In Defense of Kate Griffin
In the wake of Jerry Kilgore's loss at the polls last month, as well as the loss of a couple seats in the House of Delegates, there has been some understandable finger-pointing going on within the GOP about who is to blame for these setbacks. Some have suggested that our party chairman, Kate Obenshain Griffin, is responsible and have gone so far as to call for her ouster. I feel that these calls are grossly misguided for a number of reasons.
First of all, Kate has performed admirably under an extremely difficult set of circumstances. Kate was brought in to run the party in the wake of the eavesdropping scandal that cost Gary Thomson, Ed Matracardi and others their jobs and cost RPV $950,000 in a settlement that doesn't include legal fees, court costs and the like. Since that time, Kate has rallied the party faithful, brought major donors back to the table and allowed us to remain competitive despite the type of setback that would kill a weaker organization. Thus, we need to remember what a precarious situation she was brought into.
Secondly, Kate has the support of our party leaders. You'll remember it was George Allen and Jerry Kilgore who turned to Kate in the first place and asked her to serve. No one would have blamed Kate for saying "no thanks" and staying in
Finally, Kate is a powerful voice for the Virginia Republican Party. Not only does her name resonate with Virginians, but she has also been a forceful advocate for the VA GOP. In 2004 Kate served on the platform committee at the National Convention and she also was one of the GOP's most outspoken critics of Mark Warner's proposed tax increase at a time when many Republicans were unwilling to do so. There is no doubt that the budget debate put a tremendous strain on our Party, but thanks in part to Kate's strong leadership, we maintain control in the General Assembly and will likely hold two of the three statewide offices. For those who wish to claim that Kate was not hardline enough against those in our party who supported the tax raise, you are not in possession of the facts. She was outspokenly against those tax hikes at the risk of losing support of members of her party who were of not as strong a conviction.
Certainly the Chair of the Party organization takes some responsibility for our losses, and I believe Kate has accepted that. However, I also feel that replacing her at this time would be foolish and premature. Frankly, our Party fared pretty well in a very difficult political atmosphere this year. If we continue to lose ground in '06 and '07 then a change may be necessary, but as of now I am very proud to have Kate Obenshain Griffin representing our Party and I firmly believe she is the best person to continue to do so for the forseeable future.