Why I donated $100 to the RPV.

A couple of weeks ago I donated $100 to a presumably puzzled Republican Party of Virginia.


Last November I offered to make a $100 bet that Jeff Frederick would seek reelection to the House of Delegates after Frederick promised that he wouldn’t do so if he became the chair of the RPV. Shaun Kenney took me up on the bet, with the agreement that the loser would give the money to the winner’s state political party. In the intervening months Frederick was ousted from the RPV chairmanship (which I was counting on), but also expressed a disenchantment with politics and said that he wouldn’t be running for anything anytime soon. Including, as he promised, his own House seat. He made good on that—Rafael Lopez is the Republican candidate in the 52nd district (Democrat Luke Torian is running against him.

So I lose, and Shaun Kenney wins. Which is too bad, because I’d just love to see Frederick remain in a leadership position. And it’s also too bad because I had to give up a hundred bucks, and to the RPV, of all places.

What I did like about this process, though, is the effect of putting my money where my mouth was. $100 has a way of focusing the mind. I paid a lot of attention to Frederick’s actions in the past eight months, always considering how it might affect my wallet. This market-driven approach to political prognostication is healthy. Even if the quantity was just $10, it provides a value to place under consideration, a resolution to two differing views, and an opportunity for one party (me, on this occasion) to ‘fess up to having been wrong, and another party (Shaun) to say “I told you so.” The only change I’d make next time is to designate some charities, as opposed to political parties, as the recipients of the money. The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, for instance, could do a lot more good with $100 than either the DPVA or the RPV. I’d love to see these sorts of friendly, charity-benefiting bets become more common in the Virginia political process.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

7 replies on “Why I donated $100 to the RPV.”

  1. Yeah, but Waldo, if you want to comment on politics, you should expect political consequences from your faulty prognostications.

    Of course, if charities had been the potential beneficiaries, I would have suggested that he require you to donate to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) entity.

  2. Wouldn’t having the donations be to charities reduce the “focus” you get from making the bet (unless each opponent found a charity the other was strongly opposed to)?

  3. KC, James’s suggestion is what I have in mind—each party gets to name a designated charity. If I had a bet with James, he might want to stick it to me with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and I might name some union group. (I don’t actually know enough about unions to name one. :) But I think that even without picking politically-related charities, the focus remains, insofar as one has a dollar value on the line (and a reputation w/r/t the prognostication), though you’re right that the distaste accompany giving to a disliked group helps. :)

  4. I saw a bet among Obsidian Wings commenters a while back that resulted in the conservative giving $100 to the ACLU, but by that point he was already starting to come around on civil liberties anyway, so he said it wasn’t that painful.

  5. There is at least a chance that you were premature. Consider the following data points:

    As of May 27, Jeff Frederick had $21,427.70 cash on hand in his “Frederick for Delegate” account. He could have given his money away and filed a “Final Account,” as his wife Amy did. Amy gave the balance of her money — some $6,000 — to Virginia’s Future PAC, which is Jeff Frederick’s Leadership PAC.

    How much money has Rafael Lopez raised? As of his last reporting deadline of May 27, he had raised a total of $2652, with $279 cash on hand. Yet this is a seat the Republicans should want very badly to hold on to. Why is Lopez not raising more money?

    Under Virginia law, if the named candidate of a party withdraws, the party can quickly substitute someone else. There are those of us of a suspicious bent who believe that Jeff Frederick’s Plan B was to have the Republican nominee be a place-holder, so that if Frederick lost his seat as RPV chair, the nominee would withdraw, and Frederick could be slipped in. The plan was easier to envision with his wife Amy as the place-holder, but when she couldn’t win the nomination, the whole thing became more complex.

    It would not surprise me if Lopez has another lousy financial report on Tuesday, and Frederick ends up the nominee after a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

    If it doesn’t happen that wayt, Torian wins in a cakewalk.

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