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Apr 07 2012

Act Now to Keep the Texas GOP Primary Fair and Proportional

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There was great grassroots enthusiasm when the GOP of Texas finally made its Republican primary proportional so that every candidate would get a fair shot at our delegates and candidates would come and campaign in our state despite how late our primary is scheduled.

Now a group of party insiders want to reverse this popular decision and make the primary winner-take-all so that an establishment candidate – likely Santorum or Romney – can shut out all other candidates and snatch up all of our delegates. So if you wanted to go to the convention as a delegate for the candidate of your choice, you’d be out of luck and our whole state, despite the diversity of its Republican party would all be locked into supporting one candidate of dubious merit who comes from a far off state and has little in common with Texas Republicans.

This could mean giving Rick Santorum a chance at winning the primary – despite the fact that he is an ideological extremist and a big spender and cannot beat Obama. Or it could mean that Mitt Romney ends the primary with a sudden win in Texas and there’s no chance of a brokered convention or any concessions to the grassroots who are crying out for change and reform in the party.

Changing the Texas GOP primary to winner-take-all would be a slap in the face of grassroots Republicans and it would be bad for the party in Texas and nationwide. This proposal by some State Republican Executive Committee members would help Santorum and hurt the other candidates. Or alternatively it would end the election right there if Romney won. It’s a very, very bad idea for Texas and for the GOP and it is NOT what the grassroots of the party wants.

For more information see this article straight from the horse’s mouth.

Please customize the content of the letter below to represent your concerns in your own words and make sure to check off all of the SREC representatives. If you’re from outside the state rewrite the letter to stress the concerns which all Republicans have with keeping the primary open and the desirability of having a brokered convention.

Oct 25 2011

The RNC Should Stand Up for Fair Debates

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Spending money to advance insider candidates and incumbents is not the only way that Republican Party organizations have contributed to corrupting the electoral process.  In many cases they have not only failed to stand up for fair treatment for qualified candidates, but they have colluded with the media to exclude candidates who challenge the status quo from the debates and other public forums. The primary debates are one of the best ways for candidates to raise public awarness of their campaigns and their issues.  Party organizations and the media are using their control over the  debates to pick winners and losers, give advantages to some candidates and relegating others to obscurity.

The current example of this is the decision of the news media, state parties and the RNC to exclude several well qualified candidates from participation in the presidential debates, while including others who are arguably less well qualified, but perhaps more representative of the party elite viewpoint or the kind of views which the media would prefer to use to label the Republican Party.

The most significant example of this is the exclusion of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson from all but two of the debates which have been held so far. This has been so blatant that there are now common references to the “Gary Johnson Rule” which dictates that whenever Governor Johnson comes close to qualifying for a debate you have to add a new criteria explicitly designed to exclude him and no other candidates. Other candidates are also being excluded, like Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer and longitime GOP activist Fred Karger, but Johnson’s situation is the most blatant. He is the only candidate who is both well qualified based on his past record and also regularly polling as high as or higher than several candidates who are being allowed in the debates, particularly John Huntsman and Rick Santorum.  And based on this he has even been allowed in two of the debates, though he was arbitrarily excluded from the rest.

In response to not being invited to the recent debate in Las Vegas, Governor Johnson directed an attack specifically at the news media, saying:

“Debates, such as the one this week in Las Vegas, are supposed to be opportunities for voters to see the candidates, hear their views, and judge their qualifications without the distortions of money, recognition and favoritism”However, when organizing those debates is left to the national news media, the result has been an absurd Catch-22. Invitations to participate in the debates are based upon arbitrary polling criteria decided in the conference rooms of media organizations such as CNN or NBC or the Washington Post…Even worse, the same organizations who organize the debates are the ones who conduct the polls upon which their invitations are based. In my case, most of those organizations do not include me in their polling. The net result is that a handful of media executives have largely denied Republicans the opportunity to hear from a former governor whose record clearly merits their consideration.”

He also appealed to the Republican National Committee to exert some influence to restore fairness to the process:

“Never did it occur to me that I would be excluded from the conversation; however, that is precisely what is happening – and I believe the Republican National Committee bears some responsibility for what is going on…I recognize that the RNC is not in the business of helping one candidate for the nomination or another. However, I would suggest that it is the business of the RNC to ensure that the Republican nominating process is not ceded to the likes of CNN and the Washington Post…As a lifelong Republican and a former Republican governor, I would suggest that allowing the national news media – who do not have the best interests of the Republican Party in mind – to pre-select the presidential field is nothing less than irresponsible…With the early Republican primaries and caucuses fast approaching, I urge you to exert some leadership and reclaim the nominating process from the national news media who are today pre-ordaining the viability and success of candidates. “It is Republican voters who ultimately lose when the process is skewed, and serving the interests of those voters is, in fact, your responsibility, as is the integrity of the nominating process.”

