State of the Party
Aloha. I haven’t reported since December. My apologies. The National Committeeman (NCM) Special Election had me busy. While that saga is apparently never-ending, we’re now into district caucus meetings and the election for NCM to be held at the state convention.
For those of you not familiar, I write periodically to Republicans and conservatives. I try to write news and commentary which you don’t see or don’t have time to read. I encourage discussion and debate. We need to stimulate members and voters. My last three reports are listed at the bottom.
This report focuses on just one aspect of the Hawaii Republican Party (HRP). Many of you have asked about the NCM race and I’ll explain where the HRP is in the process.
Brennon Morioka was our NCM. When told that he would not seek reelection, I declared in December that I was running for that office. A week later, Morioka resigned as NCM for personal reasons.
On questionable advice, the State Executive Committee left the position open through the Republican National Committee (RNC) January meeting and called a State Committee Special Election for January 21, 2012. I declared for the race. After meeting with HRP chair David Chang and his “mentor” Ted Liu, who both said that I was the right person to help the party move forward, Liu three days later declared he would run against me.
Many members believe the NCM position to be an honorary title in the HRP because our NCM has been generally invisible. However, NCM in other states help organize their grassroots, advise candidate campaigns, raise funds for their state and county parties, recruit new members, and gather resources for their states. It is an expensive proposition, as a volunteer the expenses can add up….. if one does the work.
As the NCM campaign unfolded, it became clear to voters that the Lingle team supported Liu and a grassroots coalition supported me. My opponent received written or phone endorsements from Morioka, Miriam Hellreich, Duke Aiona, Linda Smith and Pat Saiki. My endorsements were from grassroots volunteers, district and county chairs, TEA party organizations, Representative Marumoto and Senator Slom, campaign workers and some 25 members of the RNC.
On January 21, the HRP held the Special Election. It is controversial and marked by multiple questionable rulings, a lack of organization, and a disregard for our Party Rules or Robert’s Rules of Order. As the votes were counted in the backroom, I am told that I won 31-29. Some backroom dealings ended with a 30-30 tie being announced. When more dealings were done, I lost 31-30.
Losing in politics is a fact of life; more people lose than win. Lying and cheating in politics is not OK. Anyone thinking differently shouldn’t be in the Republican Party. My campaign has moved on to the May election and my opponent is being announced as the NCM.
Several voters, however, recognized the need to question the lack of transparency and integrity with which the election was conducted. Four challenges to the election were properly submitted within the ten days following the election as required by our rules. I attached the challenges at the bottom of this report. The ‘leadership’ has not been transparent, but we know this of the challenges: The challengers all participated in the January 21 election – Chico Figueiredo, Lisa Gapero, Adrienne King, Marian Grey and Carol Thomas. Other challenges were dropped but these members could not let the lack of integrity go unchallenged, for the sake of the party reputation and image.
Those involved in the challenges are familiar to party members. Marcia Klompus, former Gov Lingle’s scheduler and on Lingle’s campaign paid staff, voted a proxy vote from a district chair on Maui – the district chair had been appointed to the position only the week before the election. Dylan Nonaka, former Party Executive Director and member of the state reapportionment commission and a former Lingle government appointee, voted a proxy vote for a district chair on the Big Island though the party roster and city clerk confirms that he is a resident of Oahu. One vote deemed invalid, Dylan Nonaka’s mother and Big Island council candidate Casey Delo Santos, was used to determine the final count. One district chair gave his proxy to a cross-county district chair who, according to our rules, represents a different “body.” Except for Nonaka, none of those involved probably knew they were doing anything wrong. Party chair Chang, Rules chair Thomason and Party counsel Chipchase’s questionable, and without precedence, rulings made those votes into an issue. Nonaka, however, “shaded” the truth of his residency and Chang and Thomason accepted his “word” without checking the party rolls or any other documentation.
Our rules call for responses to these challenges within five days of submission or “reasonable time for investigation.” We’re now three weeks and more past submission with no rulings and the only rationale for the delay is the personal workload of the Rules chair Thomason. No challenge was even acknowledged as having been received. One district chair waited two weeks before asking for a status of the responses and was accused by Chang of “perpetuating internal division” in the party. Clearly, Chang must know that it is his actions and inaction, and those of Thomason and Chipchase, which are perpetuating division. A month after the election and no rulings on the challenges is NOT excusable. Recently, the President of the Oahu League wrote to this issue http://olrw.org/the-presidents-message-order-or-chaos to explain the negative impact of an organization’s disregard for rules when it comes to wooing donors or volunteers.
There are national implications. The HRP established that our party has difficulty conducting a fair 60-vote internal election. This situation, still to be resolved, has local Presidential campaigns scrambling to ensure an honest and transparent Presidential caucus used to determine delegates to the national convention. The NCM is a voting member of the RNC, the body which determines the politics and policies of Republicans nationwide. His election must be legitimate.
So, here we are to February 23 and my opponent is being introduced as the NCM by Chang, Hellreich and Lingle. Recently they took to referring to him as “the current” NCM. Yesterday, he referred to himself as the NCM “for now.” I am attending as many district caucus meetings as possible in preparation for the May convention and I am thoroughly enjoying seeing friends and meeting new members. The challengers are awaiting responses, afraid to ask for an update because the ‘leadership’ paints their questions as divisive. With this email I can also be lumped in with that group seeking answers.
Leaders are calling for unity, calling for the party to come together, calling for in-fighting to stop. I am not trying to fight with anyone in OUR party. We have so much potential to grow and succeed. I suggest that the symptoms be addressed by curing the disease. I am calling for integrity and transparency so that we can move forward with confidence and show our members and the public that Republican leadership can again be trusted. Members must know they are supported by leadership. Members and donors must be able to trust party leadership. Our grassroots must know that the party supports ALL candidates and supporters. We will win when the leadership supports our members. We will win if we focus on all our candidates. We will win if we become inclusive. We will win if we regain the trust of members and donors.
Last three reports:
Buzz – RNC Winter Meeting, Day 1, 2 & 3
The Holidays, Caucuses and Candidates
12 Months To Go, Seems Like Tomorrow
Hilo Challenge – Hilo_Challenge, Maui Challenge – MauiChallenge, Oahu Challenge – OahuChallenge, Invalid Tie Breaking Vote Challenge – Invalid_Tie_Breaking_Vote_Challenge
Media references to the NCM election:
Star Advertiser http://blogs.starbulletin.com/inpolitics/one-vote/,
Star Advertiser followed up http://blogs.starbulletin.com/inpolitics/rules/.
Civil Beat http://hawaii.politics.government.blogs.civilbeat.com/post/16799358273/gop-split-over-natl-committeeman
Hawaii Reporter http://www.hawaiireporter.com/hawaiis-rainy-day-fund-almost-dry-but-welfare-advocates-want-more-battle-for-gop-committeeman-continues-after-protest-filed-anti-rail-opponents-oppose-intervenors-in-federal-lawsuit-challenge/123 (scroll down).