- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2009

RICHMOND | Senior Republicans in the Virginia Senate on Tuesday joined the call for Delegate Jeff Frederick’s ouster as state party chairman next month.

The six Senate Republican leaders signed a letter to the party’s first vice chairman, Michael Thomas, endorsing a memo signed last week by a majority of the state party’s central committee seeking Mr. Frederick’s dismissal.

Fifty-eight of the committee’s 77 members either signed a memo detailing reasons for Mr. Frederick’s removal or wrote separate letters in support of it. Mr. Frederick, Prince William Republican, was notified last week about the scheduled April 4 ouster vote.

Mr. Frederick pledged a vigorous fight to retain his post through the end of his term in 2012, saying he has deep support among party members and predicting he would prevail.

Mr. Frederick last month announced that he will not seek a fourth House term and would work full time as party chairman.

He was elected as chairman roughly nine months ago. In the November elections, Democrats took three congressional seats held by Republicans, once the state’s dominant party and elected a Democratic president for the first time in 44 years. Democrats also have both U.S. Senate seats.

Mr. Frederick’s position was weakened last fall when he angered Democrats and dismayed Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign with an offhand comparison of Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden.

Last month, he infuriated state Senate Republicans when a 22-word post he made on the blogging platform Twitter.com was blamed for exposing a secret Senate Republican bid to persuade Democratic Sen. Ralph S. Northam, Norfolk Democrat, to caucus with the Republicans, a coup that would have erased the Democrats’ one-seat Senate majority.

The letter’s six signers are Senate Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Minority Leader pro tem Kenneth W. Stolle, Senate Republican leader emeritus Walter A. Stosch, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Steve Newman and Senate Republican whips Mark Obenshain and Frank Wagner.

Mr. Frederick’s ouster is not a cinch. If all 77 of the central committee’s members attend the April 4 showdown, the 58 who committed in writing to his firing represent the minimum 75 percent vote the party’s rules require to remove a chairman. One vote less and the ouster would fail.

In 1993, having just led a downtrodden Republican Party back to power with a victory in the governor’s race, a popular Gov.-elect George Allen tried to oust Patrick McSweeney, the state party chairman at the time, but missed by seven votes.

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