So far this plea has fallen on deaf ears. It is clear that the Republican National Committee has little interest in supporting anything other than more of the same. They are ignoring the clear message of the Tea Party movement and demographic trends which promise a grim future for their party and sacrificing the possibility of a larger, stronger and more inclusive party to preserve a status quo of big government, corruption and crony capitalism.

Apparently it is not enough for the political establishment and their elite allies to buy and sell elections through our corrupt campaign finance process. They also have to use the power of the media to decide which candidates the public even gets to hear from in the debates. For the RNC, which has a responsibility to steward the party and is answerable to its members, this may be a serious mistake. With the membership of the party aging and moving farther and farther from the political mainstream, the Republican party is desperately in need of new blood. It needs to attract young voters and independents, and the small-government, pro-liberty message which Gov. Johnson offers has a strong appeal to those groups.

In the interest of keeping the same interest groups and leaders in control of the party the RNC seems ready to throw away the party’s future.The party they so desperately want to keep under their control will become smaller and less relevant as the country moves on. They seem to have embraced Satan’s maxim from Paradise Lost. They would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. In making that short-sighted choice they have failed in their one fundamental function. They have failed to lead.

If you share our concern and want to see the RNC and other party organizations giving every candidate a far chance, sign the Fair Primary Pledge on our main page.

Aug 01 2011

The NRSC is Already Repeating the Mistakes of 2010

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In 2008 the National Republican Senatorial Committee spent millions of dollars in Republican primaries to keep incumbents in office and keep dynamic challengers with new ideas and real drive for reform out of office. They supported candidates like Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter who took their money and then left the Republican Party. They supported insider hacks like Trey Grayson against grassroots candidates like Rand Paul. In many cases their efforts failed, but in several states they likely cost Republicans seats in the Senate. If the money they spent in primaries had been saved for the general election Republicans might well control the Senate today. The NRSC’s record for 2010 was disastrous for the party and they squandered the money of their contributors.

A lot of rank and file Republicans saw what the NRSC did in 2010 and decided they’d had enough. Donations to the NRSC are down and as a result their Democrat counterparts have been outfundraising them this year. Republican voters who are serious about reclaiming government for the people are increasingly deciding to give their money to groups they trust and candidates they believe in rather than to establishment groups like the NRSC who have made preserving a status quo of perpetual incumbency their priority. The people want change and the NRSC stands for nothing but more of the same.

Now it appears that the NRSC has learned nothing from their mistakes in 2010 and they are already beginning to use their money and influence to pick winners and losers in the 2012 Republican primaries. They are taking money raised from Republican donors who want a party which has the best candidates and remains true to its principles and giving it to insiders who have already failed the party and failed the people over and over again. Some of those they are supporting are among those Senators who are at the top of the list of those who most Republicans would like to see replaced by new leaders with more conservative principles.

Top on the list of NRSC beneficiaries is Utah’s 5-term Senator Orin Hatch who has been in office too long and become jaded and out of touch with the people.

In 2010 when the other Senate seat in Utah came up for election the NRSC put their money behind incumbent Senator Bob Bennett who was so unpopular with the people of Utah that he came in third to two Tea Party candidates, ultimately being replaced by Liberty Republican Mike Lee who has already emerged as a leader in the movement for serious fiscal conservatism in the Senate.

The people of Utah are eager to replace 30 year incumbent Orin Hatch with someone new and dynamic, and the NRSC has already committed to supporting Hatch, giving him over $43,000 before the election has really even gotten off the ground. Tea Party groups have been protesting the NRSC’s involvement, but they seem determined to repeat the mistakes of 2010 letter for letter.

Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana is another 30 year incumbent Senator who has lost the support of the grassroots. Yet the NRSC has decided to back him against a primary challenge from a Tea Party candidate with a strong popular following.

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine hasn’t been in office as long as Lugar and Hatch, but she is consistently rated as one of the most unpopular Republican Senators among Republican voters because of her poor record on fiscal issues and her efforts to tax and regulate the internet. She votes with the Democrats far too often on budget issues and is out of touch with the increasingly fiscally conservative thrust of the Republican Party. She faces two grassroots challengers in 2012, yet the NRSC has already committed to support her campaign.

The NRSC seems not to understand how angry most Republicans are with the failed policies of the big spending, irresponsible insiders who have been running the party and holding office for far too long. When confronted on this issue, NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh announced that they intended to “assist every incumbent who is facing a competitive or potentially competitive (primary) race.”

