Archived Opinion

GOP turmoil continues, but facts do matter

GOP turmoil continues, but facts do matter

I’ve known Ted Carr many years, and he is not a liar.

That charge has been leveled against him by at least one supporter of the five members of the Haywood Republican Alliance whose loyalty to the party has been called into question.

Some background: The HRA is composed of Haywood County Republicans who have had, um, differences with the county GOP leadership and some of the candidates that leadership has supported. Those differences in philosophy and in political beliefs and in how to handle disagreements have led to noisy arguments in person and on social media. It’s not quite the greatest show on earth, but the infighting among Republicans in Haywood County over the last couple of years has been about as entertaining as the now-defunct circus that originally went by that description.

The state GOP sent a letter to two who associate with the HRA in May informing them they would be charged with trespassing if they attended Haywood County GOP events. And at the March GOP precinct meeting in Haywood, the more traditional Republicans took control of the party apparatus from those who associate with HRA. (We have to choose adjectives here for different groups, so let’s call the current leaders of the county party “traditional” and the HRA members “outliers,” since their new organization — the Haywood Republican Alliance — isn’t recognized by the state GOP).

We know that the traditional party leaders discussed what to do about the outliers at a recent closed session held by its executive committee. As it turns out, the executive committee contains at least two people who are more aligned with the outliers.

We reported that in that closed session party leaders passed a resolution that charged five members of the HRA with “party disloyalty.”

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Carr, a member of the GOP executive committee, told our newspaper that the terms we used to describe what happened in the executive session were incorrect. He said, in essence, that no one was charged with party disloyalty.

That prompted one the HRA’s supporters to promptly say that Carr was lying. All of this was in last week’s editing of The Smoky Mountain News.

So, that’s how we go to this point. Carr would not tell our newspaper what was said in closed session. He told our reporter, and later told me, that he was ethically obligated not to reveal what went on behind closed doors.

What he did say, however, was that the local party can’t make such a charge. And, before anyone could be deemed with being unloyal to the party, there would have to be a hearing at the state level and that anyone who was facing such a hearing would be given the opportunity to present their case to state party leaders.

I know Carr was choosing his words carefully in order not to violate his oath to keep closed session discussions closed. So he told us that, “no one was charged with ‘political party disloyalty.’ The article repeated a lie that a resolution was passed that would ‘bar individuals … from holding office … for five years.”

In the state GOP’s party rules, it does say if someone is indeed found to be disloyal to the party they could be barred from holding office as a Republican for five years. But it hasn’t happened yet.

Look, political infighting is as old as politics itself. Group people together and disagreements happen, plain and simple. We’ve dedicated a lot of ink to the fissures and fighting within the Haywood County GOP, and anyone can search our online archives to read these stories if they so choose. I’m not here to say who is right and who is wrong, though I will say the methods of some of the outliers leave a little to be desired and have been described by some as bullying and mean-spirited.

But, back to Ted Carr. He’s been a pretty steady presence in the county GOP during the hullabaloo of the last several years. He’s opinionated but also reasonable. He and I have had many discussions on politics over the years.

And he’s no liar. That, I can promise you.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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