Jenna Bush's Father-in-Law in Bitter Election Battle

Matt Lewis
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Posted: May 27, 2008 10:28 AM

The Hager/Bush family may be united, but the Virginia GOP "family" is badly fractured -- and in need of repair. 

Jenna Bush's new father-in-law John Hager is in a contentious election battle, which will take place at the VA GOP Convention this coming weekend.  In yet another signal the VA GOP is in decline, that same convention will likely see the nomination of former governor James Gilmore, a man whom almost everyone agrees will lose the U.S. senate seat in November to Mark Warner -- meaning that both Virginia's senators will be Democrats.

Hager, the incumbent Chairman of the VA GOP (he took over when Ed Gillespie left to work at the White House, last August),  is being challenged by Jeff Frederick (32), a young conservative Virginia state senator delegate who is blaming Hager for for losing four senate seats in Virginia. 

As the WaPost wrote back in April, the race has gotten nasty.  

It's bare-knuckle politics at its finest, and the outcome could determine the direction of a state party that has been reeling from a string of losses, most recently in the November election for General Assembly.

... Since then, the race has only intensified.  On Friday, Hager fired off this email, accusing Frederick of lying about his record:

"Desperate and losing, Jeff Frederick is resorting to outright lies. 
 
            Jeff Frederick's most recent attack mailing accuses me of being endorsed by Democrat Mark Warner at this year's Shad Planking.  It's not true - and Jeff Frederick knows it is not true because Jeff was there and heard the speech.  [# More #] 
 
            Please read the following very carefully because it demonstrates just how dishonest Jeff Frederick is willing to be. 
 
            The Shad Planking is an annual outdoor fish fry in Wakefield.  I was honored to be the Master of Ceremonies for the program.  In that role I introduced Jim Gilmore, Bob Marshall, and Mark Warner to speak. 
 
            In an attempt to be funny, Mark Warner noted that he was surrounded by Republicans and about me he said:
 
            "I can't think of a single action that would show more commitment and devotion to the Republican Party than allowing his son to marry into the President's family with the President's 28% approval rating." 
 
            It was a bad joke, but clearly not an endorsement.
 
            In fact, I pointed out to Mark Warner that we Republicans had him outnumbered 2 to 1 and that he might want to reconsider his race for the Senate.
 
            And this is the central problem with Jeff Frederick's campaign for Chairman.  He will say anything - launch any attack - to satisfy his own ambition.  He has viciously attacked the Republican Speaker of the House, local Republican volunteers, and our volunteer Congressional District Chairmen.  Anyone who doesn't support him is subject to these outrageous attacks. 
 
            If you elect me Chairman I will put the Party and our candidates first.  I will do all I can to unite us and prepare for a united victory this November and next.  And, I will always be honest with you."