Published in the Lynchburg Ledger on November 12, 2010
By Bill Wheaton
Press Media Group, LLC
The day after the election, President Barack Obama held a news conference admitting the Democrats took a "shellacking" on Election Day. They did indeed, losing at least 63 House seats, three of which were here in
Also taking a "shellacking” was Republican Rick Boyer, who ran for the Clerk of Court in
. Boyer’s "shellacking" was even greater than the Democrat’s when you consider all the facts. Campbell County
By way of an introduction, a vacancy occurred in the Clerk’s office when the former Clerk retired.
Sheila Bosiger was appointed Interim Clerk by the Court, being the Chief Assistant Deputy. Seeking to retain her position, she entered the political process.
With the ink on his
diploma barely dry, Rick Boyer entered the race in search of a paycheck and political power. He managed to secure the Republican Party nomination for Clerk after his hand-picked party chairman violated the party bylaws in calling a special meeting. Boyer then flooded the ensuing nominating meeting with people from his church. Liberty University Law School
This set up a classic David and Goliath confrontation between politically savvy Boyer and political neophyte Bosiger.
Boyer has been involved in politics since he was a teenager and is a political veteran, having won the Sunburst District Supervisor election in 2003. He had many political contacts, many political IOU’s to call in, knew how to run a campaign, had access to funding and had the backing of the local Republican Party.
He was “shellacked” by a candidate who up to two months ago had never engaged politics except to vote.
Sheila Bosiger had no political experience and no idea how to run a campaign.
A number of prominent Republicans broke with the party to support Bosiger, putting their own political futures at risk. They did so for two very important reasons.
First, they knew
Sheila Bosiger was the only person qualified for the job of Clerk. Boyer’s law degree was irrelevant as of the 120 Clerks of the Court in , only two have law degrees. Virginia
Second and most important, they knew Rick Boyer and his insatiable quest for political power. They knew he would use the Clerk’s office as a political power base. This was confirmed for me on Election Day when I overheard a boisterous Boyer supporter bragging that after the election they would “put a padlock on Rustburg,” meaning they were planning a political takeover of the county in next year’s election.
Boyer was free to campaign unrestricted by the constraints of employment. He sought endorsements from within
, but not one single current or former elected official would support him, especially those who served with him on the Board. They all knew him to be unqualified. All Boyer’s political endorsements came from outside the county. Campbell County
Bosiger was endorsed by 19 current and former county elected officials.
On Election Day, I was one of the many Bosiger poll workers and had an opportunity to talk to the voters. The comments I got fell into three categories. Some asked if Sheila was the one who was the current Clerk. They saw no reason to change.
Some asked about the unethical political tactics used to get Boyer the Republican nomination.
The sentiments of most were best expressed by a local pastor who said, “We have to make sure this dufus is not elected to anything.”
When the votes were tallied, it was clear that David had once again slain Goliath. In spite of a last minute sign and media blitz by Boyer,
Sheila Bosiger defeated him in a landslide with a vote count of 10,064 (55.31%) to 6,075 (33.39%). The key to the win was that more than half of the Republican Robert Hurt voters broke and did not vote the party line for Boyer. This is significant because the Republican poll workers were not supporting Robert Hurt , only Boyer.
Bosiger won 17 out of 18 precincts showing strong county-wide support. Boyer won only one with barely over 50 percent of the vote. In his worst precinct Boyer pulled only 13 percent of the vote, indicating no county-wide support. The county produced the highest percentage vote for Hurt in the 5th District but Boyer received just 308 more votes than looser Democrat Perriello.
With a blowout of this magnitude, it is clear that the county has resoundingly rejected Rick Boyer. The many political enemies he has made over the years came back to haunt him. With this humiliating defeat, the voters of Campbell County have declared Rick Boyer politically dead.
Not only is he politically dead, but he is also politically toxic. Any candidate whose name is mentioned in the same sentence with Boyer will be contaminated.
The Campbell County Republican Party is on life support. With such a tremendous effort expended against a political novice and to be humiliated to this extent, their credibility as a political party has been destroyed. After suffering a humiliating defeat of this magnitude, it is customary for the leadership to resign. .
I had warned party officials, such as 5th District Chairman Bill Stanley and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that Boyer would destroy the local party. They did not believe me then, perhaps they will now. If the Campbell County Republican Party is to recover, it must distance itself from Rick Boyer, abandon its corrupt practices, adhere to its own bylaws and reorganize under new leadership.