Who gets access to the names of the voting delegates to choose the Party leadership?
"The ORP central committee members voted that they do not want their personal information given out, so all communications [sic] is directed through the Secretary."
Becky Mills, ORP Secretary, email to Art Robinson
"They--Bill Currie et al.--are not releasing the names of the county chairs, vice chairs, and delegates. It's outrageous, but its not the first time they have done things like this."
Sam Carpenter, candidate for Party chair.
|Oregon Governor race|
The Republican brand means something in Oregon. Republicans vote for Republicans. Democrats vote for Democrats. In 2018, it was that simple. Intense anti-Trump sentiment among Democratic voters meant that Republican candidates with a moderate message hoping to get Democratic votes came up empty. [Carpenter disagrees.] GOP gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler and Jackson County state senate candidate Jessica Gomez voiced pro-reproductive rights, socially moderate positions. The election returns showed they got exactly the votes they "deserved" and nothing more: Republican votes. Few if any crossovers.
But getting Republican votes is important. The brand carries weight. It wins elections in most rural and suburban counties and legislative districts. So what is happening in Oregon is a struggle for what kind of Republican represents the GOP. The deadline for submitting a slate of officers is January 2, 2019 and an election in mid February.
On December 28 Sam Carpenter, the second place finisher in the primary election for Governor, submitted a slate to replace the current officers, along with a request:
"With this notice, please email me the list of voting members, delegates and alternative delegates."
The names and contact numbers for the various county voters would facilitate the six-week campaign season of persuading Republican leaders to back one slate or the other.
|Oregon GOP Facebook: 2 photos of Trump|
Which slate? Carpenter says the issue is black and white. The current GOP leaders "tend to be never-Trumpers" and "that is the dividing line."
He said "There is very little support for Trump by the Ruling Class establishment. It isn't what they say. It's what they don't say."
Carpenter is the alternative to them.
Carpenter is the alternative to them.
The struggle over access to names to facilitate intra-party campaigning is more symbolic than practical. GOP activists know each other, and if they don't they can make the calls to get acquainted. Elected officials in county and legislative districts are well known and easily located, and in rural Oregon most of them are fellow Republicans. Carpenter--or anyone else--can ask around, and find out who is who. County party leaders want to be accessible; after all, they are doing grassroots politics.
The current leadership is sending a little message. We won't make it easy.
Carpenter makes no secret of his discontent with them. Carpenter is finishing a book to be published shortly, in time to be read by those voting delegates. He is a sharp critic. Carpenter voices the populist discontent and resentments that has remade the GOP in the Trump era.
In an excerpt of his book released early, Carpenter cites "a Republican Party leadership vacuum" and says "the ORP leadership has done little to cultivate--never mind encourage, coach, protect, or promote -- candidates who can win because they might seem to be just. . . a bit too conservative."
Carpenter speaks to a tone of disrespect he says comes from the "current Establishment leadership." In the advance text of his book, "There were a whole lot of Oregon conservatives [who] became very tired of being accosted by the leadership of their own party with both the vote-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils theory, and the not-voting-is-a-vote-for-Kate argument.
. . . We started hearing the Ruling Class Republican Establishment blather about this a month before the general election, with one of the county Chairs sending a 'what its WRONG with you people!?' group message to all of that county's PCPs. . . ."
Carpenter continues, "It's SO predictable! This finger-pointing is completely in line with the Ruling Class conjecture that you and I are unintelligent, and for that matter, ethically inferior, morally suspect, and lazy. (Here's their vision of us: we're cleaning our guns while watching Fox News, pausing now and then to slurp from a can of Budweiser. And yes, on the table next to the Budweiser is a Bible.)"
Tough words. Voting delegates can read the rest of what he has to say shortly.
Democrats who despair at divisions within the progressive left can take comfort in realizing that something just as divisive may be happening within the GOP.