December 15, 2006

Carcieri Confirms: Morgan Out as RI GOP Head

Marc Comtois


During his interview with WPRO's Dan Yorke last night (audio not up yet), Governor Carcieri confirmed that current Rhode Island Republican Party Chair Patricia Morgan would be stepping aside. Let the speculation begin.

UPDATE: ProJo 7to7 confirms:

Patricia Morgan said today that she won't seek another term as the head of the state Republican Party.

"I really have enjoyed being a chairman," Morgan said, noting that she believes she's the longest-serving GOP leader in state history. "It's been challenging at times, it’s been frustrating, but I do think I’ve made a difference – and that’s my legacy to the party."

The decision to step down, Morgan said, was made "in concert with the governor" during a closed-door meeting at the State House last Friday.

By tradition, Governor Carcieri would make the decision on whether Morgan, 56, should stay or whether the GOP should turn elsewhere for leadership as it tries to rebound from widespread losses in the November elections.

In an interview with The Journal last month, Morgan said she would like to be reappointed to the post she held for the past four years. Today, she refused to say why she changed her mind.

"It's time to move on," she said. "I loved being chairman, I loved meeting all the people and helping to build the organization. It’s been a great experience. But maybe it’s time to let someone else have that experience."

Morgan will lead the Rhode Island Republican Party until March, when the state party will elect a new chairman.

WPRO is reporting this as well. Apparently, Gov. Carcieri said that Morgan came to him to offer her resignation, something that Morgan wouldn't confirm to WPRO. Interesting.

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Unless we weed out all the double agents in the party, we'll never be able to move forward, regardless of who's the head banana.

Posted by: Greg at December 15, 2006 9:11 AM

Laffey was right! Wait till they do an investigation of where all the money went.

Posted by: Lorelai G. at December 15, 2006 9:33 AM

I think this is a positive for the party. The party needs new life injected into it and more of a RI focus. I think for too long, RI Republicans have conceded local races to the Democrats throughout many communities in our state. I think Republican ideology is attractive to RI'ers but it needs to be packaged in such a way that resonates. I do not believe, on a statewide level, we have done this.

Hopefully, the next chair will be someone who is focused on the state and is pragmatic enough to build the party from the ground up.

Posted by: don roach at December 15, 2006 10:25 AM


don't be so sure this will be a positive for the party. it remains to be seen who will replace morgan, and judging by some of the names floating around the rumor mill, this has the potential of being a giant step back.


it seems you have been a little misguided in your understanding of the nature of the national funding the RIGOP received. specifically, there was no money given to the party. rather, it was a commitment by the RNC to pay for staffing, GOTV, direct mail, and other resources on behalf of endorsed candidates. to think that there was a check written or suitcase delivered to patricia morgan is simply wrong.

Posted by: johnb at December 15, 2006 11:02 AM

The word is that this announcement being made when it was on the Yorke show came as a surprise to Patricia Morgan. Even though the decision may be the correct one, she deserved better.

Posted by: Jake at December 15, 2006 3:38 PM

Great Lord in Heaven, Hallelujah!

Okay. I'm generally pleased at this most timely development (as do I suspect, Scott Bill Hirst, but I digress). Now the question is, who will it be next? I've heard more than my good share of names thrown about.

I don't think Patricia did anything "wrong" by the extraordinarily low standards we've set for RIGOP Chairs over the last decade or so. I don't think there is any "missing" money, because the problem was that we never really had any to begin with. However, we really haven't grown anywhere as close to where we need to be as a party. Practically anyone will be an improvement, though I do have my preferences on the issue, which I will keep to myself until a more appropriate time.

Posted by: Will at December 15, 2006 3:53 PM

"...she deserved better..."

Yeah? How do you figure?

Posted by: Greg at December 15, 2006 3:57 PM


She deserved to make the announcement herself, or have the Governor make it at at time on which she and the Governor agreed in advance. Among other things, this preemptive announcement means that each day that a successor is not named underscores that lack of coordination in the announcement, and the party. Three months of turmoil, at least.

