October 4, 2005

More Dissension in RIGOP Ranks

Marc Comtois

According to this Chariho Times story, there is some dissension bubbling from below in the RIGOP, and, unsurprisingly, Mayor Laffey is involved.

Members of the South County Republican Coalition and the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee, two local republican organizations voted no confidence in the state party leader Patricia Morgan. Both groups are asking for her resignation.

The votes stem from dissatisfaction with the way a Republican State meeting was conducted on Tuesday September 13. The results of the meeting brought in $500,000 from the National Republican National Committee.

It is the contention of the two groups that Morgan and her fellow speakers used deception to garner a favorable vote. In order for the Republican National Committee to grant monies to state parties, party leaders must sign a letter to approve acceptance of the money. . .

Hopkinton resident Ernie Cormier, who is a member of the Hopkinton Town Committee, affirmed that he voted no confidence in Morgan because he felt she hoodwinked Republicans at the meeting. "The money brought in as a result of that meeting is going to be used to reelect Senator Chafee and that was not represented by Morgan, or the other speakers," said Cormier. Cormier stated that the issue is not specifically about Laffey, but about the bettering of the Republican Party.

Ken Mott, another member of the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee also stated that he was unhappy with the manner in which the meeting was held, and as a result, submitted a no confidence vote on Morgan.

Robert Manning, a known Laffey supporter and the Rhode Island Representative to the Republican National Convention who was also required to sign off on the measure said that he would if the voters presented him with a mandate. Manning stated that because there was a 4-1 vote in favor of accepting the money, he felt obligated to sign off on the measure. Manning refused to comment on whether or not he believed the meeting was handled in an honest manner. "I'm not going to give you an opinion on that, I'm the Republican Party's elected representative to the RNC, I'll let the delegates answer that," he said.

Morgan said that she doesn't intend to resign, although she takes the fact that Republicans are unhappy with her seriously. She said that the actual no confidence votes were politically inspired. In Morgan's opinion, Scott Bill Hirst, who has served as a Republican on Hopkinton's Town Council, has a personal vendetta against her, and is thereby leading the charge for her to step down.
Hirst is a member of both the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee, and the South County Republican Coalition.

"Scott Bill Hirst is behind this, he is very upset that he wasn't chosen as a delegate to the national convention two years ago and he's taken it very personally," said Morgan.

Morgan gave an assurance that the $500,000 will be used to benefit all "endorsed" candidates, from the senatorial candidate, down to the candidates for local school committees. When asked if the money will be used to benefit Chafee at Laffey's expense, she stated, "sure it will".

Morgan stated she finds it ironic that when Laffey ran for reelection in Cranston as the mayor, he received the endorsement, and money from the state party that his opponent wasn't extended. In Morgan's opinion, it's only now that the system is working against him that he sees it as corrupt.

Morgan stressed the fact that the money will be used to strengthen the Rhode Island GOP as a whole. "We're going to hire a director of voter identification, a communications director and a director of voter registration," stated Morgan.

Hirst said although he is no fan of Morgan, the situation is not the result of a vendetta, but of irresponsible leadership on her part. "She has a credibility problem, at least in some people's opinions, especially as far as the delegate issue...I think last Tuesday was particularly stupid in the way that meeting was handled," said Hirst. "If this was just a personal thing with me, why are all these other people going along with it".

What a soap opera.

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Unfortunately, I happen to know Scott personally. Hirst does nothing to help the party. He is always bringing it down, in any way he can. I find him very destructive to a party that is on the move.

Get over it!!!

When everyone sees the fruits of the 1/2 mill. on Election Night in 2006 maybe he will shut his mouth.

If he put half his energy towards the Democrats in this state, instead of always attacking his own party, we wouldn't be such a small party.

Posted by: Robert at October 4, 2005 4:38 PM

"Robert," I also happen to know Scott personally. Although I can attest from firsthand experience that Scott can be a bit quirky at times, his heart is usually in the right place. Scott is currently noncommittal regarding who he supports in the US Senate race. One thing that I think it very important here is that this isn't just Scott Bill Hirst venting (and I believe he would have every right to do so), as it is a considerable segment of the party at large which is sick of blindly playing "follow the leader" and not seeing any good come about as a result. To be perfectly honest, I don't care who leads the party, as long as they are providing real leadership and not more excuses for repeated failure.

