#ncgop: Pope OUT, MCHenry ally IN?

6120c515-87eb-4504-bbec-2038d4585050Sources tell me that members of the NCGOP Executive Committee were informed via email this morning that current state party chairman Claude Pope will not be seeking another term in office.

Over the weekend, a release came out touting 10th Congressional District GOP chairman Craig Collins for state party chairman and current vice-chairman Carolyn Justice for another term as vice-chairman. The 10th district is represented by Republican Patrick McHenry.  The release announcing Collins’s candidacy featured Dee Stewart — political right-hand to McHenry — as the official campaign contact.  

What happened with Pope?  One senior party source tells me:

“Claude was shown the door. The powers-that-be felt that Claude did not do nearly enough to tout McCrory and his agenda. Claude didn’t cheer loud enough for stuff like corporate welfare, raising the gas tax,  and expanding Medicaid.  So, in the eyes of some in Raleigh, he had to go.”

My inside sources tell me that Pope was pressured to leave thanks to a combined effort from McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Rep. Patrick McHenry, NCGOP vice-chairman Carolyn Justice, and various allies of those folks.

Here are some of the key tidbits from Dee Stewart’s release: ncgop

[…] Collins and Justice have received the endorsements of U.S. Senator Richard Burr, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Governor Pat McCrory, Lt. Governor Dan Forest and U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry, the Chief Deputy Majority Whip of the U.S. House.  Additionally, State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, State House Speaker Tim Moore and NCGOP State Chairman Claude Pope endorsed Collins and Justice. 

“As we head into the 2016 election cycle, the North Carolina Republican Party needs to be energized and organized like never before,” Collins said.  “As State Chairman, I will raise a tremendous amount of money for the Party and I’ll put together the best possible team to get in the trenches and build a powerhouse grassroots organization.  I am very excited to have Carolyn Justice, a conservative former legislator and talented Vice Chairman, teaming with me as we lead the way to victory.” 

“We must energize and organize our Party like never before if we are to carry North Carolina for our Republican Presidential nominee, re-elect Senator Burr and keep Governor McCrory and Lt. Governor Forest at the helm of our state in 2016,” Collins remarked. […] maxresdefault (1)

Some politically-active folks with long memories may remember Justice’s role as a junior state House member siding with Richard Morgan and Jim Black in their unholy alliance in 2003. Voters gave Republicans a slim majority in the state House, but backroom maneuvering by Morgan and a handful of allies threw control to the Democrats.  Justice prospered in the Democrat-controlled House, and even went as far as doing media interviews defending the Morgan-Black alliance.

Many political observers credit the Black-Morgan alliance in the House, and its mischief with redistricting, as a setback for the state  party that took roughly a decade to overcome.

There IS another candidate out there for consideration in the chairman’s race.   Hasan Harnett, a Cabarrus County-based activist, who has worked with the RNC in North Carolina on minority outreach, has thrown his hat in the ring for the chairman’s race.    Harnett also served as the 2014 campaign manager for 12th congressional district GOP nominee Vince Coakley.

29 thoughts on “#ncgop: Pope OUT, MCHenry ally IN?

  1. Run Forest RUN!!!!! Dan Forest once again shows the entire state why I have been right in attacking this artificial tea.

  2. Claude Pope had his flaws, but overall was an improvement from the sorts of state GOP chairmen we have had over the last decade or so. This seems like a step backwards.

    Dee Stewart has frequently been a hatchet man for the left wing of the NCGOP, so his prominence in this campaign turns my stomach. I remember all too well, for instance, the lies he put out at the last minute in the 2010 primary to stop conservative former Senator Fern Shubert’s return to Raleigh and send a squish instead. Last year, Stewart was also the smearmeister behind Tillis’ purge of conservative State Rep. Robert Brawley in the primary.

    McHenry’s connection to the failed Boehner leadership team which has betrayed the Republican platform and the GOP voting base is also off putting. McHenry himself just voted to fund Obama’s amnesty for illegal aliens by decree which qualifies him as a full fledged Obama Republican..

    I don’t know about the other guy and his resume seems a bit thin. What happened to the candidacy of the 6th district chairman? Hopefully we will get some other choices, but connections to Dee Stewart, John Boehner, and Richard Morgan are poison with this team.. Their top-down approach to the party is also a very, very bad sign. Grassroots endorsements of party leaders mean a whole lot more than of the politicians at the top.

