The turmoil within the Craven County Republican Party is a symbolic, localized representation of the nationwide struggle between limited-government forces and statist establishment types for the soul of the GOP.
Thursday evening, county party leaders met and made two bold decisions: (1) to bring charges against county party chairman Paul Hill (see details HERE, HERE , HERE and HERE) and (2) to issue a public rebuke of senator Richard Burr for his comments and actions during the effort to defund ObamaCare.
The unrest appears to have its roots in the May 2012 GOP primaries. State House speaker Thom Tillis and other establishment types from Raleigh were accused of meddling in local primaries and attempting to sabotage conservative candidates. Craven County GOP leaders responded by issuing a resolution of censure against Tillis. Sources on the ground in Craven tell me that Hill acted in concert with state party leaders in Raleigh to sabotage the censure effort and thwart the will of local Republicans. My sources tell me that Hill’s actions regarding the censure were only the tip of the iceberg. I am told frustrations with Hill’s management of the local party have been growing over a period of months and months. Hill’s reaction to the censure, I am told, were merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
My Craven sources tell me that Hill has 30 days to formally respond to the charges brought against him. At that point, a vote of no confidence will be held. It will require a 2/3 majority vote to remove Hill from office.
I spoke with one of the anti-Hill movement leaders within the Craven County GOP, who told me:
Under Mr. Hill, the local party has been a mess […] It’s not about growing the party and promoting the party platform. It’s been all about preserving and protecting political perks and power for Mr. Hill and his clique of cronies. […] Mr. Hill and his group have been working hard to shut conservatives out of positions of influence in the local party. Mr. Hill has ignored the will of party leaders — especially on things that have passed with a majority vote. […] There is no fundraising mechanism in place for the local party. There is absolutely no support in place for candidates in the 2013 municipal elections.
I asked another Craven GOP source about the resolution rebuking North Carolina’s GOP senator:
ObamaCare is the most serious threat our country has seen in a long time. The state Republican Party condemned the law in its party platform. The RNC passed a resolution demanding Republican leaders in Congress do anything and everything possible to kill off ObamaCare. Burr HAD his marching orders. Instead, he ridicules a serious effort to kill off ObamaCare, and makes statements helping Obama defend it.
NCGOP chairman Claude Pope and his team need to wake up and smell the coffee. There is a lot of anger and resentment at the grassroots level. I see and hear a lot of it here at this site. I talk to a lot of people around the state. The folks in Craven have been a lot more outspoken than others around the state. But the feelings expressed there are very similar to what I am seeing and hearing from other parts of the state.
Pope talked a good game, during his campaign, about unifying the state GOP. Whatever he’s trying, it isn’t working. Raleigh needs to rethink and adjust its game plan if it wants to avoid some very nasty surprises that thwart a potentially fantastic electoral opportunity in 2014.