Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cuccinelli: Thank You-What a Weekend!

June 3, 2009

Dear Fellow Virginians,

First and foremost, I want to thank every single person that came to the convention this past weekend - it was a raging success in every way.

I appreciate the hundreds of volunteers that made our victory this past weekend possible, the thousands of Virginians that had sufficient faith and trust in me to not only give me their vote, but to spend all day Saturday to do it, and the thousands of other Republicans that gave our whole ticket a huge bump coming out Richmond!

Say what you want about conventions, primaries, etc., they are tons of fun, exciting and a great way to get several thousand people fired up for five months of campaigning!

Second of all, I need to extend compliments to John Brownlee and Dave Foster. I have been involved in GOP politics as a volunteer and a candidate for 18 years. I don't ever remember such a high quality, issue focused, party contest as the one the three of us just finished. None of us can take credit for that by ourselves - we all share it.

We had innumerable debates and candidate forums, and the level of debate was exceptional. We had so many debates that John finally started joking that we could all give each other's speeches. I think he was right!

John and Dave brought strong resumes and strong campaigns to this contest, and each of them have graciously offered their support and assistance. I'm going to need it!

I'm going to need your help too! The first help we need is donations. Our Democrat opponent has $900,000 more on hand than we do (he was unopposed for the Dems' nomination). Won't each of you please donate today?!? We have some catching up to do!

More details on going forward soon, but now, some funny war stories from the weekend!

Friday Night - Gala and BBQ

I appreciated the opportunity to speak at the Restore the Founders' Vision PAC BBQ on Friday night. I'm told there were 750 people there, though I could only see about 50 because the lights were 6 feet in front of my face blinding me. But there was no missing the response the crowd had to protecting the constitution and defending Virginia's sovereignty under the 10th amendment. Wow!

I think people may be waking up, and we need them to if we're going to win in November.

Then I shot back to the Gala to join Teiro and talk up delegates after Gov. Romney finished his remarks. Talk about packed, they had to set up tables in the hallway! That's a great problem to have - overcrowding! Look out Dems!

Then came the suite...

The Sweet Suite

Okay, can I just say that you people are ravenous cannoli eaters? It was all gone in something like 30 minutes in the suite. My girls must make good cannoli (I wouldn't know, I didn't get any...)!

We also had to reorder food SIX times! They had to keep all the cooks late to keep up with our ravenous hoard. We packed the Hilton ballroom through much of the night, and people were very patient as I tried to get to talk to everyone in line (thank you all!).

At the doors of the ballroom, our volunteers were giving folks a Cuccinelli for AG sticker on the way in, and they went through over 2500! Zoiks! There were a lot of folks there Friday - very impressive.

Needless to say, I was getting a good feeling Friday night.

I also have to say, the Hilton was awesome. Just awesome. I don't like the price tag for the suite ($15,000 - donate please), but they did everything we asked of them fast and happily. Everything about the Hilton beats out the Marriott: bigger rooms, faster and friendlier service, accommodating as they could be, and better food.


A confession: I hadn't finished my speech before Saturday (and I was up until 2 a.m. Friday night working on it after the suite), and I wrote it with variations depending on circumstances.

So, I grabbed breakfast in the AFP suite in the Hilton ballroom, and started talking folks up. Teiro went over to the RPV breakfast to chat with delegates (talk about a trooper, Teiro was Wonder Woman all weekend).

Then Teiro and I worked our way down the street to the coliseum, chatting people up along the way. We finished our waters outside (grrrrr), and went in and split up to keep chatting with delegates. This continued until speakers started coming out and it became rude to talk during speeches...

That's when I went into our war room to finish my speech during Hannity and McDonnell's speeches.

After practicing downstairs once, I printed out the speech and then went into the halls to work delegates. I was also in the coliseum when the nominations committee report was read, and the explosion when we were announced as a candidate gave me rising confidence (I was ready to vote by noise-meter).

Eventually, it was my turn to speak, and we started with the unusual audio clip and the flags. I approached the podium toward the end of the audio clip and noticed the clock was WAY below where I had expected it to be. Where I expected it to read about 10 seconds gone, it read 40 seconds gone.

So, I was immediately in speech-cutting mode, before I even opened my mouth. Whoops. What had happened was good old fashioned miscommunication. It had been my understanding that my 10 minute clock started running when I set foot on the stage, but it started when the audio clip started. Regardless, I knew I didn't get to argue it at that point! Ouch.

So, while I was giving it, I was cutting the speech on the fly. I was also enjoying the view, the flags, the people, and the energy was almost visible. Looking back, that view was truly something, and I'm very grateful for the memory.

I wrapped up my speech with a few seconds remaining and the noise was deafening. Teiro came out and then the kids... which led to the next either miscommunication or whatever, not sure. The kids were on stage only about 15 seconds and the noise was still going when they started announcing Dave to speak.

Now, this bothered me in two respects, first of all, it wasn't fair to Dave, as Teiro and I were herding our kids off while Dave had to navigate through all of us to get started and I doubt it was the kind of "clean," i.e., unimpeded, start that he had planned or wanted. Second, that was the ONLY thing the kids were publicly involved in, and I don't mind saying that I was upset that in their one moment, they were shoveled off stage so curtly. Oh well, they did enjoy it, so that was good, and we know the production folks were just trying to keep things moving.

Then came the craziness of voting and counting, and I had a strong sense that we were going to be okay on the first ballot.

Because I'd been totally focused on getting the votes needed to win, it was only at that point that I started to think about what I would say in an acceptance speech.

Then I was informed that some of the results were coming back in and John and Dave had decided to move for nomination by acclimation. This was a gracious gesture AND it saved people a LOT of time, as the counting clearly was going to take a while! Their remarks were very kind.

In the meantime, all was chaos back stage. It was a real scramble back there for the production folks, while I was relaxing with all of my family members that had come to Richmond and jotting down some quick thoughts for my remarks. By the way, please send in those postcards that I know you all took home from the convention!

Then came the acceptance speech - I tried to keep it as short as I could - and then it was rah-rah time with the whole ticket!

A thousand thank yous to people passing on the way out was not enough, but it had to do, as I was nearly numb from the day.

We went back to the hotel, gathered our thoughts and our kids, and went out to dinner. During dinner I got a phone call with a speaking opportunity at 1 p.m. THE NEXT DAY in Williamsburg, and so I took it, and we were off again!

What a whirlwind! Thanks again to everyone that came to the biggest convention anywhere in the free world in the last 15 years, and thanks to those who supported me for the nomination, but now I need to ask everyone for your support, as we can only win with a LOT of help from now through November.

I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Note to Facebook Friends

I don't think I will be able to answer my inbox any longer, as I'm just overwhelmed timewise. My apologies, but I wanted to let everyone know. I still hope folks will join! (

See you on the campaign trail!


Ken's Signature

Senator Ken Cuccinelli II

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