By James Stringfield
Mark Lloyd has endorsed a candidate for the 5th Congressional District Republican nomination, but in his endorsement he did not make it crystal clear whether his endorsement comes as an individual or as leader of the Lynchburg Tea Party. I have heard it said plainly and often from leaders and participants in the Lynchburg Tea Party that the one thing we have going for us as conservatives and as Patriots is that we have on our side the one essential characteristic before which all other principles and slogans must bow – truth. Seeing that Mark has made an endorsement of a candidate for the 5th District Republican congressional nomination, and in so doing has invoked his position as leader of the local Lynchburg Tea Party and as Vice-Chairman of the VFTPP, I would expect him in his endorsement to state clearly and uncategorically (to clear any misunderstanding) that his endorsement comes not from him as chairman of the Lynchburg Tea Party but from him as an individual. Approximately half of the Lynchburg Tea Party does not share in Mark’s endorsement and this fact needs to be made abundantly clear.
Of Truth: In his endorsement Mark Lloyd states he spent one day with Jim McKelvey traveling the 5th District. In the interest of truth, I think it incumbent upon Mark to disclose to readers of the blog and all other interested persons the actual amount of time he has spent with Jim McKelvey: grooming McKelvey, training McKelvey, making contacts for McKelvey, introducing McKelvey to folks around the District and in Washington, D.C., all before he made public his endorsement of McKelvey. I think it incumbent upon Mark to disclose whether, in his work for the McKelvey campaign prior to this endorsement, he made representations to these other persons and groups that his work for the McKelvey campaign was done as an individual, or as leader of the Lynchburg Tea Party. When Mark Lloyd rode alone with McKelvey to Washington, D.C., last month, was this done individually or as leader of the Lynchburg Tea Party? Did Mark obtain these Washington contacts as an individual or as leader of the Lynchburg Tea Party? If these actions of Mark Lloyd are not problematic, and in the interest of maintaining transparency and impartiality, why did he not invite all the other candidates to Washington? Why did he not, in the interest of transparency and impartiality, spend a day with all the campaigns before making an endorsement? When Mark Lloyd got off “that bus” of McKelvey’s at the first campaign stop May 18, I wonder, did he already proudly sport that “button”?
The waters of the 5th District Republican nomination are muddied, no doubt by the shear number of candidates vying for one seat. But they are also no doubt muddied by the vacillation of Virgil Goode as to whether or not he will run as an independent, and Goode’s appearances at Lynchburg Tea Party meetings at the invitation of Mark Lloyd have been with much fanfare and media attention. Goode has addressed the Lynchburg Tea Party two times, and both times Mark represented to the Lynchburg Tea Party that the purpose of his invitation to Goode was to “educate” us on a pressing political issue. But both times Goode wound up merely giving what can be characterized as nothing more than campaign speeches – further muddying the waters by adding to the speculation that he would enter the foray. It is interesting, and more so in light of Mark’s endorsement, that Goode has made many glowing, just-so statements about McKelvey, one of which is posted on the Watchdog website. In the interest of truth, I think it incumbent upon Mark to disclose the level of collaboration between he, Goode, and McKelvey, whether personally or as leader of the Lynchburg Tea Party, including the number of times he has spoken with Virgil Goode about the McKelvey campaign or met together with Goode and McKelvey. I think it incumbent upon Mark to disclose why he invited Goode to address the Lynchburg Tea Party not once but twice, tantalizing the electorate, when Mark himself had previously complained about the muddied waters of the Republican campaigns due to the number of candidates and the uncertainty of Goode’s intentions.
It should be noted, and it is telling, that after Goode’s first appearance at a Lynchburg Tea Party meeting, during which he set out an elementary-school-style “plan” for reducing the federal deficit in “2010”, McKelvey’s campaign immediately adopted Goode’s “plan” almost verbatim and presented it as his own at the subsequent Tea Party-sponsored debate in Danville. (Is this also plagiarism or merely collusion between Goode and McKelvey?)