Posted by: Jake at December 15, 2006 5:13 PM

Morgan is taking the fall for alot of things that were out of her control: a costly U.S. Senate primary engineered by Laffey that resulted in losing a GOP Senate seat; a razor-thin win for Carcieri against a B-list opponent in what should have been a cakewalk; and losing seats in a General Assembly where Republicans were sparse and the few serving Republicans can't even unite.

I'm not sure how much Morgan is to blame for this mess. She took all necessary steps to avoid the Senate primary. Carcieri's campaign and Bush's low approval ratings in RI shoulder more blame than Morgan for the Gov's relatively poor showing. It's tough to elect Republican legislative candidates when incumbent Republican legislators are more focused on their own internal differences than on electing new members.

Still, when a team performs poorly it's usually the manager who gets the boot and I suppose this move is to be expected.

Here's to hoping that 2007 is a better year for the GOP than 2006.

Posted by: Anthony at December 15, 2006 6:41 PM

"Apparently, Gov. Carcieri said that Morgan came to him to offer her resignation, something that Morgan wouldn't confirm to WPRO. Interesting."

I went to the governor's birthday party tonight in Newport and Patricia was there, too. He took a few minutes to recognize her, and basically said the same thing to those in attendace as was quoted above about (paraphrasing) "Patricia meeting with me last week and letting me know that she wanted to try new things." It was about as believable as when a member of the President's cabinet says that they want to "spend more time with their family." Two words: Donald Rumsfeld.

I had previously known that they were meeting last week and that it was basically in so many words to ask her not to run again, because she had previously thrown around some feelers about running for a third term. Saying that someone has offered their resignation is the kind way of putting it for everyone involved. Admittedly, the way it came off on the radio yesterday was probably surprising to more than a few folks. Anyway, what's done is done. Let's try to move forward together as a party.

This is not personal against Patricia. I'm in full agreement with Anthony's comment: "Still, when a team performs poorly it's usually the manager who gets the boot and I suppose this move is to be expected."

PS A reporter from Channel 10 interviewed her tonight just before the party, so you might want to keep an eye out for that, for anything potentially interesting.

Posted by: Will at December 15, 2006 10:25 PM

Very happy for Patricia Morgan. No one should have the task of babysitting that dysfunctional group of disloyal backstabbing losers for more than a year or two.
A very Merry Christmas to Pat Morgan.


Agree completely about the need for the Rep party to rid itself of the double agents. When the John Holmes and Steve Laffey's of the party are removed you'll be able to move forward and unify. Until that happens nothing will change.


So who was NOT in attendance at the party last night the "uniters" or the "dividers"? Strictly a rhetorical question since I already know the answer and I wasn't even there. lol

Posted by: Tim at December 16, 2006 7:59 AM


We saw the largest GOTV effort by the Democratic party in the history if RI politics. They partnered up with the unions and the largest gaming company in the world (Harrah's) in a get out the vote effort never seen around here before and one that strongly encouraged a straight Democratic party vote. Without that never seen before and won't see again in our lifetime effort Carcieri wins easily, Sue Stenhouse wins and people like John Robitaille win their General Assembly races.
So what "mess" are you talking about?
When discussing the election results you must factor in the dynamics going on within that election at the time. Gov. Carcieri received more votes this time around than in 2002 which is quite impressive when considering the fights he's picked with the old guard around here the last 4 years. Had Linc Chafee not had an expensive primary against Laffey he'd have had a real shot against Whitehouse. I'm just not buying the chicken little the sky is falling reaction many have had about the 2006 elections and the Republican party.

Posted by: Tim at December 16, 2006 8:47 AM

Unless you have have total memory loss, the RIGOP has been a pathetic performer for decades. That is long before Laffey came along. Ironically it has been with the Holmes', Jackvonys, etc. Why take a look at how former party chairman Holmes admitted advising Fogarty on how to beat Carcieri. Or, take a look at the money Jackvony gave to Democrats in recent years. Make no mistake about it, Tim, it is the likes fo these two clowns that need to be purged, or you will simply get more of the same. They are nothing but empty suits trolling for consultant/legal work.