All Republicans want to see the Senate taken from the Democrats, but not necessarily at the cost of electing the same failed leaders to offices they have held for far too long. Tea Party groups are outraged by the actions of the NRSC’s commitment to a system of perpetual incumbency. Incumbents already have huge advantages and giving them more money to make it as hard as possible to remove them from office works against the best interests of the people and the party.

Republicans are as unhappy with their party leaders as they are with President Obama and they are demanding that groups like the NRSC stay out of primaries and focus their efforts on defeating Democrats in the general election for the good of the GOP and for the good of the nation. Rotation in office stimulates better government and endless incumbency breeds indifference and corruption. A level playing field in primary elections gives the people a chance to be heard and vote for the changes in leadership we need.

A slightly different version of this article appeared previously on Blogcritics Magazine.

Jul 30 2011

New Fair Primary Video

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We’ve completed our first basic informatonal video. Nothing too fancy, but it gets to the point.

Jul 28 2011

The NRSC’s Dismal History of Backing the Wrong Horse

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There are many negative consequences which can result from party organizations taking sides in primary elections, but the worst trend we saw in 2010 was in Senatorial races where the National Republican Senatorial Committee repeatedly got involved in primaries, backed a party insider who then lost the primary and decided to leave the Republican Party and run as an independent and then also lose the general election. This example of terrible decision making by the NRSC is one of the main things which has raised awareness among Republican voters that party insiders do not share the same beliefs or support the same kinds of candidates which they do.

In Florida the NRSC stepped in to endorse Governor Charlie Crist in the Senatorial primary against popular Tea Party candidate Marco Rubio. Crist lost the primary then turned independent and ran against Rubio again in a three way election and lost that election too. Now Rubio is one of the rising stars in the Senate and the NRSC looks incredibly foolish.

They did the exact same thing in Pennsylvania backing Arlen Specter who also lost in the primary, went independent and ultimately lost the Senate seat to Pat Toomey. Toomey wasn’t even an outsider radical, but a well established former Congressman with an excellent reputation who has already proven to be an outstanding asset to the party in the Senate.

Similarly the NRSC also backed party insider Trey Grayson against Rand Paul in Kentucky, backed Lisa Murkowski against Joe Miller in Alaska and helped scuttle the Christine O’Donnell campaign in Delaware as well. And as we all know, Rand Paul has turned out to be the most impressive freshman Senator of those elected in 2010.

In these cases the NRSC not only picked the less popular candidate solely because they were an establishment insider, but also ended up wasting money they could have spent in the general election to beat the Democrats. Spending the donations of Republican voters to support candidates who those voters oppose and then having lose the primary, abandon the party and then lose again as independents is so incredibly embarassing that the NRSC ought to stay out of future primaries out of pure shame.

Imagine the additional Senate seats Republicans could have won in 2010 if the money wasted by the NRSC trying to control the outcome of primaries had been saved and spent on key states in the general election. At the very least they could have used that money to assure the defeat of Harry Reid who won reelection by a narrow margin in Nevada. So thank the NRSC every time the Democrat majority blocks a vote in the Senate and you see Harry Reid smirking about it.

Jul 28 2011

The Ineffectiveness of RNC Rule 11a

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Someone recently contacted us claiming that our efforts were unnecessary because the Republican Party Rules prohibit party organizations from spending money or interfering in primaries. Quite a shocking revelation considering all the meddling the RNC did in the 2010 election. If there’s a rule against it I guess none of that ever happened.

What they were referring to is Rule 11a of the RNC’s Rules of the Republican Party (PDF) which reads in part:

“The Republican National Committee shall not, without the prior written and filed approval of all
members of the Republican National Committee from the state involved, contribute money or in-kind aid to
any candidate for any public or party office except the nominee of the Republican Party or a candidate who is
unopposed in the Republican primary after the filing deadline for that office.”

That sounds great, but the problem is that its not all that difficult to get the agreement of all of the RNC members from a state as that consists of exactly three people who are usually well established party insiders who are likely to be the ones pushing for the RNC to back one of their cronies against some grassroots upstart in the first place. It’s a classic example of the fox watching the hen house and as a curb on the RNC meddling in the primary it’s worthless.

In addition this rule only applies to the RNC and has no impact on state parties, county parties or party groups like the Republican National Senatorial Committee or the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. So basically Rule 11a is almost no impediment to party insiders who want to control primaries, which explains what went on in Delaware, Kentucky and Florida in 2010.

So if you want fair primaries, the Fair Primary Pledge is still the way to go and don’t believe those who claim that the RNC has cleaned up their act. Under the current leadership we have every reason to expect them to interfere more in 2012 than they ever have before. So join us in working to keep our GOP primaries open, honest and fair.