The HCGOP — along with the North Carolina Republican Party — has remained silent on the issue, until now.
“At this point there is no story because no charges have been made. But that did not stop the consummate purveyors of fact-free statements from trying to create a story,” said HCGOP Precinct Chair Ted Carr in a letter to The Smoky Mountain News on July 10.
On July 2, HRA member Eddie Cabe alleged in an email that he and fellow HRA members Jeremy Davis, Richard West and Paul Yeager had, during the closed session of a special called meeting, been charged with disloyalty and banned from party activity.
Cabe’s claim hinged solely on the word of local conservative activist and HRA member Monroe Miller, who is also paradoxically a member of the HCGOP’s executive committee and was also branded as “disloyal” in the alleged resolution.
Miller periodically authors a blog called Haywood County Toeprints, where he posted both hand-written notes he said he took during the May 23 meeting as well as a synopsis thereof.
Because Miller’s report could not be independently confirmed on the record, it was referred to as an “alleged” resolution in The Smoky Mountain News story from July 5.
When asked for comment on the matter July 2, Carr said it would be “inappropriate” for an executive committee member to reveal such closed-door proceedings; in his July 10 letter, he lamented that one unnamed executive committee member — presumably Miller “violated” that trust.
Repeated emails to HCGOP Chair Ken Henson and Debbie King seeking comment since July 2 have not been returned, and NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse refused to confirm or deny the existence of any such resolution, instead confirming that the state’s organizational plan does allow for such an action as well as offering insight into how such a resolution might come to pass.
The ability of a private organization to remove its own members is not in question, nor are the service and due process requirements laid out in the NCGOP’s governing documents.
Haywood County Democratic Party Chair Myrna Campbell said that such a process exists within the North Carolina Democratic Party as well, but she’d never heard of it being used in her 12 years of party work.
The NCGOP documents cited by Woodhouse say that formal charges of party disloyalty must be signed by the lesser of either 50 committee members or one-third of the committee, and then presented to the accused two weeks prior to any vote.
Formal charges are limited to gross inefficiency, party disloyalty or failure to comply with organizational plans.
Woodhouse said that the process would also “require/allow all sides to present their case for judgment.”
The “Haywood Five” all say they only knew about the alleged resolution because of Miller’s presence at the meeting, had received no prior notice, no opportunity to defend themselves and no notice of their supposed banishment.
Carr claims that the resolution is pure fabrication.
“No one was charged with ‘political party disloyalty,’” he said in his letter. “The article repeated a lie that a resolution was passed that would ‘bar individuals … from holding office … for five years.’”
“That is a fat blatant lie,” said Republican Terry Ramey by phone July 10.
Ramey said he was at the meeting with Miller, but because he wasn’t a member of the executive committee he was asked to leave.
While he doesn’t have firsthand information on what happened in the closed session itself, he said he waited around outside until, after mere minutes, the executive committee emerged.
Ramey — who said he is neutral on the HRA/HCGOP rift and has friends on both sides — confronted HCGOP Precinct Chair Denny King upon learning of the resolution and told him, “That’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in your life.”
Unlike Ramey, there is, however, someone else who does have firsthand information on the meeting.
Miller said on his website he’d obviously voted ‘no’ on the resolution naming himself and others as ‘disloyal’ Republicans, but the measure passed anyway, 12 to 2.
Who was the other ‘no’ vote?
“I have been a member of the Haywood County Republican Executive Board for many, many years,” said Johnnie Cure via text the evening of July 10. “I am the present chairperson of the Hazelwood precinct AND A VOTING MEMBER OF OUR EXECUTIVE BOARD [emphasis hers]. I was present at the HCGOP Executive Board closed session meeting on May 23,2017. I was, for your information, one of the two board members who voted AGAINST the resolution to declare five hard-working conservative Republican patriots to be disloyal to the Republican Party.”
Cure confirmed that she and Miller were the only two who voted against the resolution, and she attests to the absolute accuracy of his representation thereof.
“The absurd resolution to find these five loyal, hard-working patriots disloyal is an embarrassment to all Haywood County Republicans,” Cure continued. “If ‘they,’ whoever ‘they’ are, are denying the fact this resolution was read in a closed session and voted on and passed [and] are now backpedaling and calling [The Smoky Mountain News] a liar, Monroe Miller a liar and, by default, calling me a liar, then maybe this is simply a witch hunt?”
Ramey remarked that the whole situation was sad.
“Jeremy Davis [of the HRA] is one heck of a fundraiser, and Debbie King [Vice Chair of the HCGOP] is a great organizer, but here we are on two sides,” he said. “Nobody is winning.”