I think one of the reasons why our party is in the mess that it's in, and has been in for a very long time, is that the leadership of the party generally doesn't reflect the views and attitudes of the rank and file members of it. This is not particular to RI, it is quite common nationwide. The RNC itself (this may surprise some libs) is not a conservative organization. Their willingness to sell out principle for political expediency time and time again reflects that. Unfortunately, too many within the RI Republican Party are "sheeple." People that are all too willing to do what they are told, in order to get some perceived benefit from it, or more often than not, because they fear retribution.

As for the $500,000.00 worth of in kind assistance (it's not cash!) from the RNC for "party building," if it actually ends up being used for party building, instead of "Chafee building," I will be a very happy camper (and I'd guess, the Laffey camp would be, too). Your hope is based on trust; trust needs to be earned. I'm much more concerned about the long-term health of the RIGOP as a viable alternative to the Democrat Party here, than I am about the fortunes of Sen. Chafee. A little over a year from now, the RIGOP will still be around. However, I absolutely believe that there will be a new senator representing us in DC (don't underestimate Laffey, as it appears the NRSC already has!).

Posted by: Will at October 4, 2005 6:18 PM

I found this paragraph in the Chariho Times article rather puzzling: "Morgan stated she finds it ironic that when Laffey ran for reelection in Cranston as the mayor, he received the endorsement, and money from the state party that his opponent wasn't extended. In Morgan's opinion, it's only now that the system is working against him that he sees it as corrupt".

Patricia Morgan seems to continue to have a big problem with the truth. As finance chair for the Laffey mayoral campaigns, I am in a position to know whether money came in from the RIGOP, as Morgan supposedly claims. Also, as a member of the RIGOP executive board, I would have knowledge of any endorsements that took place. Furthermore, these things are easily verified through campaign finance filings and meeting minutes.

Oddly, I have no recollection of either of Morgan's contentions having happened. In fact, after a quick review, I found no money coming in from the RIGOP to Steve Laffey. But, I did see how Steve Laffey gave the maximum contribution of $1000 to the RIGOP, each year over the last few years.

Does this woman even think before she talks?? Are you beginning to see the pattern here?

Posted by: Jim at October 4, 2005 6:24 PM

Why do these cluless clowns continue to make public fools of themselves by claiming they were mislead about the $500,000 when I KNEW how those funds were to be spent simply by listening to media reports on the subject long before the party meeting in question??
How embarrassing can it be that these party members never bothered to do their homework to stay informed on this subject??
And what does it tell you when Laffey and his minions are more interested in settling personal scores than in working hard to get ALL Republicans elected statewide in 2006??
Laffey is a cancer!!
It's only a matter of time before you all come to that realization.

Posted by: Tim at October 4, 2005 7:52 PM

I'm not going to respond to everything you said, as I don't want to waste electrons. However, as for "How embarrassing can it be that these party members never bothered to do their homework..."
The answer to the question is that you can't expect someone to "do their homework" in math class, when they're given an english book.
We were all told, repeatedly written to, and in other ways led to believe that the RNC's largess was about something that it was not.
The only time you heard anything about this on the radio, was after the the story broke. Not everyone listens to talk radio all day, every day; some people have jobs.
Laffey is probably the best thing to happen to this party in a generation. He's gotten it to face the fact that it doesn't (and in many ways, doesn't want to) stand for anything, other than protecting incumbents at any cost. Being a minion of someone yourself, you might not be able to see that clearly!

Posted by: Will at October 5, 2005 2:18 AM


My name is Russell Moore, I work for The Chariho Times, and I wrote that story. Email me if you get a chance, I'd like to talk to you in private.


Posted by: Russell Moore at October 11, 2005 12:26 PM


I'd like to speak with you too.


Posted by: Russell Moore at October 11, 2005 12:28 PM

I really enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the great work.

Posted by: Tom at March 6, 2006 7:07 PM



Posted by: IRS at March 26, 2006 1:14 AM