Goode made his second appearance at a Lynchburg Tea Party meeting May 6, 2010, a mere month from the date of the June 8 primary. The Lynchburg Tea Party had already announced the week prior to the May 6 meeting that several CANDIDATES would address the meeting, but on May 5, one day before the meeting, Mark Lloyd further muddied the waters by making the decision to also invite Goode, supposedly to “educate” the Lynchburg Tea Party on immigration. But all Goode did was quote from a few headlines and give a few self-evident statements. There was no education – merely campaign stumping. After his campaign speech Goode announced he will not run in this campaign. If Goode was not running but was giving a campaign speech, for whom was he campaigning? It is now clear he was there to bolster his own status in the eyes of the Tea Party in order to bolster the status of one candidate over the others in this race (see the aforementioned statement of Goode on this website). Although Goode told me immediately after the May 6 meeting he would not endorse any candidate in this race, I do not know any other way to characterize the words of Goode in the aforementioned statement other than as a de facto endorsement. It seems that the invitations of Mark Lloyd to Goode has worked to McKelvey’s advantage. Hmm. Makes one wonder, does it not?
Attempting to put things together from my limited vantage point, it appears Mark Lloyd actively assisted the McKelvey campaign, grooming and training him, making contacts for him, introducing McKelvey to folks around the District and in Washington, D.C., all before he made public his endorsement. I think it important for folks in the Lynchburg Tea Party and others to know the amount of time Mark Lloyd spent with the McKelvey campaign. I think Mark needs to, if he can, dispel the creeping notion that he has acted as an unofficial manager for the McKelvey campaign and has used his position and contacts as leader of the Lynchburg Tea Party to further the interests of one campaign over all the others – thereby furthering his own.
I believe the concerns I have raised here need to be addressed for the sake of the future of the Lynchburg Tea Party.
Besides the issues presented above, I find it strange Mark Lloyd would support Jim McKelvey. I find it strange because, in my many conversations with Mark, he has admitted to me that McKelvey is not the strongest candidate to face Perriello this fall. Mark has admitted to me his concerns for McKelvey’s weakness on family values issues, his weak stand on abortion, and especially the fact that McKelvey is not well-versed on our Constitution. This endorsement is more astonishing in light of the fact that the Lynchburg Tea Party, of which Mark is Chairman, has as its foundational, core principle, a return to constitutionally limited government. Yet, paradoxically, he endorses a person whom he admits has a weak grasp of the Constitution. The only positive comment I have heard Mark say about McKelvey is that McKelvey is sincere and is personable; now we hear that McKelvey sheds tears over the state of our country. But is this now the measure of sincerity? Is this now the measure of a good candidate? What about showing sincerity by taking a lifetime, or at least a year or two, to learn not only the language of the Constitution but the principles undergirding the Constitution, before jumping into a political battle for the heart and soul of CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT!!
I do not doubt McKelvey’s sincerity of concern – but I do doubt his ability to lead. Accordingly, I have put my money and my time behind the candidate whom Mark Lloyd admitted to me many times was the strongest candidate in this race to unseat George Soros’ boy, Perriello. Mark Lloyd stated to me, before I chose any candidate to support, that Mike McPadden has a solid grasp on the Constitution and constitutional issues; that McPadden is “deep and wide” in his understanding of the financial and regulatory issues now facing our nation; that McPadden has the best record on family values because he is unashamedly pro-life and is time-tested in his marriage of 30 years with solid, stable, Christian, now-adult children as a product of that marriage, and with his wife one-hundred percent on board; that McPadden is the only military veteran in the race – and we are talking a 22-year military career as a navy pilot – which speaks highly of his ability to lead and stand his ground; that McPadden has the debating ability and stage presence that will be formidable against the New York lawyer from Ivy. Mind you, these are things Mark Lloyd told me about Mike McPadden before I made my decision whom to support, and once I verified these statements by grilling McPadden on several issues, I became and remain convinced that Mike McPadden deserves our support because of his abilities and needs our support so conservatives can take back this seat lost by Virgil Goode.