Nope, we’re not talking about either of THESE two chuckleheads.
This one is Michele Woodhouse, married to Dallas and Brad’s cousin Eddie. She’s a former congressional district chairman and congressional candidate who is reportedly taking a serious look at the NCGOP state chairmanship.
There has been no word on whether Michael Whatley will seek reelection as party chairman. His run for RNC vice-chairman was an utter disaster. He’s been an outspoken defender of Thom Tillis and has presided over a statewide decrease in registered Republicans and Republican Members of Congress.
Will Knecht of the New Hanover County GOP is reportedly the establishment favorite to succeed Whatley.
The two most famous Woodhouses have not been very good for conservatives. But Michele appears to be an outlier in the family. She has emerged as a leading critic of Thom Tillis and an advocate for his censure. She is a vocal supporter for keeping the GOP platform, and the party as a whole, conservative.
We’ve had some contact with her here at Haymaker HQ. So far, we see her as a radical, refreshing polar opposite of both Brad and Dallas.
Michele Woodhouse has been active in the NCGOP for two decades. She and her husband Eddie Woodhouse were fixtures in Raleigh when Eddie served on the Raleigh City Council.
A Michele Woodhouse run could prove interesting. But, remember Hasan Harnett. Only changing out the top two positions doesn’t “fix” the party. The party HQ building needs to be fumigated, and a statewide purge of party officials at the local and regional levels needs to happen. If it doesn’t, the elected reformers can simply be slandered and run off like Hasan was.
12 thoughts on “ANOTHER Woodhouse?”
We badly need a change at NCGOP. Whatley runs it like his own little private club and that needs to change. Michelle seems to have the right skill set, and the right attitude. Whatley is a Tillis guy and we definitely do not need that with Tillis posturing as a possible candidate for governor.
I expended a lot of my precious personal energy trying to help reform the ncgop over the years and I’m done with that. Just not worth bashing my skull repeatedly against a brick wall. Until conservatives wake up and organize their own party, I’m on the sidelines.
I understand your sentiment but somehow the like minded need a way to organize our own cult to stay in communication with each other and have a place for the frustrated to go so one day there might be enough of us to do something good
I’d like to talk to you about that, Toxhandler. Please message me on my Facebook page, and let’s figure out a way to connect. Thanks!
I don’t do social media, but thanks for the consideration.
When I first became active in the Republican Party in the early 1970s, we used to pride ourselves that we were a party that operated from the bottom up instead of from the top down like the Democrats. That had a brief hiccup when Holshouser took over the party and purged conservatives in 1973, but quickly fell back into place after that. Up through the chairmanship of Jack Hawke, which ended in 1995, that arrangement prevailed, and to have a strong party, that is what we need to get back to.
Jack’s successor, Jim Hastings did not openly start the top down approach but did some things behind the scenes in that direction. It went further under Sam Currin in 1997 and then full bore under Bill Cobey and his immediate successors whom some on the old Talking About Politics discussion board labeled the “Cobey dynasty”. That is when the top-down approach began to suffocate the party.
The NCGOP is now deep in “top down” territory, little different in that regard from the Democrats. Political talent too often gets frustrated in that environment and leaves.
There is a lot that needs changing, and means substantive things, not only just talking about being pro-grassroots. Hassan Harnett talked a good game in generalities, but never put any specifics to them in running or in serving. If he had really started making some of the substantive changes that are needed, he probably would have made himself too strong to be taken out, but he didn’t.
There is a lot that needs to be done in the party, and the state chairmanship is just the tip of the iceberg. Whoever runs needs to take a deep look at the overcentralization that has occured since 1995 and put forward a solid plan to address it.
Steven Rader Chairman sounds really nice to me
Thank you Patrick, but I would rather get involved in helping someone who is committed to reinstituting a bottom-up arrangement in our party, Michelle Woodhouse, for example, having been on the Central Committee recently, would in a better position to have the inside knowledge that would be helpful in making needed changes. I haven’t been on the Central Committee since 1997. Yes, I have been on the state Executive Committee since then, other than the six years I was overseas advising the pro-western political parties in Moldova, but the executive committee in recent years has been largely shut out of its proper role in party affairs. Heck, right now, the party is probably spending money for whatever it wants even though it has no authority to do so since the executive committee has not passed a budget. They haven’t even bothered to call a meeting to consider the budget since the fiasco in December.
It used to be that proposals were put to the executive committee for votes, usually following oral reports, but Chairman Bob Bradshaw even submitted a written campaign plan of over 80 pages for the 1986 election to the state executive committee for approval. Now, the role of the executive committee has been limited to rubberstamping a rather vague budget and listening to an incessant parade of unnecessary reports.
A lot of the concentration of power has resulted from the change from having open elections for the state officers elected by the executive commitee to having the state chairman dictate who they will be. Those six central committee officers now owe their positions personally to the state chairman, instead of to the executive committee as a whole, and that changes the chemistry of the central committee and not in a good way. The executive committee no longer has its voice on the central committee, and the state chairman has a power bloc who owe their seats to him / her.
Even the year the Holshouser people purged the party of most conservatives, there were open and competitive elections for those party offices. The meeting to elect those officers after the 1973 state convention was my first meeting as a member of the state executive committee, and there were contested races for most of those offices, with new state chairman Tom Bennett not taking sides or endorsing anyone. That arrangement of free and open elections for those positions continued until 1997 when chairman Sam Currin personally nominated candidates for each of those offices, although other people ran and those races were still competive. His successor, Bill Cobey played the slate game and did not even open the floor for other nominations. Some subsequent chairmen still opened the floor for other nominations, and there was one instance of the chairman’s candidate losing a race for Assistant Secretary to someone nominated from the floor.