    Lt. Governor Dan Forest’s involvement with this bunch is also a big concern. I will be more skeptical of him in the future.

    1. The 6th District Chairman, A.J. Daoud, has announced that he is running for re-election. Seems he toyed with the idea, and either dismissed it, or was told he wouldn’t have establishment support.

      Collins is not just chummy with McHenry, but was connected to Forest’s mother, Sue Myrick, as well. That probably accounts for his involvement.

  3. Again, I see the Lt. Governor in lock step with our far-from-conservative governor.

    You Forest allies need to STFU in every single intra-party squabble when you attack elected officials for not standing up to leadership. Just STFU.

    1. Congressmen Walter Jones and Mark Meadows stood up to that pathetic joke of a Speaker of the US House we have, Oboehner.

      1. Then he skipped the Netanyahu speech, just like Butterfield and Barack. He really is a piece of work.

        1. Jones hasn’t attended a Joint Session of Congress speech in over a decade. He always watches on tv. You are shilling.

          Todd Bennett

  4. Hassan’s introduction video is horrible, it’s something a child would put together. My advice for Constitutual conservatives and Liberty folks is to run Glen Bradley for chair or vice chair at the least if you want a fighting chance.

    1. Bradley would be an improvement over what is on offer so far, but he would need someone seasoned to advise him along the way as he bungled his last race for vice chairman by waiting too late to hit the ground. Most of those voting never knew of the connection between Justice and Richard Morgan. Odd that he has great political sense in dealing with the voters in a legislative campaign, but not in convention politics.

      I would also like someone whose background in the party is a little deeper than one term in the legislature, but then Bradley is definitely responsive to the grassroots which I am not sure either of the others are.

      Whoever runs needs to remember that Stewart runs very dirty campaigns like he did in the last chairman’s race he was involved in.

  5. Harnett may not be ready for prime time but we might survive his chairmanship. I personally feel the Party as we know it is on the brink because it has lost it’s way and these establishment cheerleaders for Republican liberalism and cronyism will kill us. I’ve fought to keep people I know from leaving the Party and staying in the fight but by next year I may be heading out to the Constitution Party as well.

    Notice how many times they inserted the word “conservative” when talking about Collins and Justice?

    God save us.

    1. Does the Constitution Party have ballot access in NC or anywhere?

      Realistically I think the odds of a new party arising come more from a split in the GOP, and the establishment keeps pushing all the buttons to bring that about. That was how the Reform Party arose in Canada not too many years ago to replace the Progressive Conservatives. Much of the Progressive Conservative infrastructure in western Canada simply defected to the Reform Party, and the Progessive Conservatives went into a downward spiral until they had only a handful of seats in the Atlantic provinces, The Reform Party absorbed the remnants and renamed itself the Conservative Party.

  6. Back when Pat McCrory and Art Pope were tight, McCrory made Art his budget director and recruited Claude (Art’s cousin) to run for NCGOP Chair. Art is no longer budget director as of last fall. Could they have had a falling out that trickled down to McCrory pulling his alliance with Claude? I also notice the Civitas group scorching McCrory’s budget in some of their latest posts, which further denotes to me that he and the Pope’s relationship is really on the fritz.

  7. “Claude was shown the door. The powers-that-be felt that Claude did not do nearly enough to tout McCrory and his agenda. Claude didn’t cheer loud enough for stuff like corporate welfare, raising the gas tax, and expanding Medicaid. So, in the eyes of some in Raleigh, he had to go.”

    Am I the only one that recalls the predictions of Claude catering TO these very interests? Anyone recall who this subset of conservatives making such predictions were? They were quite vehement in their disdain. As their aim was high and to the right to miss the target, their suggestions of trajectory will come w/ a dose of rock salt.
    AJ is very well liked among Conservatives of all stripes… but I do not see him being a cheerleader for republican progressives and they would work hard against him. I think he was shown this.

    1. I don’t see any comments about AJ Daoud here except that he had decided to run again for 6th district chairman instead of for state chairman. If he had run for state chairman, he would have been a much better option thatn the two we have.

      1. I did not mean to imply anything, I was simply following from your question. Yes he would be great candidate/chair and I think the Brass likes him…but right where is at.

