Story by Chris Graham
Can the 24th Senate District GOP get back on the same page after the June 12 party primary featuring incumbent Emmett Hanger and challenger Scott Sayre?
That is one question.
We asked another of Hanger and Sayre in our interviews with them for this week’s “New Dominion” Internet radio podcast – namely, will you support your opponent should he win the party nomination?
“I haven’t been involved in the poltical process much. I’m a businessperson. The question really needs to be presented out to those units within the 24th District that have Republican committees. There’s eight of them out there. Now, he’s gone on record as making a statement that offended them – he’s going to have to back that up and support it. I’m looking at winning the primary on June the 12th.”
“Beyond that, when it goes to questions of support – you know, when you alienate a group of individuals, and especially your Republican chairmen and chairwomen for the individual units within the district, you have a problem with, what are you going to do on June the 13th if you don’t have their support?”
“That’s a question that he’s going to have to answer – and not me.”
“In the meantime, what I want to say is this – I am seven-for-seven of endorsements of those individuals who are supporting and endorsing Scott Sayre for Senate campaign. That would be Albemarle County, Greene County, Highland County, Augusta County, Rockingham County, the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. Seven-for-seven. And that says a lot.”
“If the question is whether or not I would run as an independent, I can tell you a very clear, straightforward answer – no, I will not run as an independent. I had that option presented to me several months ago – because some pollsters had analyzed it, some political pundits had taken a look at it, and realized that the irony of it is that in the general public I am now more popular than I’ve ever been at any time that I’ve been involved in politics. But at the same time, within my own party, there is a group of people that are determined because of their alliance with these national and statewide groups that are totally antitax that are bent on distorting my record and taking me out – and I’m not sure it’s as much about me as it is the game. It’s kind of become a bloodsport for some of them.”
“I pay very little attention to it. Right now, I find that my support is stronger than it’s ever been – but that’s not to say that I would automatically win. If in fact I’m successful in motivating the people that support me to come out to come out and vote on June 12th, then I will win convincingly. If I’m not, then I think there are enough people out there that are mad at me for a variety of reasons – because when you make decisions in the public eye, particularly in areas where leadership is needed, you’re going to find a lot of people are going to disagree with you, and if they want to use just one issue as the litmus test, then there will be a lot of people who will come out, not necessarily for my opponent, but against me – then I’m prepared for that.”
“I’m a Republican – and my intent is to remain within the Republican Party. And to make sure that the Republican Party returns to its roots – being a more broad-based, inclusive party that’s conservative but is guided by principles that are much, much bigger in terms of overall ethics, family values, moral guidelines, than just being antitax and antigovernment.”