Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) said yesterday that in order to win Fairfax County's crucial bloc of votes in his drive for the GOP gubernatorial nomination he may resort to a controversial parliamentary technique that he has criticized his opponent for using.
Parris told reporters his campaign will "do whatever we have to do," including the parliamentary maneuver to require even his opponent's delegates to vote for him at the state convention in June.
Earlier this month, Parris, from Fairfax County, berated rival GOP gubernatorial candidate Wyatt B. Durrette for using the same tactic in Richmond area delegate selection meetings.
Yesterday, Parris, considered the underdog in the race for the nomination, said, "We decided either to fight fire with fire or quit. And we're not about to quit."
For the second time in a week, Parris toured the state by plane to go on the attack against Durrette, who claims to have 82 percent of the delegate votes needed to win nomination.
In a news conference at his Springfield campaign headquarters, Parris accused Durrette of "issuing phoney delegate count numbers."
Parris said he has 730 delegate votes to Durrette's 1,312. Durrette's figures give Parris 329 votes and Durrette 1,643.
"Parris has no choice but to refute our figures," said Durrette campaign spokesman Don Harrison. "He's failed every major test of votes leading into Fairfax."
There is no independent accounting of the votes, which are won through a series of delegate selection meetings statewide.
One of the most heated battles in the state will be waged in Fairfax County Tuesday where 535 delegate votes -- almost a quarter of the aproximately 1,950 needed for nomination -- are at stake.
Durrette's Mason District coordinator, county Republican Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III, said use of the parliamentary technique under which a majority could require all Fairfax delegates to attend the state convention as Parris delegates would antagonize the county's party activists.
"Unlike some other jurisdictions in Virginia, we respect the right of people to disagree with each other," said Davis. "You don't build a party that way, you destroy a party."