RIGOP: Knock It Off!
This story sounds way too much like the long car trips when the kids in the back seat get on each others’ nerves enough to where the parent screams “Do I have to separate you two?!?” This might be necessary with the state’s Republican party.
I’m sure by now, most Anchor Rising readers are familiar with the events that have transpired in the last week or so with regard to the state party’s chairmanship election. Last Thursday evening, a vote was held and Mark Smiley received one more vote than Daniel Harrop. However, one more vote was cast than the number of checked in voters. The current chairman, Mark Zaccaria did what was probably the smartest move, and nullified the election and rescheduled a new vote for April 2. Then in the ensuing three days, he did some investigating and found out that the extra vote was legitimately cast and then reversed his decision, nullifying the nullified vote and declaring Smiley the Chairman.
Whether the actual result is correct isn’t the point to me. This kind of decision reeks of some third-world, banana republic dictator election. The body is supposed to simply trust that this decision was made above-board and honestly by Zaccaria? Quite possibly, and very likely, it was. Again, this isn’t the point. If we have that level of trust in one person, why don’t we simply hand all the ballots to Mr. Zaccaria, let him go into a closed room and come out and tell us who won?
In my opinion, this is where Mr. Smiley should have refused the decision of the chair and insisted on the re-vote on April 2
Now, more accusations are starting to fly. A group that goes by the name of “Youth for the Future of the Republican Party” is trying to smear Mr. Smiley by referring to one of his advisors as a “bigot.” Even worse, they’re doing this anonymously. To the members of this group, you’re doing no favors to the future (or the present!) of the Republican party. You’re harming it. It is in extremely poor taste to bring these things out in the public. This is an in-family discussion, not something for public consumption. You are embarrassing yourselves and the rest of the party. Additionally, if someone wants to make a point like this, they should have the gumption to stand up in front of the body and make the statements to the entire group before the election! None of their accusations are new news. Bringing these out less than a week after the election really does reek of sour grapes and extremely poor form.
If Dr. Harrop is not behind these messages, he should come out and condemn them and ask the group to stop. They are not helping his image.
Lastly, Dr. Harrop is challenging that he was unaware of who the voters would be. According to an article in today’s Providence Journal by Phil Marcelo:
In his complaint, Harrop argues he was never given a final list of who had registered to vote the day of the party’s state central committee election.
He pointed to Cynthia Fagan, a Coventry resident who, shortly before the Thursday vote, was allowed to cast a ballot in place of Virginia Soucy, a committee delegate from Coventry.
“We were never able to challenge her credentials [because] we did not even know she was coming or would be there,” Harrop wrote. “I cannot lodge a protest against the voting rolls if I do not know the voting rolls.”
I admittedly am not a member of the RIGOP, but I was previously. I was also a backup delegate for my home town. Maybe the rules have changed, but my understanding was that I could go to the meeting and vote if the person I was backing up was unable to attend. I was never aware of any deadline that the main delegate had to announce that he would not be attending the meeting and for me to fill in. That’s all this sounds like.
I’m hoping that calmer heads will prevail and the party will decide to follow through on the original decision, to have a new election on April 2, and that it will be handled fairly and to a conclusion. At that point, the party will need to rally around it’s new chairman and put past differences aside. If that’s not possible, maybe they will need to be separated. The “opposition party” clearly can’t do it’s job if it is constantly battling itself. So RIGOP members, especially those that end up on the losing end of this chairman’s vote, ask yourself what is more important, fighting with other Republicans or fighting to fix the state in a direction you believe in? We’re going to need that answer very soon.
Addendum: In the comments below, Dr. Harrop does condemn the anonymous attack messages being sent. Thank you, Dr. Harrop.