The three times I was elected as General Counsel, I had to run my own race, send out mailings, and make phone calls and personal contacts. The two state chairmen serving then, Jack Hawke and Jim Hastings did not get involved in my race or in the case of Hawke, any race. Hastings pulled some strings behind the scenes that most were unaware of to push two incumbents (secretary and assistant general counsel) out of their positions. That is the way all of these offices ought to be elected, with each candidate stating their case to the executive committee, not the state chairman dictating from above.
Now, when there is a vacancy in one of these offices in the middle of a term, there is not even notice to the committee of the vacancy that would allow anyone else to come forward to run. It is dictated from the top.
Getting state chairmen to stop strongarming the elections for these officers is but one critical step in restoring a bottom-up flow of power. This is also one of the things that Hassan Harnett failed to do.
I think a role I would be better suited to is helping someone else who has been more on the inside in recent times help get the party back to a grassroots-friendly operation than running for anything myself.
Steve, you have very accurately described the Whatley cabal. He handpicks little minions who will do exactly as he says, and then he strong arms them into position. I voted for him the first time he ran. It was a sad mistake that I will never repeat. With McDaniel as head of the RNC and with Whatley head of the NCGOP, why be a Republican? We tell “conservative” Democrats (there’s no such thing) that their mere registration as a Democrat empowers Pelosi and Shiff. Our registration as Republicans empowers McDaniel and Whatley.
People often confuse Conservative and Republican. While Republicans are not, by definition, conservative, the only place for conservatives is the Republican party. It’s really discouraging with people like Whatley, Timmy, and Berger doing their best to rid the party of conservatives.
Whatley just fell into a pattern that had existed for years. If Hassan Harnett had a better understanding of the party, he could have probably fixed much of the problem, but he never really tried. Having a state chairman who talks a good game about supporting the grassroots is not enough. What is needed is someone who will take the bull by the horns and undo the institutional changes that have crushed the influence of the grassroots. That really goes back to the Hastings – Currin – Cobey era.
Hastings was a finance guy who dreamed of being governor and saw being state party chairman as a path to that goal. He had never really worked on the organizational side of the party, so he served a term as Wautauga County chairman to get his feet wet, which was commendable. Unfortunately, he was indicted on tax charges and that sealed his political fate. Hastings wanted to hire someone from out of state to be ED, which a majority of the Central Committee opposed due to the lackluster performance of the Virginian hired at the request of chairman Bob Bradshaw (another finance guy) as ED. So Hastings just did not call a Central Committee meeting for months until his tax charges broke. At a headquarters staff meeting, Hastings described the Central Committee as “a dangerous group elected from around the state”.. Hastings took a leave of absence and then ultimately resigned. At that first central committee meeting, after approving Hastings’ leave of absence, someone moved to hire Jane Rouse, who had applied for the job, as ED and that was approved. Hastings blew a gasket over that and developed a vendetta at those be blamed for it. Jane was party vice chairman and became acting chairman as well as ED.
Currin defeated Jane by one vote (but there is a story there) for the full term and ran for reelection at the next convention, supported by Hastings. Hastings conditions of support for Currin were that Currin make certain some of those party officers that Hastings had a vendetta against not be reelected. That is why Currin went through and personally made a nomination for each of those offices. It was not a power play by Currin, but instead what he had to do to get Hastings’ support against the two other candidates running for chairman.
Cobey’s move was also not a power play by Cobey. In fact, Cobey was so new to party organization matters, his advisors set up his slate move on these officers. I still remember the stunned look of other members of the ExCom at that meeting at Meredith College to elect those officers. Since those officers had been personally nominated by Currin two years before, the people around Cobey wanted them all gone and the slate move was their anwer to do it. In reality, the only two incumbents I knew wanted to seek new terms were people who would not have been adversarial to Cobey at all, nor would the three other non-incumbents who I knew intended to be nominated but had that chance slammed shut.
This bit about the state chairman dictating the lower officers was all about vendettas and factional beefs, not a power move by either Currin or Cobey, but it institutionally changed power relationships within the party very adversely to the grassroots. Unfortunately, as often happens, subsequent chairmen enjoy having power and do not want to give it up. Hassan Harnett was guilty of that, too.
This is an institutional problem of the NCGOP, not something specific to any particular chairman, but, yes, Whatley is one of those who has taken advantage of this situation.
Many county GOP’s run their organization like a club and not a business. Including my own county. That has to change to get more people involved. They have looked at choices like Edwards and Tillis and walked away. I have not been engaged in leadership at state level until the last few years; but I can say this, if we don’t elect republicans that have a biblical world view, we cannot save the party much less unite them. The founders used the bible for guidance in nearly everything they did and we should all know by this point, our story is already written. People have to read it again with the constitution beside it. Study both. I see no other way.
Most of these comments seem to have lost sight of the operative statement in the original post “Will Knecht seems to be the establishment choice to succeed Whatley”. Who is this establishment? No one that I know. I do recall a very tight State Chairman election in 2019 when the New Hanover delegation, either not properly credentialed or registered in time, were given their allotted votes after a questionable ruling by the Parliamentarian, resulting in a win for Chairman Whatley. Who was behind that manipulation? What was their reward? As a good friend always says, “Politics is a dirty business” at which the Dems are better players than the GOP. What is needed is leadership, at all levels, who will work in the trenches, plan, ambush and beat the other side at their own game as my America is worth fighting for and saving. Kudos to Steven Rader who brings much party history to light and how we got to our present “here”.
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