An article this week in Asheville’s daily paper – you know, the one operating as marketing agents for the liberal-progressive movement – made much ado on supposed division within the Buncombe County Republican Party. With your permission, we thought we’d challenge that unearned antagonism.
They’re not the first to bring up the “division” issue – but they may be the first to skip any attempt at facts and sources to support the reporter’s conclusions. That’s what’s called a “Reportitorial” – a hybrid sort of advocacy journalism that inserts editorial comment into what’s represented as a news story.
A few weeks back a similar thing happened with a local radio show. The host had an apparent need to make the BCGOP look like we were hanging on the ragged edge of a cliff. Lots of conjecture – not much in facts or reliable sources.
In both cases, our demise was highly exaggerated. We thought you might enjoy some facts from a real source to support that conclusion.
Let’s start with the C-T article printed on Monday, May 21st-
ASHEVILLE – One of the closest Buncombe County races in the May 8 primary was one in which there was only one candidate running. Amy Evans won the Republican nomination for state House District 115 by only 80 votes despite the fact that the only other candidate on the ballot, former county GOP chairman Nathan West, dropped out of the race April 16. That was too late for election officials to take his name off the ballot and Evans won 52 percent of the vote to West’s 48 percent. The number of ballots cast barely topped 2,000. The only other races on the Republican primary ballot in the county were runaway contests for the party’s nominations for the 10th and 11th congressional districts. A lot of registered Republicans didn’t bother to vote and many unaffiliated voters probably cast their ballots in the Democrat primaries, where there were several interesting races. Just the same, the close result for the N.C. House district covering eastern and northern Buncombe County is an oddity. Some division within the county Republican Party is the main explanation, plus the fact that Evans was not especially well known before she filed and West was. Some Republicans say West’s past financial problems would have hurt him in a general election contest with incumbent Rep. John Ager, a Fairview Democrat who had no primary opposition. Some of West’s supporters raised questions about which Republicans spread the word about West’s issues and why. Evans’ campaign sent a press release April 13 saying he was withdrawing. West sent his announcing he was ending his candidacy three days later — and declined comment when asked if would back Evans. There were other bones of contention, but the details are not particularly important to those not involved in the arguments. The bottom line is it looks like there is still some bad blood among different party activists (although not necessarily so much between Evans and West themselves). It is human nature for there to be disagreements within political parties, Democratic and Republican, especially during the primary season. The question that only time can answer is whether this one turns out to be deep and long-lived enough to affect Republicans’ ability to support their candidates in the fall campaign. Mark Barrett, C-T Political Reporter
Here’s our response as a letter to the editor printed on Thursday, May 24th-
Reporter Mark Barrett’s NC-115 primary missive on rumored Buncombe GOP division read as a postulation searching for facts. In a city where liberal-progressives already enjoy a 2-1 advantage, advocacy journalism merits challenge.
Local Republicans face friction – not fraction. We suffer the same percentage of drama and intrigue seekers as do all organized groups. Thankfully, most Buncombe Republicans are less about mischief than mission – standing strong as the only organized political movement capable of defeating the excesses of the left.
What excesses? How about robbing the pockets of working people to fill the pockets of those who aren’t; making gender and bathroom confusion a much bigger problem than it is; inflaming cultural division by marketing exaggerated racism; and stuffing a doomed-to-fail Bernie Sanders socialism fantasy down our throats?
In contrast, Republicans believe in America’s traditional success equation – Liberty + Opportunity + Responsibility = Prosperity. We understand that recipe works across genders, ages, and races and don’t pretend skipping ingredients produces the same results.
Those interested in the real BuncombeGOP.org story can check-out our website by the same name.
Those interested in confirmation of journalistic division hyperbole can simply note Republican candidates Amy Evans and Nathan West shared breakfast on primary day.
Carl Mumpower, BCGOP Chair
Please pay particular attention to that part about “We suffer the same percentage of drama and intrigue seekers as do all organized groups.” It’s true – take any bunch you want and you will have a certain number of people who find their mojo in criticism, antagonism, resistance and misery manufacturing. We have people who are very dedicated to that way of mattering and are good at it – but thank goodness their numbers are limited.