Posted by: Jim at December 16, 2006 10:42 AM

1.Patricia Morgan should have been replaced a long time ago!Even objective observers like Darrell West of Brown University remaarked on her pettiness.Her handling of the delegate matter to the 2004 Republican National Convention which I was involved in was just one example.
2.John Holmes,Steve Laffey,and Linc Chafee have all been supportive of me in way way or another.
A.John Holmes has contributed to my campaign efforts and frankly is and was a great Republican leader.While certainly the Democrats helped but who can forget the near GOP Rhode Island Senate takeover in 1983? The Governor perhaps should seek out John for advice and he has strong credentials to give it! The Governor should have treated Holmes better.
B.Steve Laffey,turned Cranston around!That is a fact!He unlike Sen.Chafee does not go around taliking about switching parties!
C.Linc Chafee has been kind to me in the past.He was the only name politico who called me and gave me moral support in regards to the "Big Box" controversy in Hopkinton when I was on the Hopkinton Town Council.He also toured the area in question.
D. & C.I voted for the Governor but he has to assume responsibility for keeping Morgan as long as he did.Patricia Morgan clearly was petty going so far as giving me a hard time getting even guest passes to the GOP National Convention even though I was an elected town official and paid the delegation fee no less!
A number of Republicans will remember the treatment of Kerry King by the Governor in regards to the Lieutenant Governor's race!
Enough said!
Scott Bill Hirst

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 16, 2006 11:22 AM

I want to stand corrected Dr.Darrell West may not not have critcized Mrs.Morgan for pettiness but certainly her effectiveness.I certainly criticize her for BOTH TRAITS!

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 16, 2006 11:33 AM

Scott Bill Hirst obviously not part of the solution for the RI Republican party going forward. Hey Scott Bill could you add a few more I - ME - MY into your pettiness free posts? lol


Agree with your comments on Holmes and Jackvony but you forgot to add Laffey into that mix. He's as mercenary and self interested as they are. That's the problem.

Posted by: Tim at December 16, 2006 11:54 AM

"Morgan is taking the fall for alot of things that were out of her control"

It's not easy being the head of a state political party. You become the focus of a lot of hopes and expectations. Plus you want to stay in touch, not to mention strategize, with all the city and town committees, all the state and national campaigns, all the like-minded organizations. And more than even this is involved ... It's fun but it's not easy.

Posted by: SusanD at December 16, 2006 4:17 PM


Attendance was so-so. It was definitely smaller than last year. I would say that it was a more "Carcieri" crowd (which I suppose makes sense considering the "reason" for the event was to celebrate his birthday). The energy level is not what I would characterize as high.

There were at best five members of the local GOP delegation present. No former state chairs attended, and as best I can tell, only a few town GOP chairs. There were several past candidates. The Senator and his former Chief of Staff made an appearance later in the evening, but there were no other die-hard Chafee staff or volunteers there. There were several known Laffey supporters there, but Laffey himself was not there (though he was nice enough to attend the RIRA Christmas Party this evening).

I suppose they should be happy with what attendance they did have, considering the short notice given to prospective invitees, and the price requested.

Posted by: Will at December 17, 2006 1:27 AM

Bottom line, though, RI GOP has an opportunity to place a real firebrand into this role. Someone who would help take Gen Assy seats as well as more than one state offices in the next election.

Posted by: Chuck at December 18, 2006 7:47 AM

I will let my GOP record stand.The only living Republican elected four times to the Hopkinton Town Council.One other was elected three times as a Republican and once as a Cool Moose.The other two four minimum terms or more were Democrats.
Patricia Morgan ability and other factors are for all to examine.I will let my party and communiity work and involvement speak for itself.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 18, 2006 12:21 PM

No mention has been made yet on the so called attempt by Patricia Morgan to censure John A.Holmes,Jr., former GOP State Chair on December 5TH by the RI Republican State Central Committee's Executive Committee.This obviously is not widely known.
It is my understanding they were contacted the day before Thanksgiving.I believe if that had happened two former GOP State Chair's J.Michael Levesque and Holmes would have both been censured/formally criticized during Mrs.Morgan's leadership by the GOP state committee or executive committee.
John Holmes has personally been kind to me through the years,which is more than Mrs.Morgan has ever done.Mike Levesque was censured or criticized earlier formally by the GOP state central committee.I don't believe either Mike or John are currently GOP state committee members.The vote and meeting on Holmes didn't take place.
I believe these facts are essentially correct.What is your knowledge of these matters?

