By Roy Wesley
For the MercerGOP, the chickens have come home to roost. Considering that the reason I was forced out as county chairman was to prevent the Republican election wipeout in Mercer County that just occurred, the current leadership has some explaining to do, since they led the charge to get me out.
To begin with, my detractors said there were candidates in the wings waiting for me to resign. Good candidates, they said, would not run a long as I was chairman. In addition, they implied, not very subtlety, either, they could and would raise the money needed to win elections that I could not and did not raise and were so much better at doing it, anyway. And, they would move the party in a new direction that would win the elections that I was blamed for losing. In retrospect, they were not only unsuccessful keeping the promises they had made, they did far worse in supporting their own county candidates than I did. When I was chairman, county candidates and got money, the use of the county headquarters as their campaign headquarters for free (In kind contribution) and a campaign management team, unless they chose to go it alone. The support I provided was far from perfect, and improvements were needed, which, I might add, my detractors could have helped provide, instead of spending every waking moment looking for ways to force me out!
In fact, there were no candidates waiting in the wings for me to resign, and it wasn’t until after the nominating convention, which took place over a month after my resignation, that all those candidates thought to be waiting in the wings were actually found and selected to run. The mountains of money promised were not raised for the county candidates or for local candidates either. In fact, it appears, less money was raised than when I was chairman, when both county and municipal candidates got money from the county’s campaign fund. And, their new direction ended with all the county candidates, as well as the 14th legislative district candidates that were their primary focus, losing badly.
As I have often said, county chairs do not win or lose elections, candidates do. But, county organizations under the leadership of the county chair or chairs can provide a base of support to assistant candidates, especially their own county candidates, organize their campaigns and develop a winning strategy. This is especially true, if their candidates have not run for office before. It also boosts the entire ticket, because it gives everyone the feeling someone is in charge and their moving in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the day I resigned, the county gave up its permanent headquarters, which served as the free campaign headquarters for the county candidates and let its primary source of operating revenue, the Capital Republican Club, go to seed. The Capital Club was also the primary vehicle for bringing active R epublicans together in the county to talk politics and exchange ideas.
For all their bluster and conniving, the new leadership has actually made things worse. If getting rid of me was their only goal, then, obviously, they were successful, regardless of their reasoning. But, if it was to make thing better, then, they failed miserably. Why are they still around?
Roy Wesley is the former chairman of the MCRC