The peachiest counter to the reporters “division” claims while referencing our two NC-115 candidates was their having breakfast on the day of the primary election. That’s a strange kind of division.
That’s not to say that either candidate’s camp handled things perfectly. Some mouse droppings were introduced into the flour by both sides and created unnecessary friction. That’s unfortunately not unusual in primary season. More importantly, much of the tension came from a bad thing – a break down in communication in the final week of candidacy – and a good thing – zeal for making sure that all our important races had a Republican candidate to challenge Brand-X.
Thanks to a lot of well intended hands, we succeeded – or in this case – over-succeeded. That’s not what divided groups tend to do.
Since the new leadership team started we’ve had a full quorum at every Executive Committee meeting – and our membership is the same and in some cases greater than in years past. That’s not picking on any of our previous leaders – heck we know we’re building on their good work – but it speaks to success, not division.
While we’re on the subject, the “gotcha” players, critics, and “this is my stage” insecure egotists are not finding their happy place in the BCGOP. We’ve been working extra hard to keep our meetings positive, productive and pleasant so as to attract new members – not recycled nastiness.
Have you looked at our Facebook page lately? You would be interested to note that we have more “likes” on our page than the Buncombe Democratic Party has on theirs. That’s in spite of the fact they outnumber us 2 to 1. Our likes similarly exceed those of the good folks over at the Gaston County Republican Party – the largest concentration of Republicans in the 10 & 11th Districts. They also outnumber us 2 to 1.
That’s not bragging – but does it sound like division?
Our fund-raising events this year – the Spring Fling, Biltmore Basket, and Lincoln-Reagan Dinner have raised over $12,000 in profit for us to use in the coming election. Pretty good for a new leadership team struggling with a “divided” Party.
At our last Executive Committee meeting, we raised the issue of purchasing a billboard to support our police and first responders during the month of May. Before we finished, we had commitments for $1,500 from those in attendance. That’s an impressive response amidst all our imagined divisions.
Speaking of Executive Committees, following discussions on our agenda items, 95% of our votes on policy and action issues are unanimous and the one’s that aren’t find us coming up with ways to improve the original motion. That’s “division” you can build on.
You may have also noticed that liberal/opportunistic media outlets have picked up their pace in regards to criticizing and/or misrepresenting the local GOP. That’s not because they’re invested in our success. When they crow the most is usually when we’re shining the brightest. Their insincerity is absolutely revealed in one thing – when do you ever hear anything good about our efforts from the sources noted above? You don’t and you won’t because it doesn’t fit their chosen narrative. Search “GOP” on the Citizen-Times website and you’ll see their Republican negativity bias and liberal agenda advocacy in full bloom. For the final nail in their journalistic ethics coffin, complete your that search with the words “Democrat” or “Progressive.”
Do we have problems and hurdles – certainly. What organized group doesn’t? There’s that on-going problem with too many using the party as a stage for personal issues; a history of bickering that it’s time to outgrow; more advising voices than helping hands; a healthy Republican skepticism that too often tips over to negativism; and a much smaller minority footprint than a body of 45,000 Republicans should tolerate.
We’re working on all of these things – and we are doing it together and we’re not going to stop until this leadership team reaches the end of our period of service. Nay-Sayers have at least a year of us – that’s a long time to hold one’s breath.
Are folks like the C-T reporter and other critical antagonists raising legitimate concerns about BCGOP division or crafting a lazy diversion? We’ll leave that conclusion up to you. Here at the BCGOP we plan to keep working hard to do what we’ve been doing all year – being more creative, crafty and committed than our opposition.
We need your help to do that. Please consider getting involved or more involved or better involved. Let’s encourage one another to leave the drama and intrigue at home and keep our eye on the real mission: Keeping America Great by impairing our real opposition – the folks we fondly know as “Brand-X.”
Conserve [v. kuh n-surv] To use or manage wisely; preserve; save