In comments posted to the Beaufort County Now web site, Beaufort County GOP chairman Charles Hickman is criticizing state GOP leaders and demanding they apologize to activists from his county who were reportedly confronted in an aggressive manner at the recent state party convention:
During this primary season several switcheroo and otherwise suspect candidates have bragged about their support from powerful Republican power brokers. Some of this has been reported in Beaufort County Now, Beaufort Observer, Carolina Journal and other publications. Some of these alleged shenanigans directly affect our own districts. Other distressing situations occurred in neighboring districts, and we have heard bothersome stories from other parts of the state. We in Beaufort County have discussed these situations, and I have spoken with others about their situations. A few months ago our committee agreed on a resolution to send to the North Carolina Republican Party, a certain state level party caucus, and several key party members. I sent it with an introductory letter. I thought we were respectful but clear in laying out our concerns and our position.
The reports of this incident at the North Carolina Republican Convention have greatly troubled me. It is hard for me to believe that at least some involved would have been surprised that handbills of the type mentioned might circulate at the convention; local complaints have been ignored and allowed to fester. Our delegates should not have been threatened and bullied. Our delegations and executive committees are made up of volunteers who donate their time, efforts, and money to advance important principles. Our leaders should have more respect for the dedicated grassroots of this party. Mrs. Hult and any other abused parties deserve an apology.
It seems that some involved in the incident have denied the charges in the handbill. But, if I understand this exchange, it seems that the Speaker is asking for proof of the charges, then saying he has the right to meddle in primaries, and concludes with a threat of increased outside participation in our primaries in two years. If this is true, I view his plans with grave concern. Also, this gives more credence to the relevance of the questions in the handbill.
I think appropriate decorum and appropriate communication is important. But, both are a two way street, not a one way street. Roughshod top down dictation and intimidation should not and will not be tolerated. Many of us did not work to dismantle the long entrenched state Democratic machine for the purpose of building a mirror image Republican machine. Many of us want better government than we have had. There needs to be a more equitable and better working relationship between state and local party entities if we are to continue our recent election successes in North Carolina.