13 members flee Republican Party

Blog post by Ethan Strimling:

In a letter dated yesterday (pasted below) Maine’s Republican National Committee Member, six state committee members and six members of the party (including their 2006 congressional nominee Scott D’Amboise) have resigned and/or unenrolled from the Republican Party.

The letter outlines many grievances ranging from congressional Republican unwillingness to restrain the National Security Agency (I am with them on this one) to supporting undeclared wars (did they care about this under George W. Bush?), to being mad at Maine Republican legislators for not sustaining Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the budget, to being mad at the governor for vetoing a bill that would have allowed raw milk to be sold. (Really?) The gang of 13 ends by saying:

“Therefore, for the above-stated reasons, we can no longer allow ourselves to be called nor enrolled as Republicans; we can no longer associate ourselves with a political party that goes out of its way to continually restrict our freedoms and liberties as well as reaching deeper and deeper into our wallets.”

About a month ago, I blogged/tweeted that Rick Bennett had accepted the hardest job in Maine when he was tasked with leading Maine Republicans as their new chairman. Perhaps he is happy to have these folks gone, or maybe it is simply the tip of the dysfunctional iceberg.

Full text of letter:

August 18, 2013

To Maine State GOP Secretary Chuck Mahaleris:

There are times in your life when you must choose between two paths.

The first path, if taken, would require us to remain within the Republican Party despite the fact that we know without a doubt that Republican ideas of more freedom and less taxes — while sounding good and repeated by any and all candidates – are in fact, worth no more than the paper that they are written on.

The second path leads to a principled preservation of our individual integrity, helping out our fellow citizens at the local level, and doing our level best for our Creator, our families, and our friends.

We have therefore chosen to follow the path of the latter.

Effective immediately, we the undersigned are unenrolling from the Maine Republican Party. Furthermore, those of us who hold official Party positions, be they at the Republican National, State, County or even Town Committees, hereby resign. Our reasons for doing so are as follows:

The RNC:

At the RNC, we have fought the good fight and kept the faith with regards to the rules. The Resolution that was passed in January 2013 by the Maine Republican State Committee put the RNC on notice that the grassroots were listening (and watching), leading to the rules battles which have taken place consistently since the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.  The duplicity and lack of political courage which has been on display in this matter has sealed the fate of this Party.

Furthermore, it has become clear to us now that the RNC has no intention of reforming and would rather fly under invalid rules than to right the wrongs of Tampa. We therefore cannot, in good faith, support or defend the actions of the RNC.  To violate our consciences and support those actions would make us part of the problem – especially after we clearly provided and handed the RNC the solution which was flatly rejected.  The RNC now owns their demise.

Congressional Republicans:

In the House of Representatives, the cowardly leadership of John Boehner reached a new low in December 2012 when he purged the most fiscally conservative GOP members from leadership positions, citing their “unwillingness to be team players.” Political punishment such as this from Speaker Boehner has garnered justifiable rage from conservative groups, and from us, as we expected better.

Furthermore, the House Republican leadership’s utter disdain for the United States Constitution, specifically the 4th Amendment, was on full display as they worked overtime to kill the Amash Amendment which would have gone a long way toward constraining the NSA to the boundaries of the Constitution and seriously curbed their ability to conduct mass surveillance of Americans.  Be it known that we cannot and will not support nor defend these actions.

In the United States Senate, we see Republicans all too willing to pass unconstitutional bills related to subjects such as the Internet Sales Tax and Immigration. Whether through arrogance or ignorance, they fail to understand the simple fact any revenue generating legislation must originate in the House of Representatives.

Additionally, the Senate Republicans continue to support undeclared wars, meet in secret and supply arms to our “terrorist enemies” who we vowed to destroy after 911, and then tell us they love our troops – so long as it’s our kids and not theirs who have to go fight.

Lastly, all too many Senate Republicans are more than willing to pass new “feel good” gun control legislation that would do nothing to stop another Sandy Hook massacre, all the while restricting 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding American citizens. We cannot support nor defend these actions in good faith.

Maine Republican Legislators:

In Maine, the Republican legislators in the House and Senate failed to sustain the Governor’s veto on one of the most important pieces of legislation of the 126th. Maine Republicans were justifiably outraged, especially at those legislators who campaigned on lower taxes.

We have been told that many donors have refused to donate one more cent to the MEGOP due to this budget debacle, but nevertheless we are expected to ignore these facts and get out there and raise funds for the party. This we cannot do in good faith; the Republican Party has lost its way and the donors know it.

The LePage Administration:

Not to be outdone by the legislators, this Administration’s support for Common Core Education Standards, the Internet Sales Tax, the atypical meddling in the business of the Maine State Committee, as well as the vetoes of the Drone and Cell Phone bills left many of us incredulous.

However, the straw that broke the camel’s back for many of us was the veto of LD 1282 (the “Raw Milk Bill”) and those who voted to sustain it: a sad day indeed for the small farmers of Maine.  We want our God-given rights to buy, sell and consume what we want protected by the law – not restricted by FDA or USDA directives. These actions we cannot explain nor defend in good faith – the Republican Party has lost it’s way.

Therefore, for the above-stated reasons, we can no longer allow ourselves to be called nor enrolled as Republicans; we can no longer associate ourselves with a political party that goes out of its way to continually restrict our freedoms and liberties as well as reaching deeper and deeper into our wallets.

We instead choose the path that focuses on ways to help our fellow Mainers outside of party politics.

Some of us may be town officers or board members.

Some of us may leave all options on the table with regards to running for higher office as Independents.

Some of us may be small farmers and gardeners who desire to help feed their communities.

Others may simply want to just get part of their life back, catching up and spending more time with friends and neighbors.


Republican National Committee Member:

Mark Willis, Washington County

Maine Republican State Committee Members:

Thomas Barry, Androscoggin County

Ann-Marie Grenier, Cumberland County

Gregory Hodge, Lincoln County

Olga LaPlante, Cumberland County

Russell Montgomery, Knox County

Violet Willis, Washington County

Maine Registered Republicans:

Sam Canders, Penobscot County

Bryan Daugherty, Penobscot County

Maria Hodge, Penobscot County

Randall J. Grenier, Cumberland County

L. Scott D’Amboise, Androscoggin County

Debbie D’Amboise, Androscoggin County