The Charlottesville and Albemarle County Republican committees met jointly in a McIntire Park pavilion for food and camaraderie last evening, with a few minutes set aside for party business.
The Charlottesville GOP Committee elected attorney Charles "Buddy" Weber as its new chair, succeeding Bob Hodous, who stepped down after six years in the job. Buddy is currently serving as a member of the task force, appointed by Mayor David Brown, looking into how best to elect the city School Board (at-large, mixed wards and at-large, all wards, something else?).
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling visited from Richmond. Other elected officials at the meeting were Charlottesville City Councilor Rob Schilling and Delegate Rob Bell (R-58th). Fifth Congressional District GOP Chairman Tucker Watkins also visited and stayed well past the time most people had left. (A small group of us stuck around to chat until after 9:00 p.m.)
In Bolling's brief remarks, he told the crowd that there were three important things we had to do on Election Day in November: (1) vote to approve the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and private contracts between same-sex couples; (2) vote to re-elect George Allen to the U.S. Senate; and (3) vote to re-elect Virgil Goode to the U.S. House of Representatives. Of the three, only voting for George Allen was met with enthusiastic applause; the amendment was met with utter silence, while Goode's name received polite murmurings of approval.
The audience greeted Tucker Watkins with a hearty laugh when he presented the new party chairman, Buddy Weber, with a baseball cap from the 2004 election, emblazoned with the phrase, "Goode Smokes Weed," referring to Virgil Goode's overwhelming victory over Al Weed that year. (Weed is also Goode's opponent this year.)
The Albemarle County GOP Committee took care of a few routine business matters, but the bulk of the evening was dedicated to celebration and socializing.
Here are a few pictures I took before the sun went down:
WINA Radio has a short report on the Republican gathering here; WCAV-TV covers it here; and Bob Gibson talks about the "white smoke over Richmond" (i.e., news of a long-awaited General Assembly budget deal, Topic A at the GOP picnic) at this morning's Daily Progress.