- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2008

HOT SPRINGS, Va. | A day after Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, avoided a challenge to his party leadership, former Gov. James S. Gilmore III — routed in last month’s U.S. Senate race — told Virginia Republicans not to cry for him.

“Feel not sad for me,” the Republican former governor told party activists gathered this weekend for the first time since last month’s historic losses in Virginia.

“I’ve always been around, always going to be around. I’ve been doing this since I was 17 years old. We’ve had our failures and we’ve had our successes,” Mr. Gilmore said Saturday. Mr. Gilmore managed barely one-third of the vote in losing to Democrat Mark Warner, his nemesis and his successor as governor.

Friday night, Mr. Frederick, who represents Prince William County, averted an effort to replace him after the disastrous election, but party leaders spurned a conservative litmus test he proposed for candidates.

A 22-point “Statement of Principles and Policies” that Mr. Frederick circulated Monday was shot down by the state Republican Party’s Executive Committee, said two people who were in the meeting. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the committee meeting that’s part of the annual Republican Advance gathering was private.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document, which called for standard GOP ideals such as a strong military, minimal taxes, support for gun rights, a restrained judiciary and limited government.

But other provisions would define marriage as “the union of one natural man with one natural woman” and advocates English as the official language of the United States.

Mr. Frederick entered the annual winter Republican meeting with sentiment for his removal strong among many senior party activists and members of its ruling central committee.

His detractors, however, lacked the three-fourths vote necessary within the central committee to remove him, and the issue was never raised, committee members said. But rejection of the new principles he proposed served as a message to the sometimes combative 33-year-old delegate, who is among the state’s most conservative lawmakers.

Mr. Frederick, a Hispanic, won the chairman’s post overwhelmingly at the state Republican Convention last spring, ousting former Lt. Gov. John H. Hager.

But resentment among Republicans who backed Mr. Hager has lingered since the convention, and this year’s campaign also reflected poorly on Mr. Frederick.

“It’s still early in the game for him and I’m not going to pass judgment, but he’s off to a bad start,” said Tom Van Aucken, a longtime Republican from Richmond who was not on the committee but was attending the gathering at the Homestead Resort.

In remarks later to the party’s central committee, Mr. Frederick broadly addressed the schism and called for unity.

“I hope y’all are committed to coming together. We can spend a bunch of time fighting - we’re really good at that. We’re really, really good at that. But if we can put that aside, we’ll succeed,” he said.

Mr. Gilmore’s loss was the most lopsided in an election that cost Virginia Republicans three U.S. House seats, the Senate seat John W. Warner held secure since 1978, and the 13 electoral votes the state had given Republicans for 10 presidential elections in a row.

Mr. Gilmore said he will remain involved by continuing to raise money for conservative and anti-tax Republicans in his mold through a new political action committee.

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