In the aftermath of losing at least two of three statewide offices in November, the Virginia Republican activists assembled for their annual advance. This event is a chance for the GOP to look at what worked, what didn’t, and where things go from here. Some would call that a retreat but for some reason the Republicans in Virginia like to call this an advance.
Maybe there are signs that some people learned there lesson, because Sue Allen (wife of former Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen) spoke on the need for the party to be more welcoming of people who are pro-choice and for gay marriage. Of course at the same time E.W. Jackson (Lt. Governor nominee who lost convincingly and said Planned Parenthood has done more harm to black people than the KKK) was calling for the party to stand strong on its opposition to gay marriage and abortion.
A big question is what does Allen mean? Does she want the party to change its policies or just not call people who support abortion right baby killers? That is the real question. Some cosmetic changes on language and message delivery can help when you have the other party nominate a weak candidate (Governor-elect McAuliffe rings a bell) but it doesn’t seem to be enough if you face a stronger opponent (i.e. Mark Warner) .
This decision on which way to go forward is not just important for the party in Virginia. Remember Virginia is now a swing state so how the party moves forward in the Old Dominion will say a great deal about the party goes nationally.