As many of you know, on Monday afternoon there was a conference call with iCaucus national and regional leadership, TEA Party and 912 groups from around the 11th District, and Mark Meadows and Vance Patterson, our two leading candidates heading towards a run-off in the 11th Congressional District.
iCaucus Background: Central to iCaucus are qualities of personal accountability and transparency of candidates seeking endorsements, as well as alignment with the basics of smaller government, less taxes, adherence to the Constitution, etc….
The purpose of Monday’s conference call was to lay our cards on the table and discuss the 800-pound elephants in the room.
- How do we get through this run-off without cannibalizing other Republicans and giving the Democrats ample ammunition against us in November?
- How can all these groups (TEA, 912, and GOP) get through the run-off and remain friends, so we can ALL work together for the nominee in the General Election? And even more importantly, how do we keep everyone invested in the political process through the General Election in November, so they don’t leave the political process?
- What role would the iCaucus vetting and endorsing process play in the run-off?
- The biggie for many of us: Which candidate has the support and the money to get them selves across the finish line in November against a very well funded Democrat, Hayden Rogers?
Dara Bailey (iCaucus national vetting director) and Jane Bilello (iCaucus CQQ coordinator and Asheville TEA Party president) started the discussion by preaching the necessity of remaining unified through the election cycle, so that Democrats don’t defeat us in the fall. Their worries are that supporters on the losing side of the Republican run-off will become disenfranchised and not even vote at all in November. Also trying to avoid Jeff Miller / Dr. Dan drama, by having both candidates promise to support the other candidate after the run-off. Both candidates responded with an unqualified “yes.”
One group leader detailed the vote totals in 11th District Congressional primary:
- Meadows (R) 37.83 %, and earned 35,733 votes district wide
- Patterson (R) 23.61%, and earned 22,306 votes district wide
- Rogers (D) 55.73%, and earned 35,518 votes district wide
The same group leader further pointed out that Meadows earned more votes than the Democrat primary winner showing Meadows has strong support. (There’s more….)
During the call, it was stressed that there was an iCaucus endorsement tie months ago with each candidate getting an even 40% of the votes from affiliate group members. Discussion moved towards having another iCaucus vote to endorse one of these two candidates. Responses were mixed. Some wanted another vote, some wanted to let the tied endorsement ride and endorse the winner of the run-off. One comment was “if we don’t endorse one of these men, then we’re just… vanilla.”
We all agreed that much of the candidates’ positions are the same and the 11th District would be lucky to have either represent us. But clearly only one would win the run-off and face the Democrat. Who? How would the iCaucus vetting and endorsing process play a role in the run-off?
Vance Patterson was on webcam for the entire 1.5-hour conference call. His body language and facial expressions were “colorful”, complete with eye-rolling, huffs and sighs, slapping the desk, spinning around in his chair, ripping his glasses off, turning to the side and not looking at the camera anymore when he didn’t like what was being said. I’ve never seen a candidate act like that at meetings or forums in public, maybe he didn’t realize we could really see him on the webcam.
Vance also said he didn’t want another iCaucus vote by paper ballots at meetings, because he didn’t think some would return ballots marked for him. Dara interrupted Vance and chastised him for attempting to cause trouble between the affiliate groups in the 11th District by calling into question anyone’s integrity without cause.
Vance’s tone throughout the call was shockingly arrogant and angry. He interrupted and didn’t answer any questions to many of our satisfaction. His answers, if one could call them answers, were arguments, deflections, and accusations.
He took no responsibility for his campaign, like when I asked him about fundraising. I explained that it was going to take money to defeat Hayden Rogers (D) in November. Hayden out fundraised Vance 42:1. Did you read that? *** 42:1 *** For every $1 Vance raised, Hayden raised $42. Hayden out fundraised Meadows 2:1, that 2:1 margin is enough of a challenge, but 42:1 is not even in the same political league. I detailed that Vance has raised $7,431 to Hayden’s $316,264 in the category of reportable Individual Contributions and PAC money, according to the latest FEC filings, public information (http://fec.gov/disclosurehs/hsnational.do?cf=hs_elec). (Click for clear image below.)
Vance has self-funded his campaign, mortgaged his house, and says he’s not going to ask anyone for money. I asked Vance if he had another $1 million to $1.2 million to fully fund his campaign? That’s when it got really ugly and he deflected the question to “the founding father’s rolling over in their graves for making this election about money.” He also said “This election is not about defeating Hayden Roger’s! It’s about America!” To which the phone call erupted in “YES IT IS ABOUT BEATING HAYDEN!” We tried to make Vance understand that if you can’t get elected first, then you can’t help America. He seemed too angry to hear us. My question was just a straight forward, honest question about his campaign against a very strong and well funded Democrat.
And so as not to give all the attention to the bad behavior, Mark Meadows was open and understanding to our concerns, listened, didn’t interrupt anyone, and offered positive comments to the conversation.
When asked directly, Meadows agreed to keep the campaign positive and constructive. When Vance was asked the same question, he said almost sarcastically he promised, but out of nowhere claimed “the attacks had already started against him.” (He was given a pass and the comment was left unchallenged. But I think those comments were aimed at me for my recent questions asked on facebook about some of his campaign positions. I have been harassed by a member of Vance’s staff for merely asking questions and then strangely called a liar for asking same questions.)
After the call, I wondered about his level of accountability if he should take office. I wondered if he will be transparent in office, or will he block questions. If questions about campaign positions and campaign finances sends Vance over the edge now, what will his attitude be in office when he must participate in monthly iCaucus conference calls about pending and passed legislation? If recent behavior is any indication of future behavior, I’m not sure he will be as accountable and transparent once in office as we hope.