Patrick Henry College
Tony Cavicchi (L) and others campaign in fall of 2011
In November 2011, Republicans recaptured a majority in the Virginia Senate and a supermajority in the House of Delegates. Students from PHC campaigned for five Senate candidates and six Delegate candidates. In Loudoun County, home to the PHC campus, Republicans gained eight seats on the County Board of Supervisors, for a sweep of all nine seats—and College Republicans worked with each local candidate.
“The support my campaign received from the PHC Republican Club was wonderful,” extolled Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe. “My campaign manager, Ben Fornwalt, is a senior and member of the Club. I am deeply appreciative of the coordination of door-to-door assistance of all of the local campaigns. My campaign also benefited from the experience of the PHC Republicans as team leaders for my GOTV efforts. With their assistance, we knocked on over 4,000 doors in approximately three hours.”
What makes the achievement especially remarkable is that when junior Tony Cavicchi became chair of the PHCRs in July of 2011, the club was so inactive that it had lost accreditation with the state federation. Freshman Sarah Ellison became vice chair, and they and others brainstormed twelve ideas for different events.
Alumni Joseph Catoe, Ryan Rogge and Jeremiah Lorrig speak to the PHCRs at the kick-off meeting in fall of 2011
Over the course of the year, they recruited 55 full members. Each member was expected at minimum to go on one of the three Saturday “block walks” each month, in which they canvassed areas for candidates.
“Some members adamantly said Tony’s vision for political activism was unsustainable, wishful thinking,” said Ellison. “But hard work and the willingness of 55 members and other students brought about the best year for CRs in the history of our College. We’ve put students into contact with communities and community leaders. That is going to be useful for the College—for students’ internships or future jobs, or even just as responsible, informed local citizens after graduation.”
“Tony, Sarah and all the PHCRs were a godsend for bringing young energy into the campaigns last fall,” said Mark Sell, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee.
As of April 23, Cavicchi has passed on the responsibility of PHCRs chair to Ellison, with sophomore Iain Armstrong stepping in as the new vice chair. The club plans to continue to build its reputation with the state and others, and to bring speakers to campus.