The "Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee," commonly known as the "Greenbrier GOP," convened for its monthly meeting last Thursday, during which the committee controversially endorsed Patrick Via for Circuit Court. This marked a notable departure from the committee's historical practice of refraining from involvement in primary elections.
Under the leadership of Chairman Ben Anderson, a troubling pattern has emerged. The executive committee's recent inclination to endorse candidates prior to primary elections raises concerns about fairness within the party. This departure from tradition was evident during the 2022 Republican primary when the committee endorsed candidates such as Senator Vince Deeds and Mike Honker for House of Delegates, sidelining potential Republican contenders and raising questions about the misuse of power and resources, thereby undermining the integrity of the electoral process.
This issue came to a head during a public showdown at the Executive Committee, where established party rules and bylaws were blatantly ignored. The situation further deteriorated during the 2022 general election, with reports of numerous campaign law violations. Democrat Executive Committee Chairman Paul Detch expressed frustration over these violations, shedding light on a worrisome trend within the GOP.
Even within the party itself, concerns have been acknowledged. The "Greenbriar County Republican Club," known for its neutrality in primary elections as outlined in its bylaws, underwent changes earlier this year due to the Executive Committee's actions. Previously committed to remaining impartial, the club altered its bylaws in response to the confrontations of 2022.
Club President Gordon Campbell has consistently emphasized the importance of neutrality, emphasizing that elections should be decided by the voters. However, a stark contrast exists within the Republican Executive Committee, where increased involvement in primary elections has become a growing trend. Many Republicans are now expressing their apprehension about the committee's interference, fearing that donor funds may be directed towards influencing primary outcomes.
This potential shift in the use of donor money has raised alarms, sparking concerns about a financial clash between the Executive Committee and the Republican Club. Such a scenario could result in the wasteful expenditure of thousands of dollars, resources that could be better utilized in general elections. This situation has not gone unnoticed by Democrats, who find amusement in the internal strife within the Republican ranks. As the Greenbrier GOP faces these internal challenges, it remains to be seen how the party will address these concerns and uphold the principles of fair and transparent elections.