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 19, 2006 4:28 PM

Scott Bill when patting yourself on the back about your record and your party you sound just like the Democrats in this state. You're definitely not part of the solution for the RI Republican party.

J Michael Levesque? John Holmes?
It is any wonder you've never grown a party?

Posted by: Tim at December 19, 2006 5:41 PM

"No mention has been made yet on the so called attempt by Patricia Morgan to censure John A.Holmes,Jr., former GOP State Chair on December 5TH by the RI Republican State Central Committee's Executive Committee.This obviously is not widely known."

No, it's not. It should be.

The references on this blog to "double agents" and "back stabbers" in the Republican Party are well founded in fact. Patricia is to be applauded for trying to weed the two biggest ones out.

Holmes was opening supportive of and providing advice to Democrat candidate Charlie Fogarty in the election that took place just last month. Levesque openly fratrinizes with Democrat hatchetman Guy "is my mike on" Dufault. These are just two of many items that renders the Republican credentials of these men dubious at best.

Reagan's Eleventh Commandment doesn't apply when the Republican is acting like a mis-labeled Democrat. It's nice that Holmes was nice to you, Scott Bill Hirst. Unfortunately, he was not nice to very many other Republicans.

Posted by: SusanD at December 19, 2006 9:59 PM

At least my identity is known!I do not conceal my identity.I know who Will is.An oustanding Young Republican who I do not necessary agree with but a doer and not just an observer.I suspect I know who Tim is.
Yes I may pat myself on the back.But how to does one seriously DEFEND keeping Patricia Morgan as state GOP chair?Even Darrell West who is one of the prominent more objective observers touts her ineffectiveness.
Frankly I know John A. Holmes,Jr.,John A. Holmes,Jr., is a friend of mine.Patricia Morgan is no John Holmes,Jr.,.
The Rhode Island GOP needs to recognize better those who are political savy,motivated,competent,and be more able to work with others.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 20, 2006 10:24 AM

So you're saying we should keep John "I did everything I could to elect the Democrat" Holmes? What side are you on?

Posted by: Greg at December 20, 2006 10:48 AM

So you're saying we should keep John "I did everything I could to elect the Democrat" Holmes? What side are you on?

Posted by: Greg at December 20, 2006 10:55 AM

I like John A. Holmes,Jr.,.If I recall correctly he is not any longer along with J.Michael Levesque, a Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee member.I am no longer a member of that committee myself.
Whether you agree with their present activity or not I think most observers of Rhode Island politics would argue they were both more effective State GOP Chairs than Mrs.Morgan.
It is my understanding that Mike may have supported Sen.Alves(D) against John J. Clarke,Jr.,(R), in recent elections?I don't know all the background on this.He may have had, as I understand it, an Alves sign in his yard?I don't live in West Warwick but if I was in his district I would have voted for Clarke.
The criticism I leveled is against Mrs.Morgan.While local political experts such as Dr. Darrell West who are accepted as fair and objective criticize her, it is worth noting!

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 20, 2006 2:46 PM


Here in the real world, we separate sentences with at least a space. People with a grasp of proper sentence structure use two!

Perhaps you missed the part where John Holmes was on television talking about how he did everything he could to tell Charlie how to beat Don. If that doesn't make him a double agent for the Dems, I don't know what does. And if you expect to get any traction from conservatives in this state (and Chafee proves that you can't survive WITHOUT us...) you might want to choose your friends more wisely.

Posted by: Greg at December 20, 2006 6:09 PM

Speaking of growing the party, check out former RIGOP Exec Director Jeff Deckman's Op Ed in yesterday's ProJo. (Take a machete along to make your way past all the ads ...)

Posted by: SusanD at December 20, 2006 10:28 PM

{Original comment deleted due to lame (and obvious) pornography reference.}

Posted by: Jolting Joe at December 21, 2006 11:10 AM

Keep typing Scott Bill. You keep proving my point all the more with each passing post. So John Holmes was nice to you and gave you a cookie therefore he's a good guy in your eyes and is not to be held accountable for his embarrassing public display of party disloyalty?
People like you Scott Bill are exactly what is retarding the growth of the RI Republican party. You are not part of the solution Scott Bill.

Posted by: Tim at December 21, 2006 5:36 PM
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