U.Va. Law student to serve as Chair of Charlottesville Republican Party

Charlottesville Republican Committee unanimously elects Erich Reimer

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The Charlottesville Republican Committee unanimously voted in third-year Law student and former Student Council representative Erich Reimer to serve as their chair on April 18.

Courtesy Erich Reimer

The Charlottesville Republican Committee unanimously voted in third-year Law student and former Student Council representative Erich Reimer to serve as their chair on April 18.

Reimer still has three weeks at the Law School left to complete as he takes on this new role. This is the first time in the past two decades that a currently enrolled student has been given the chair position although sometimes the elected chair has been a recent University graduate.

Usually, a chair is elected at a meeting in which Charlottesville Republican voters who attend the meeting can vote. Chairs are elected for a two-year term. But since Reimer’s predecessor, Barbara Null, is moving out of the area, she nominated Reimer to replace him.

Reimer described the Charlottesville City Republican Committee as the “formal body sanctioned by the Republican party of Virginia that represents Republicans in the city.”

Reimer said he will be “representing the Republican party in the electoral process” as well as fundraising and helping raise support for Republican candidates in Charlottesville elections.

One of his goals is to create a new brand and image for the GOP. He describes this new brand as being something “more modernized, more inclusive, more open.”

“I think the GOP has to do a much better job in reaching out to young people, to millennials, to ethnic communities,” Reimer said.

At the Law School, Reimer has been involved with the Federalist Society, which is dedicated to “advancing the principles of freedom, separation of governmental powers and that judges are paid to interpret laws, not to make them,” according to its website.

Reimer ran for both Law School Student representative for Student Council and Vice President of the Law Student Bar Association in 2016. His campaign for these positions parodied Trump’s campaign, with the slogan “Make U.Va. Law Great Again.” One of his proposals was to build a wall between the Law School and Darden. He lost the Law Student Bar Association election, but won the election for Law School Student Council representative.

Reimer said the parody campaign was meant to be a joke and to increase waning student interest in school elections.

“We avoided mimicking anything that was incendiary. At least from the reception we got, people thought it was very humorous,” Reimer said.

Reimer’s public past is not without controversy. Last spring, he and five other Student Council representatives abstained from a vote to grant CIO status to DREAMers on Grounds, an organization that advocates for undocumented students. The abstentions prevented the group from initially getting CIO status, although the group was recognized as a CIO in a subsequent vote.

After the initial vote, Reimer posted on Facebook, “UVA Student Council news: bill approving a student group to support illegal immigrants at UVA has been defeated! #conservative.” He took the Facebook post down shortly thereafter and apologized. The post was sharpy criticized in a Change.org petition started by DREAMers on Grounds.

Alexander Cintron, a second-year College student, is currently serving as Student Council vice president for administration, but served earlier alongside Reimer as a representative during the DREAMers controversy.

While Cintron said he was “not a fan” of Reimer’s Facebook post, he said Reimer was an engaged member of Student Council during his year as a Law School representative.

“He was one of the most present representatives there. I think he fulfilled his duties well, in the capacity that he was asked to serve,” Cintron said. “There may have been disagreements in philosophy about what a representative should do, especially on certain votes that we disagreed on, but he was a representative who was among probably the best.”

Adam Kimelman, a second-year College student and incoming chair of College Republicans, welcomed the news of Reimer’s election as chair.

“We’re definitely happy that he’s there. He’s already reached out to me and other people on my executive board about adding us to the listserv to make sure that we’re more coordinated with the Charlottesville Republican Party,” Kimelman said. “From what I know of him personally, I think he’s done a good job, and I know that many in the organization feel the same way.”

Kimelman also cited Reimer’s obvious commitment to the party, evidenced by his work on many campaigns, such John Kasich’s presidential campaign during the 2016 Republican primary, as well as his change of political allegiance in 2012.

“The cool thing about Erich Reimer is that he hasn’t been a Republican for life. He was a Democrat back in, I believe, 2012,” Kimelman said. “I think he changed his opinion over time, and that’s definitely something to be respected, that he actually was able and willing to change his opinions based on new facts and the things he was thinking about.”

Reimer’s term would usually end in early 2018, but he said he is unsure if he will complete the full term as he has recently been selected to serve as a military lawyer for the U.S. Army JAG Corps. Should he forego remaining until the end of his term, someone else will be elected to take his position by the same process by which Reimer was elected. 

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