Leaders of the Republican Party of Virginia are asking Chairman Jeff Frederick to resign or face ouster at the party’s State Central Committee meeting next month.
“I think it’s something that has to be remedied, and remedies have to take place,” said Michael Wade, chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Committee.
Mr. Frederick said Thursday afternoon that he is not going down without a fight and has the votes to stay in his position. At a meeting of the group’s governing body April 4, a three-fourths majority vote could remove him.
“I will not retreat from the commitment I made to the core of our party who clearly and unmistakably expressed their will at last May’s convention,” he said. “I have every intention of continuing as chairman and completing my term in May 2012.”
Mr. Frederick was elected to the leadership position at the state party’s convention last year in Richmond by defeating former chairman and moderate party member John H. Hager after a bitter and divisive contest.
The 33-year-old, who announced last month that he would not run for a fourth term as a Prince William County representative in the House, pledged to rebuild and mobilize a state party struggling to stem Democratic gains.
Under his leadership, however, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1964; former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, won the seat of a retiring Republican; and Democrats reversed the Republican majority among the state’s congressional delegation in November elections.
Mr. Frederick was criticized during the presidential campaign for saying Mr. Obama and Osama bin Laden “both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.”
Former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, the party’s lone candidate in a crucial governor’s race this year, called the turmoil among Virginia Republicans “an internal party matter.”
But he implied his support for a change in leadership as elections approach. In November, Virginia will hold one of two gubernatorial contests in the country this year and all 100 members of the state House come up for re-election.
“It is clear to me, after hearing from Republican leaders across the state, that as we move forward with our campaign, as well as the other statewide and House of Delegates races, it would be helpful for the Republican Party of Virginia to have more effective leadership in this pivotal year,” he said.
Mr. Frederick said he received a letter Wednesday notifying him about the meeting regarding his chairmanship.
More than 75 percent of the GOP committee’s roughly 76 voting members have signed correspondence calling on Mr. Frederick to be removed from the chairmanship, a source said.
Gary C. Byler, chairman of the 2nd Congressional District Republican Committee, said he is one of about 18 committee members who have not signed on in support of Mr. Frederick’s removal.
“I was taught loyalty to the chair and that the chair is entitled to a significant amount of deference,” he said. “None of the accusations that I have seen to date come to the level of requiring the impeachment of the duly elected chairman.”
Mr. Frederick survived a movement calling for his ouster in December at the party’s annual retreat in Hot Springs, Va., and said Thursday that he is “proud of the work we’ve accomplished in just nine months.”
“I have the commitments necessary to win the vote on April 4, and will fulfill my term and the commitment to the people who entrusted me to lead our party back to victory,” he said.