of humor.

Trump was Trump and Bush bumbled throughout the evening. Kasich and Rubio stole the show. It was a little unfair as Kasich played to the hometown crowd, while Rubio made a strong case for his candidacy. Thankfully, this is only the beginning. The next few months are going to mold a great race.

-By Mick McKeown,

1st GOP debate

Mick McKeown is a creative and resourceful campaign professional who is well versed in contributing to political initiatives and interacting with elected officials. From Pennsylvania, McKeown now lives in Falls Church with his wife and daughter.

Previewing Tonight’s Debate

Tonight at 9:00pm EST, the first of eleven Republican Presidential Candidate debates will be held in Cleveland, Ohio. With the use of current polling data to select only 10 of the 17 Republican candidates to participate, many voters are frustrated that their favorite candidate did not make the cut. Many experienced campaigners have pointed out the failure of polling data to determine who the actual front runners are and how the results in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina have been dramatically different from the polls.

Not included in the top 10 were Carly Fiorina, Gov. Jim Gilmore, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Rick Santorum, and Gov. George Pataki. Fox News has invited these seven candidates to participate in what is being called a “Team-B” forum earlier on Thursday. Some think that it is a mistake for these candidates to accept the invitation because by doing so they are accepting the premise that they are second-tier candidates.

Only two people in the “Team-B” group belong in the top tier in my estimation, namely Carly Fiorina and Gov. Bobby Jindal. Repeatedly, I have been very impressed with Carly’s speaking skills and her ability to articulate the issues, therefore I don’t see her fizzling out early like many of the others will. Of the nine governors running, Bobby Jindal probably has the best conservative record, one that even beats the most popular conservative governor currently, Scott Walker. The more people know about Jindal, the more he will rise in the polls.

Now let us turn our attention toward the 10 candidates that will be taking the stage at 9:00pm tonight. Each of them have their own set of challenges and what I have attempted to outline below is what each candidate must do to win the debate.

Gov. Jeb Bush
His biggest advantage and his biggest handicap is his last name. The big government crony capitalist Republicans love him and have donated generously to his campaign. No doubt, Bush will be the best funded Republican candidate in the race. However the vast majority of the base don’t trust him and are actively engaged in an effort to unite behind one conservative to defeat him. In order for him to win this debate, Bush must win the trust of the Republican base. Unfortunately, he has probably already burnt that bridge.

Dr. Ben Carson
Carson’s biggest advantage is what I like to refer to as the “outsider factor,” which is held only by Carson, Fiorina, and Trump. He is a likable guy who hasn’t been in politics long enough to learn how to talk a lot without saying anything. Up to this point, Carson’s naiveté when it comes to many foreign and domestic political issues has been a problem for him. In order for him to win this debate, he must demonstrate an ability to talk knowledgeably and articulately about the issues on the table.

Gov. Chris Christie
In many ways, Christie has the same problem as Bush. Although he doesn’t come from an American political dynasty, he isn’t trusted by the Republican base. He talks a really good talk and, at one time, had the “Trump factor” because he told it like it was and didn’t sugar coat things. However, all that disappeared when he gave a watered down and pathetic speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention. If the hard-hitting, finger-waving, gutsy (no pun intended) Christie shows up tonight, he could win back some of the base. All he has to do is channel his “inner Trump.”

Sen. Ted Cruz
Not only will he probably be one of the smartest and most articulate debaters, he has this down-to-earth quality that voters look for. More often than not, voters will vote for the guy they would like to have a beer with, not necessarily the guy they agree with the most. More importantly, Cruz has a record to back up his rhetoric which is something that few of the other candidates have. I know many people to whom Cruz is their dream candidate, but they have yet to be convinced that he can win independents and voters who don’t normally vote Republican. To win the debate, Cruz must convince the audience that he can win in the general election.

Gov. Mike Huckabee
Like Rick Santorum, Huckabee is a favorite of the evangelical/social conservative base. Also like Santorum, he has very little support outside of that one portion of the Republican electorate. What he does have is the persona of a favorite uncle with a smiling, down-to-earth charm. In order to win the debate, he must demonstrate an ability to win all the other subgroups within the Republican Party as well as voters who do not have a record of voting Republican.

Gov. John Kasich
If you are like me, you are probably scratching your head trying to figure out why Kasich made the top 10 for this debate. Did half of the people polled live in Ohio? With such a large field of people who already have established national name recognition, Kasich has got to do something just short of extraordinary to set himself apart from the crowd of not just good candidates, but good governors. Polls indicate that most Republican voters want a nominee with executive experience, but in order to win just within that group, Kasich must put himself ahead of the eight other governors who are running. That is a task which, at the moment, seems virtually impossible.

Sen. Rand Paul
There is no disputing that Rand Paul has the lion’s share of the support from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. However, from what I can tell, Rand has virtually no support from evangelicals, social conservatives, Tea Party conservatives, and especially the moderate wing of the party. Also, he has an age issue. I can count on one hand the number of people I know supporting Rand who are over the age of 40. Thats a big problem considering that the average age of the Republican Primary voter is about 65. In order to win this debate, Rand has to diversify his support base and make a strong case why conservatives who don’t identify themselves as libertarian should get behind him.

Sen. Marco Rubio
Although he has been in the U.S. Senate the same length of time as Rand Paul, and even longer than Ted Cruz, Rubio still seems to be too immature to be running for president. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with his age or his boyish face, but listening to him speak has not really inspired me or many people I know to think that he could handle the highest office in the land. Another issue is that, unlike most of the other candidates, he isn’t the standard barer for any one group or cause. In order for him to win the debate, he must convince people that he has the maturity to be President and that he is the champion for a particular cause or group.

Donald Trump
For the moment, this is Trump’s race to lose. He is a dynamic combination of the outspoken Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, outsider Ben Carson, and his own entertainer personality. With Obama and his liberal allies intentionally destroying this country just as fast as they can and a Republican Congress barely tapping the breaks, the hard working, red blooded Americans are ready to explode in anger. As outlandish as some of the things he has said, Trump is channeling their rage against political ruling class of both political parties. Trump wins the debate tonight by not allowing a discussion about his past political stances and continuing to channel the bottled up rage inside so many Americans.

Gov. Scott Walker
Last, but far from least, we come to Gov. Scott Walker. He is one of the few that has captured the enthusiasm of both conservatives and moderates within the Republican Party. However many conservatives are still skeptical since Walker has seemingly been playing it safe on some of the more controversial social issues. Walker’s issue is not that people don’t think that he can win in a general election, but whether or not he is a “change agent” who will take on the Beltway Behemoth and whittle it down to size. If he can convince people in this debate that he is ready for a fight, not just with Democrats and liberals, but with the old guard, big government Republicans in Washington, he could be well on his way to victory.

-Daniel Bradshaw

1st debate

Daniel Bradshaw is chairman of the Prince Edward County Republican Committee, having been elected in 2010 at the age of 18.  He has worked as a Legislative Aide to State Sen. Tom Garret and has worked on several political campaigns including E.W. Jackson’s run for Lt. Governor in 2013. Bradshaw is currently owner and CEO of Appomattox River Landscapes, a property care and landscaping company he started in 2006.