March 27, 2013

RIGOP: Knock It Off!

Patrick Laverty

This story sounds way too much like the long car trips when the kids in the back seat get on each others' nerves enough to where the parent screams "Do I have to separate you two?!?" This might be necessary with the state's Republican party.

I'm sure by now, most Anchor Rising readers are familiar with the events that have transpired in the last week or so with regard to the state party's chairmanship election. Last Thursday evening, a vote was held and Mark Smiley received one more vote than Daniel Harrop. However, one more vote was cast than the number of checked in voters. The current chairman, Mark Zaccaria did what was probably the smartest move, and nullified the election and rescheduled a new vote for April 2. Then in the ensuing three days, he did some investigating and found out that the extra vote was legitimately cast and then reversed his decision, nullifying the nullified vote and declaring Smiley the Chairman.

Whether the actual result is correct isn't the point to me. This kind of decision reeks of some third-world, banana republic dictator election. The body is supposed to simply trust that this decision was made above-board and honestly by Zaccaria? Quite possibly, and very likely, it was. Again, this isn't the point. If we have that level of trust in one person, why don't we simply hand all the ballots to Mr. Zaccaria, let him go into a closed room and come out and tell us who won?

In my opinion, this is where Mr. Smiley should have refused the decision of the chair and insisted on the re-vote on April 2

Now, more accusations are starting to fly. A group that goes by the name of "Youth for the Future of the Republican Party" is trying to smear Mr. Smiley by referring to one of his advisors as a "bigot." Even worse, they're doing this anonymously. To the members of this group, you're doing no favors to the future (or the present!) of the Republican party. You're harming it. It is in extremely poor taste to bring these things out in the public. This is an in-family discussion, not something for public consumption. You are embarrassing yourselves and the rest of the party. Additionally, if someone wants to make a point like this, they should have the gumption to stand up in front of the body and make the statements to the entire group before the election! None of their accusations are new news. Bringing these out less than a week after the election really does reek of sour grapes and extremely poor form.

If Dr. Harrop is not behind these messages, he should come out and condemn them and ask the group to stop. They are not helping his image.

Lastly, Dr. Harrop is challenging that he was unaware of who the voters would be. According to an article in today's Providence Journal by Phil Marcelo:

In his complaint, Harrop argues he was never given a final list of who had registered to vote the day of the party’s state central committee election.
He pointed to Cynthia Fagan, a Coventry resident who, shortly before the Thursday vote, was allowed to cast a ballot in place of Virginia Soucy, a committee delegate from Coventry.
“We were never able to challenge her credentials [because] we did not even know she was coming or would be there,” Harrop wrote. “I cannot lodge a protest against the voting rolls if I do not know the voting rolls.”
I admittedly am not a member of the RIGOP, but I was previously. I was also a backup delegate for my home town. Maybe the rules have changed, but my understanding was that I could go to the meeting and vote if the person I was backing up was unable to attend. I was never aware of any deadline that the main delegate had to announce that he would not be attending the meeting and for me to fill in. That's all this sounds like.

I'm hoping that calmer heads will prevail and the party will decide to follow through on the original decision, to have a new election on April 2, and that it will be handled fairly and to a conclusion. At that point, the party will need to rally around it's new chairman and put past differences aside. If that's not possible, maybe they will need to be separated. The "opposition party" clearly can't do it's job if it is constantly battling itself. So RIGOP members, especially those that end up on the losing end of this chairman's vote, ask yourself what is more important, fighting with other Republicans or fighting to fix the state in a direction you believe in? We're going to need that answer very soon.

Addendum: In the comments below, Dr. Harrop does condemn the anonymous attack messages being sent. Thank you, Dr. Harrop.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

A quick response: As to this attack group, I -believe- I know who did it, I have no -actual- proof, I did -not- see it before it went out, I -condemn- these types of anonymous attack ads. (I am surprised the press took such an interest in something like this.) Throughout the campaign there is no record of my attacking my opponent. Please note I have refrained from interviews and press releases since the vote on Thurday. Yes, I am pursuing my appeal rights, quietly and through appropriate channels. I also suggested a compromise to our National Committeeman on Friday that we BOTH withdraw and let new candidates enter with an election in 30 days.

