After the convention ended today, John Gray came up to talk to me while I was picking up papers and trash. He knew I was a Corey supporter because I had a Corey sticker. He also knew I was a blogger.
In fact, he knew I had had back problems as well, because he asked me how I was doing. I thought that was a nice thing for him to do. I don't need people to ask about me, and I look perfectly fine (just like a normal fat old guy), but it was nice that he asked.
He also wanted to set the record straight about his republican credentials. Now, I have not been attacking his republican credentials, so far as I can tell. I mentioned that the newspaper forgot to tell us his "primary loss" was in the democrat primary, but other than that I've been pretty quiet about him, mostly because I didn't remember meeting him and I didn't know him. I think I said that in a comment on a blog somewhere.
But anyway, he believed it was important to let me know that he had been a republican for years, had a good record of supporting republicans, and that his run for the democrat nomination in 2003 was a "stupid mistake".
I believe him. Of course, I tend to believe people that tell me things to my face, because I'm a pretty trusting guy. But if I had to justify my belief, I would use this argument: First, he sounded sincere to me. Second, he sought me out to talk to me, he wasn't trying an answer an argument. Third, this was after the convention -- he had no reason at that point to try to deceive me about his credentials as a republican.
I believe that, too often, we use labels to pigeon-hole people because it is easier than making hard, detailed judgments. For those who didn't want to vote for Gray, it was easy to say "He ran as a democrat in 2003". And it was true.
He may also be a "RINO" by somebody's definition, but his platform, while not what I would support in full, did not sound like a democrat platform dressed up in republican words. Of course, I've never considered Sean a RINO, so I probably don't count for those who make those judgments.
In fact, I'm certain that I could have supported John enthusiastically for the chair position had he won, even though I would have pressured him to modify his position on a few issues.
Most interesting was that, while he spent a lot of time talking about being the continuation of Sean, and saying we were on the right track and we shouldn't change direction, his comments about budgeting sounded like he would adopt a different strategy than that of Sean (who had the staff baseline a budget assuming large tax increases).
But enough about his platform. John also gave a nice concession speech, and it at least sounded like John and Corey were ready to work together to keep the chair in republican hands. Given how well the county is doing, and how satisfied most people are with the current direction, I see no reason for voters to want to throw out the republicans and put a democrat in, especially one whose legacy is from the Seefeldt era, when we had so many problems, and when some of the bad zoning decisions which still haunt us today were made.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed talking with John Gray, and I hope to get to talk to him again at future PWC meetings. And I look forward to a unified Republican Party working our butts off to re-elect Frank Wolf (who gave a really good speech about terrorism, more animated than usual for him -- he usually isn't the most dynamic speaker), Tom Davis (who was also at the convention for a while, and gave a very SHORT speech which was well-appreciated), Jo-Ann Davis (does her district still contain any of prince william?), Jackson Miller, and of course Corey Stewart.