Shak is an Air Force Veteran so he knows how to fight and he has a Master’s degree in finance so he knows how to control money. And Shak Hill is the only Conservative running in this race.
And just to be clear, Shak Hill has Virginia Right’s endorsement based on his own merit. But what made this a really easy decision was a 2007 scandal that involved Hill’s primary opponent Ed Gillespie. What we look for in a candidate is someone who is interested in being elected to represent the voters, not someone interested in amassing power.
And for those that do not remember the 2007 scandal, I will recap the events.
But let me point out, this is all water under the bridge. Exactly what involvement several of the parties had is only relevant in that it shows the character of the individuals involved. And Gillespie’s involvement boils down to whom you believe in a private conversation between Gillespie and then Virginia Senate candidate Mark Tate.
I will simply lay out the facts in brief of the scandal and let you decide if you care to read the accounts in the links below, which include court documents.
What I believe happened, based on the facts, court documents and news accounts and a conversation with Mark Tate yesterday evening is that in the Senate primary race between Mark Tate and Jill Vogel was tight. Tate said his internal polling indicated a dead heat. Tate received several calls from prominent Republicans urging him to drop out of the race. Tate said he had not yet begun sending out mailers while Vogel had sent several and the race was still a tie. Tate told me he believed that he could win the primary.
And that’s when the “fun” begins.
According to liberal blogger Ben Tribbett, The Republican Party of Virginia’s Communications Director Shaun Kenney, presently the Executive Director of the RPV, called Tribbett and “let it slip” that Mark Tate was about to be indicted. A clip from the Washington Post shows:
“[Kenney] said, ‘By the way, did you know Mark Tate was going to be indicted?’ And he gave me the date,” said Tribbett, a Democratic activist whose freewheeling blog style has upset many politicians in both parties.
On May 21, three weeks before the June 12 primary, the grand jury indicted Tate on two counts of election fraud and nine counts of perjury in a case that has deepened fissures in the party and raised questions about whether it can maintain its majority in the state Senate.
How was that for timing? 3 weeks before the primary? I don’t believe in coincidences.
Kenney initially denied tipping off Tribbett, but in what Tate said may have been Kenney’s conscience taking over, he later admitted that he had tipped off Tribbett. Which cams after Tate’s lawyer told Kenney he planned to issue a subpoena to Kenney. Read this account:
Tribbett also said that Ed Gillespie, who was the head of the RPV at the time, and Kenney’s boss, knew about the indictment.
Blogger Ben Tribbett tells the Washington Post that he was told about indictments against candidate Mark D. Tate before they were released. In a timeline on his blog, he implies Gillespie, who supports Tate’s opponent, also knew of the indictments in advance.
And there were allegations that Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman, a Vogel supporter claimed he received information from the State Board of Elections that something was amis with the Tate campaign finances, so he obtained a subpoena for Tate’s records.
The allegations add another layer of intrigue to the case because of its timing and because Holtzman Vogel supporters were instrumental in pushing through the indictments. It was a volunteer for her campaign who first took the case to Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman. Plowman is a Holtzman Vogel supporter. Holtzman Vogel was named chief counsel of the Republican National Committee in 2004, when the party chairman was Ed Gillespie. Gillespie now heads the Virginia GOP, and Kenney works for him.
And it gets worse and worse.
And according to Mark Tate in our conversation last night, Ed Gillespie called Tate and told him that if he drops out of the race, all this can just go away.
Of course that is Tate’s word against Gillespie, but the allegations are very troubling.
Well, with all the negative publicity, Vogel won the primary and Mark Tate was left with a mess.
He spent a lot of time and money trying to clear his name. His attorney issued subpoena’s to the prosecutor Plowman and almost everyone else involved. The head of the State Board of Elections was a witness for Tate and planned to testify that he did not raise concerns that led to the initial record subpoena and the indictment. And the judge granted the subpoenas for testimony requested by Tate’s attorney which was somewhat unusual, but caused the prosecutor to offer a plea deal.
Tate wanted to clear his name completely, but financially, the cost was going to be high. And he faced years in jail if convicted.
The offer he received dropped all of the charges except for filing a financial form late, something Tate had already paid a fine for and, was, late. So he was convicted of a misdemeanor for a late filing.
Tate said he is pretty sure he is the only person in Virginia to actually have a conviction for filing an election form late. Usually, you pay a fine and that is that.
So when the Vogel supporters who started this thing, including Kenney who tipped Tribbett received subpoenas, the charges were dropped.
Ed Gillespie was by then working for George W. Bush and would have likely taken Executive Privilege and avoided testimony.
Whatever happened, Tate was exonerated as far as I am concerned, and I have no doubt that the Gillespie machine that wanted Vogel elected played a part in a dirty and underhanded affair in their quest for power. And I want no parts of anyone like that.
And the fact that Ben Tribbett was involved, and the Washington Post, means that should Ed Gillespie prevail at the Convention, this will be the Macaca story of the 2014 election campaign.
And no matter who actually did what, Ed Gillespie will be toast.
And despite spending millions of dollars, Mark Warner will remain Virginia’s senior US Senator.
Ed Gillespie is simply an unelectable political insider.
There is a lot more to this story. And if you want to know all the details, here are the links. And when you are done reading this, if you can still consider voting for Ed Gillespie after what this “gang” did to Mark Tate, you are part of the problem.