Posted by: Daniel Harrop at March 27, 2013 2:35 PM

"Moura said that her comments followed a Tuesday email from Harrop or his supporters, which made reference to a Republican Assembly Christmas party a few years ago where a parody skit making a joke about illegal aliens was performed.

"He's talking about the same stuff that I saw as being problematic when I was there," Moura said. "I can tell you that mocking illegal aliens at an event could be offensive to some people. My comment was more to the fact that I was there and i witnessed that exact event.""

That's former State Senator Beth Moura writing on Harrop's facebook timeline from GoLocal. And this is from the ABC6 site;

The press release accuses Smiley of associating with and endorsing people they deemed to be bigoted. "Several years ago, at the RI Republican Assembly Christmas party, Mr. Smiley's acknowledged principal advisor, the man who has accompanied him to almost every city and town committee meeting over the course of the past few months, and the man who helped to engineer a reprehensible smear campaign against Dr. Daniel Harrop, this man being Steven DeNuccio, put on a bigoted "parody" skit called "Juan, the illegal alien Arbol Tree," as a "joke." Some Assembly members found it funny; some were aghast."


Are you saying that the Republicans should "knock off" putting on skits like the one Moura and the anonymous email describes?

Posted by: Phil Spadola at March 27, 2013 6:50 PM

Yes Phil, thanks for helping to show my point.

Posted by: Patrick at March 27, 2013 7:24 PM

I'm glad to hear that you do get the point. It sounded as though you were advocating against transparency.

Posted by: Phil Spadola at March 27, 2013 8:56 PM

This is generally directed towards the "mystery email" writer, or those who may have been supportive of the effort.

If people had a problem with the comedy skit which was done at a private, fun event, they should have mentioned it at the time, or very shortly thereafter, and not sat on whatever they may have been feeling for several years.

Of course, none of this is really about the skit, which by the way was actually about the "holiday tree" controversy.

As for Harrop, and I thank him for his comments, I have no doubt that he did not know about the letter in advance, because frankly I don't think this helped him, the party, or anyone else for that matter.

Since we're talking about things posted on other websites, this is from ABC6:

..."At least one prominent RI Republican, Carlos Lopez Estrada, fled the room in disgust," the release read. Estrada, who is Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's chief of staff said he never stormed out of any party in disgust. Fung openly endorsed Harrop as chair prior to the vote but when Smiley was determined the winner sources say Fung quickly reached out to Smiley to congratulate him...

Posted by: Joe at March 27, 2013 11:06 PM

Mark Smiley is a close friend, and he told me Fung never reached out to him. In fact, he's probably behind the smear campaign. The entire moderate side of the party aren't really republicans anyways.

Posted by: Jack at March 28, 2013 5:59 AM

Thanks for perfectly illustrating the problem Jack. What exactly is a Republican anyway in your eyes?

Posted by: Patrick at March 28, 2013 10:00 AM

Anyone who promotes pro-gun, pro-traditional marraige, and pro-life qualities like Mark Smiley

Posted by: Jack at March 28, 2013 11:49 AM

I guess you made your point Jack. You're just trolling against Mark Smiley. Or against the whole RIGOP itself. You almost had me believing that you are a Smiley supporter. Thanks for helping.

Posted by: Patrick at March 28, 2013 11:56 AM

When somebody asserts that probably 80% of the RIGOP aren't "really Republicans" based on a series of exclusions, it's pretty clear they're just trying to cause a ruckus.

Posted by: Dan at March 28, 2013 1:24 PM

Smiley announced on Newsmakers that initially he had no problem with homosexual marriage provided there was some protection for religious institutions. Poppycock!~ He announced on Buddy Cianci show last week that he feels it is a civil rights issue. Way to go Smiley... at last a RIRA member who endorses MARRIAGE EQUALITY! yAY!

Posted by: John at March 31, 2013 12:52 AM
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