Liveblogging the Election of Rhode Island’s New Republican Chair

Good evening, from Pawtuxet Village in Cranston, where the Rhode Island Republican party will elect a new chairman (or chairwoman) tonight…
[7:00] 3 candidates tonight. As I understand it, the party by-laws say the winner must recieve a majority of the votes of the members present, not just a plurality. Could make for an interesting evening.
[7:01] Could also potentially make for a long evening.
[7:02] Acting chairman Steven Frias says we do have a quorum.
[7:03] Frias says a single roll call will take 45 mins, and we may have multiple roll calls tonight, so let’s get this thing started.
[7:06] Frias says he confident the state party will be able to take a Congressional seat in 2012. Predicts that Cicilline will either lose in the primary or to the Republican.
[7:08] Frias on Chafee: When your poll numbers are in the low 20s, it’s not that you’re not getting your message out, it’s that the message and the messenger are bad.
[7:09] Frias: Tonight, we select the person who will lead the party to victory next year.
[7:14] Mark Smiley steps up to nominate Ray McKay.
[7:17] Smiley runs down McKay’s long history of involvement in the Republican Party. “Ray McKay is the fairest person in the room”. Elect a proven leader to be chair.
[7:19] McKay: Goals are not personal. Has led a successful organization based on principles, values and the Constitution. Ready to lead those who have shown themselves willing to be Republicans in the bluest of blue states. We are in a crisis of unsustainable finances and a crisis of party identity. We need leader with decorum to take on those who would bring false witness against the party. Quotes Nathaniel Greene, and asks for the delegates votes.
[7:20] Phil Duquette nominates Tina McKendall. Says McKendall will hire a political director, who will come up with a district by district election plan. McKendall will work with local town and city committees. Better balance in the legislature that will come under McKendall will prevent a repeat of the Gerrymandering fiasco. We’re not rewarding who’s worked the hardest or the longest. McKendall understands people and relates to them.
[7:26] McKendall: We need stresses to make us stronger, and we need to win win win. We will burn shoe leather and roll up our sleeves. What works in Cumberland may not work in Narragansett. We have talent in this room that has been underutilized. “Mother’s milk of politics is money” and for me funraising is fun. We need $10 hot dog roasts, along with $10,000 fundraisers. We need branding. We can make the RI Republican Party the best party in the state.
[7:30] Mark Zaccaria speaking now. Says he’s as good at stuffing envelopes as working on policies. People outside of the party see the party in disarray. Because of this, we need a smooth transition, and he will work with the existing staff to accomplish this. Sponsoring and vetting candidates needs to be the primary focus of the party. He will be the public face of the party. We as a body have to come together, in a way that will put real Republican values into play: smaller government that lives within its means.
[7:33] Amy Gallagher seconds Zaccaria’s nomination. The party needs a fresh face with the experience to lead. The party has a brand identity crisis. Zaccaria combines a business marketing sense with a knowledge of politics. Zaccaria is the safest bet to lead us into the future.
[7:39] Getting ready to vote. 165 people present.
[7:40] Motion to immediately adopt a knockout rule. 3rd place finisher would automatically be dropped from the ballot in a 2nd round.
[7:41] Voice vote is indeterminate. Motion is withdrawn. No knockout rule, and the voting begins…
[7:50] Here’s a question to ponder while the first ballot is conducted, to those who have been impressed by at least the energy of Occupy Wall Street. As several hundred people assemble in Pawtuxet this evening, on the shortest day of the year and just a few days before Christmas, how is this assembly of citizens looking to make a difference in their goverment and their society any less worthy of respect than the Occupy Wall Street movement? Thread to discuss to be opened momentarily.

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