  8. If all the NC thrones are full of RINO behinds, how do conservatives change anything for the better in this state?

    Never have I felt such hostility from my own Party. I expect garbage like this from the Dems, but the RINOs are taking it to a new low.

    Where does the GOP plan to make up the votes that it loses from conservatives? Can someone answer this question for me?

    1. “Where does the GOP plan to make up the votes that it loses from conservatives?”
      if the resolution for a closed primary that is circulating the county conventions is any clue… they are not looking for any votes from independents either.

  9. I read the email that was sent out by Stewart’s group on behalf of the ”team” and it is interesting in what it says and what it does not say.

    1) There is no political resume for Collins, although there is a thumbnail one for Justice. This is quite odd. One expects a certain amount of experience in politics to run for state chairman. Pope told us not only the positions he had held but his specific accomplishments. Does Collins have nothing of the sort to offer? Collins does give us specifics about his education, family, and church,, but not his political background.

    2) Collins runs a one-man law firm according to the email. How is he going to do that and fulfill the time demands of being a state chairman? A previous establishment candidate for state GOP chairman, Woody White withdrew from the race a few years ago over just that issue. Collins really needs to have a good explanation of this. Does he plan to ask for a salary?

    3) Collins is openly using a consultant to handle his race, something that is quite unusual. Leaving aside that the specific consultant is rather controversial, the use of any consultant raises questions. Most state chairman candidates have handled their own campaigns. If someone does not have the political savvy to run their own campaign for state chairman, do they have the political savvy to BE state chairman? Or is it that he does not have the time to do so? But that is also an issue as to being capable of doing the job.

    1. Lets look at the options of a lawyer with a one man law office serving as state GOP chairman:

      1) He could wind up his law practice and serve as a full time salaried state GOP chairman, devoting his full time to the position. This would be the best case for the party, but would leave the chairman having to rebuild a law practice after his term was over.

      2) He could continue his law practice full bore and give what spare time he had to the party. This might not allow enough time to do the job of state chairman.

      3) He could try to juggle both balls, cutting back his law practice to give more time to do party work. That might involve some salary. It might also put him at risk of, say, a Democrat judge setting a multi-week case of his for trial in October preceding an election.

      Any candidate in this position owes it to the delegates to spell out what he intends, and also what salary, if any, he seeks.

    2. ” If someone does not have the political savvy to run their own campaign for state chairman, do they have the political savvy to BE state chairman?”
      If indeed he is a company man he will not need his own compass.

      1. That much is obvious. It was rather poor strategy to announce their candidacies, and at the very same time announce that they had the endorsements of the Governor, Lt. Governor, and both US Senators. That basically screamed that the fix was in. They should have waited for a little while after their announcement before divulging that.

        1. One of the biggest problems plaguing the NCGOP is that a large enough portion of the delegates WANT to be told for whom to vote. They WANT to know the fix is in so they know what to do. Not having to think about that lets them worry about more important things, like planning which hospitality suites to go to and in what order.

        2. There is so much more strategy in the way they have handled this that it reeks of arrogance. They in their tight power clique dictate to the little people the way things will be. We little people are not supposed to have any say in the matter.

          The Republican Party used to pride itself in being different from the Dmeocrats, in that the Democrats operated as a top down operation, and Republicans functioned in a bottom up manner, with much more internal party democracy. If we let the power bullies have their way, we will be more top-down than the Democrats. That is utterly repulsive.

  10. I did a bit of research on Collins’ performance as 10th District chairman by reviewing the campaign finance reports of the district organization over the past two years (I do not know if he was district chairman before that since his handlers have not graced us with a political resume) and they do not reflect a very active or successful district chairman.

    As to fundraising, there is little money collected outside of the delegate fees for the district convention. For the most part, they just sat on that money, around 3K and did no political activities to help candidates. There is only one outgoing political contribution, $250 to the state GOP.

    This is not the record of a district chairman who is state chairman material.

    1. Well, that assessment depends on what you’re looking for in a State Chairman. If you’re a governor who’s looking for a State Chairman who will reliably cheerlead your initiatives to raise fuel taxes, implement toll roads, and arrange for corporate welfare, then a guy who sits around waiting to be told what to do is just the ticket.

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