Republicans from the 9th Congressional District gathered yesterday in Wytheville to hold their 2016 GOP Convention. The event drew national attention because it was the first in Virginia held for the purpose of electing delegates to the Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland, Ohio in July, and the outcome of those elections could play an important role in the nominating process.
The stated purposes of the convention were to elect the Chairman of the 9th Congressional District Republican Committee; to elect three (3) members of the State Central Committee; to elect three (3) delegates and three (3) alternate delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland, Ohio (or its alternate site) from July 18 – 21, 2016: and to nominate one (1) elector to represent Virginia’s 9th Congressional District in the 2016 Electoral College.
The convention delegates chose former Del. Dave Nutter of Blacksburg as Chairman of the Convention. Congressman Morgan Griffith gave the opening remarks. Delegates also heard from the three Republican candidates for Attorney General as well as Republican members of the General Assembly.
Adam Tolbert of Smyth County was re-elected as 9th District Chairman, John Sorenson of Bristol was picked to serve in the Electoral College. Susan Edwards of Roanoke, Michelle Jenkins of Gate City, and Wise County native Corey Scott were elected to the State Central Committee.
The Convention chose between sixteen candidates to fill 3 Delegate positions and 3 Alternate positions for the Republican National Convention. This election has drawn national attention because the 9th District was the first in Virginia to elect their delegates, and it will be these delegates who will decide the eventual Republican nominee if neither Presidential candidate reaches the 1,237 number required to win outright.
Convention delegates are bound to vote according to the results of the Presidential primary on the first ballot, but according to GOP rules, they are unbound on subsequent votes. Some of the candidates for these Delegate positions committed to voting for Trump on all ballots while others committed to switching their votes to Cruz. The outcome is seen as a test of each candidate’s support among GOP members, especially in states like Virginia who have open primaries which allow independents and even Democrats to vote in Republican primaries.
Delegates at the 9th District Convention voted for six of the sixteen candidates, and the winners were chosen from the top vote-getters. Cruz won the top two Delegate spots with Kyle Kilgore and Jordan Labiosa, and Trump picked up the third Delegate with Tucker Davis. A Cruz delegate also won the top Alternate spot with Robert Taconett, and Trump delegates Flux Neo and Tamara Neo took the other two positions.
The Republican Party of Virginia will hold the state convention in Harrisonburg on April 29th and 30th.
NRV Republicans Receive Awards
In addition to the voting that went on, the 9th District Republican Committee presented 3 awards to recognize the contributions of 9th District Republicans who have contributed to making the party successful. Floyd County was recognized as the Unit Committee of the Year for 2015, Mae Midkiff of Giles County was named Unit Committee Chair of the Year for 2015, and James Willis of Montgomery County was named Volunteer of the Year for 2015.
More photos from the Convention: