The following is the text of the statement delivered by Bradley S. Rees at a press conference Thursday evening. For more specifics on the problems and solutions Bradley speaks of in this statement, please read the October TEA Party speech Bradley has posted.
Thursday night’s statement, in full, is below:
Thanks for coming out here to Bedford County tonight. I grew up not far down 460, over in Appomattox County, and my wife and I moved our little family out here just over 2 years ago.
The reason I called this press conference this evening is simple, but the details are not. I’ll keep this as brief as possible, then open it up for questions.
I have been running for the Republican nomination for the 5th District since December of ’08, but officially only since this past June. During this time I have consistently referred to myself as a “reluctant Republican” and proudly taken on the mantle of the anti-establishment, grassroots candidate. I have been honored to speak at 5 tea parties, and have been invited to speak at several more that I simply could not attend.
It has been a distinct privilege to meet and converse with thousands of 5th District residents, and to have gained their trust, support, and, most of all, their friendship. I sincerely hope that, by the end of this statement, I will retain all of these sentiments from these great people.
But, during this campaign, I have also heard and seen many things within the Republican party establishment, both nationally and locally, that have been a cause for great concern and even, at times, indignation. I have witnessed things that are meant to be kept in the shadows, away from the ears and critical thinking abilities of the populace.
These things, especially how some of the best people I’ve met in this process are viewed by the higher-ups in the party, must be brought into the light of day, sooner rather than later, so that the battle for the soul of the Republican party can be waged, AND WON, before the next election cycle.
As a candidate, within the Republican party, it would be unbecoming for me to bring these hidden sentiments, this intentionally suppressed rift, to the surface. Suffice to say, there are people in this party whose sole concern is political power, all at the expense of core principles.
There are many, both at the national, state, and local levels, whose power-lust and win-at-all-costs mentalities have infected the Republican party like a grotesque and malignant cancer.
They must be rooted out, not to destroy the party, but to reclaim and rebuild it, on the foundation of the core principles it has historically stood on, and that so many of the party elites have so long ignored, and now completely walked away from.
We have seen some of what I’m referring to come into a national spotlight lately. In Florida, moderate Governor Charlie Crist is running for the Senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez, and currently held by one of his own former chief advisors that he appointed. Former Speaker of the Florida House, and a true conservative, Marco Rubio is running for the Republican nomination for the same seat.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has stepped into the primary process (which is not their place, by the way) on behalf of Crist, who fully supports the failed Economic Stimulus from this past February. This is nothing short of arrogance on the part of Republicans at the national level, attempting to dictate to local party members who their nominee should be. And many on the local level are more than happy to go along with these dictates from above.
In New Jersey, there was a primary for the Republican nomination for governor. Chris Christie, an establishment Republican and career politician, beat out the much more conservative Steve Lonegan for the nomination, again with the help of national party members and the Republican National Committee.
Now, a few days away from the election, it appears that Christie will lose, and one of the most corrupt politicians since Richard J. Daley, John Corzine, will retain his residency in the governor’s mansion. The Independent candidate, Chris Daggett, who is more conservative than Christie on many issues, has been surging in the latest polls, and actually has broken out of the ranks of “spoiler” and into the realm of legitimate contender. You can bet that the party establishment is not happy about this turn of events.
And, most recently, the special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District has gained a national spotlight. Career politician and blatant liberal Dede Scozzafava was handed the GOP nod, while Doug Hoffman, a businessman and political outsider, was completely overlooked. Hoffman is now running on the platform of the Conservative Party of New York, and has an excellent chance of winning, over both the Republican and Democrat candidates. In fact, the most recent polls I have seen show him opening up a lead over both the liberal and liberal-lite candidates.
Even with the support of money and influence from the RNC, Newt Gingrich, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, Scozzafava’s ties to the AFL-CIO, ACORN, SEIU, and her support for Card Check and the failed stimulus plan have all exposed her as the liberal-lite politician she truly is. The American people, in these 3 races, are proving that they are tired of the same old party insiders and their political games which routinely foist upon us the “lesser of two evils.”
In the cases of Rubio, Daggett, and Hoffman, the people are being given a true choice, not just what the major parties have attempted to shove down their throats.
And that leads me back to this race, right here in Virginia’s 5th District. Out of 7 declared candidates so far for the Republican nomination, only one has even drawn a comment from the National Republican Congressional Committee, and they sounded very pleased that this person had entered the race. With the track record they have in other races around the country, my question is this: why should we trust THEIR judgment here, in OUR nominating process?
The answer is, quite clearly, We shouldn’t. And so, as in these other races I’ve highlighted, the people deserve a clear choice. I am here tonight to also deliver a message to the 5th District Republican leadership: If you let the powerful D.C. and local party elite dictate the outcome of our nominating process here in the Fighting Fifth, and that nominee is not a principled conservative that we can trust to maintain spinal integrity in Washington, you can count on next year’s general election being identical to this year’s New York 23 and New Jersey Gubernatorial races.
I had hoped the GOP establishment would have learned a lesson in November of 2006. They didn’t. But they had another chance to learn a valuable lesson from a horrible mistake last November, both on the national level AND here in the 5th. The American people are growing weary with career politicians. Here in the 5th, they voted for a fresh face, a political outsider that everyone in the GOP refused to take seriously. Gee, that sounds familiar. I think I resemble that remark!
The point is: They STILL don’t get it. And I fear they won’t wake up before next Spring when they choose their nominees for 2010.
As such, it is my duty to announce that, as of today, I am withdrawing from consideration for the Republican nomination, so that I can devote my time, via my blog and my upcoming radio show, to exposing some of the charlatans and even outright liars who have corrupted the party I would have been proud to represent.
Starting in January, I intend to begin laying the groundwork and getting my support structure in place to run on the Virginia Conservative Party platform. It may amount to only drawing enough votes from the Republican candidate to ensure Tom Perriello a second term. If so, so be it. Maybe then, the party will understand that we are trying to save the GOP from its worst enemy: not the Democrats, but themselves.
I do not plan to do this on a whim, only to be a spoiler, but to give the people a chance to make their voices heard. Those voices will, I fear, be denied at next Spring’s convention, due to deals made in smoky back rooms in the 5th district.
The current acronym for people like Crist, Christie, and Scozzafava, is RINO. Republican In Name Only. That’s why I chose this spot for my press conference tonight. Because, whether the RINO is big or small, it’s still a RINO.
Now, as far as I’m concerned, Tom Perriello is a man of principle. He says what he means, and votes that way. I completely disagree with his principles, but I respect him for standing on them. A RINO, on the other hand, cannot be trusted. They will say one thing, when they are at home in the district, then vote the completely opposite way while in the Capitol, dancing with the devil. As Joaquin Phoenix said in the movie 8MM, “When you dance with the devil, the devil don’t change; the devil changes you.”
When you boil everything down, Ronald Reagan was absolutely right when he said that we need to shun the muted pastels and instead embrace bold colors, to clearly delineate the differences in principle between ourselves and the opposing party. This, he said, would revitalize the Republican party, and so it did. I think it would behoove us to once again heed the Gipper’s advice.
My campaign’s main slogan has been, Stand on Principle, or Stand Aside! I think Reagan would agree. And, until recently, when he endorsed Scozzafava, I thought Newt Gingrich would agree, as well. But perhaps Newt danced with the devil a bit too long, as well.
In closing, I started out this campaign with one goal in mind: to prove to the people of the 5th District what they should have learned last November: that it doesn’t take a career politician, a lawyer, or someone with a big-name pedigree to engage the principles and capture the imaginations of the voters. Instead, it takes a firm commitment to principles, against all odds. I never anticipated the level of support I have received over the past 10 months, and I am truly grateful for that.
But my original goal has been achieved. Because of my candidacy, 3 others have joined the race, and they are not politicians, or lawyers, or well-known. But what they ARE means more than all those combined: they are principled conservatives whose love for this country outweighs any party affiliation or loyalty to the elites in the power structure. They are all hard-working family men, and political outsiders. I will be watching their campaigns closely, talking with each of them frequently, and I fully intend to endorse one of them in the coming months, hoping the party will take heed and finally begin to stand on principles.
Thanks for your time, and I’ll open this up to any questions you may have.