Fairfax GOP Chairman Joseph D. Ragan, declaring that Fairfax Republicans are seriously under-represented in key party councils, said he plans to seek greater representation for county Republicans on the district and state central committees.
"Fairfax City or three precincts in Loudoun County have the same vote on the district committee as Fairfax," Ragan said. Fairfax Republicans are represented on both the 8th and 10th district committees.
Fairfax County, Ragan noted, has the one of the largest concentration of Republicans in the state. He estimated that in a statewide primary 40 per cent of the total Republican vote would be cast in Fairfax. However, he said, Fairfax representatives on the state GOP committee make up less than 10 per cent of the total membership.
Ragan plans to meet with the county Republican committee Tuesday at the Holmes Intermediate School to discuss Fairfax's role in the state party.
If the county GOP committee supports his effort, Ragan said, he will meet with state Republican chairman George McNath to present the county's views.
"If we cannot work out something together," Ragan said, "we plan to make a bid for more equal representation at the state central committee meeting in Richmond Jan. 15." Only if these efforts fail will the committee resort to legal action, Ragan said.
In the event this is necessary, Ragan said, the executive committee has asked vice chairman Thomas Davis, a Fairfax County lawyer, to explore the legal precedents and procedures for possible court action.
Republican Delegate Robert E. Harris of Fairfax said he agres with Ragan's position. "For the contribution Fairfax makes in terms of vote margins, county Republicans do not have appropriate representation or influence in policy making." Harris explained.
At least one Republican, Delegate Wyatt Durrette of Fairfax, who is seeking the state Republican nomination for attorney general, disagrees with Ragan's view.
"I don't feel that Fairfax County lacks influence with the state Republicans," Durrette said. "We do have some disagreements with them, however."
Representatives to the GOP's state central committee are chosen according to congressional district lines. Each congressional district sends three representatives plus the district chairman to the state committee regardless of the numbers of persons voting for Republican candidates. In addition, one seat is allotted if the congressman is a Republican and one additional seat if the District went Republican in the last presidential election. In the November elections, the 8th and 10th districts elected Democratic congressmen while carrying for President Ford.
Thus, this year, the 8th and 10th congressional districts each will have five representatives on the state committee of between 60 and 65 members. Of the 10 representatives from Northern Virginia, six will be from Fairfax County, a figure Ragan considers far too low.
"If we don't solve the problem now, it will be worse in the next few years," Ragan said. The county's population will continue to increase as the result of new housing starts, he noted.
The question of representation for Fairfax County will be brought up during a discussion of county primaries, Ragan said. The Republican executive committee has already approved the holding of local primaries this year as well as statewide primaries. The full committee is expected to ratify the decision Tuesday. Traditonally, however, the state committee has chosen to select state candidates by convention rather than primaries.
Also on the agenda for the Tuesday meeting is a discussion of the Fairfax Fair Campaign Practices Commission, which has asked the local parties to approve their guidelines.
The commission, which is voluntary and without any enforcement authority, has been a sore point for some time with some Republicans, according to Ragan.
"I agree in principal with the guidelines," he explained. "But the problem comes when they try to censure someone. What authority to they have to mediate these disputes?"
The commission was set up in 1975 by the Board of Supervisors. Republicans and Democrats appoint two members, while three others are appointed by board.
The Republican committee will also consider whether to support the $18 million bond referendum for new county court house facilities that will be voted on Feb. 22.
Ragan said he expects the committee will support the referendum. "We have gone on record as supporting a speedy trial, a fair judiciary based on good law enforcement and it seems to the executive committee that we need an adequate place to dispose of cases and to carry on a more complete judicial program.
Ragan, a coffee distributor, has been chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee since May.Prior to his selection, he was campaign manager for Fairfax Board Chairman Jack Herrity.