Since 1982 I have worked in campaigns in some form or fashion. I have seen and heard a multitude of things and witnessed a lot of political jockeying. I’ve seen it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly. But I have never seen the Republican Party in the condition it is in now. It is not the local party of Harold Corker, Charlie Peavyhouse and others.
Sadly, what is happening now is Hamilton County Republicans shooting their own. I know that what has happened between Tim Boyd and Brent Lambert is not the first time political bullying and setups have played out within the Hamilton County Republican Party.
In fact, it is even happening now to another local Republican candidate who is being harassed about his small business, but he is not crying bullying. The Hamilton County Republican Party is split due to a mindset of us against them. East of the River vs The West Side. The “old regime” vs the “new.”
The so-called “Harrison Mafia” vs the self-proclaimed “A Team!” The Hamilton County Republican Party is shooting their own. Those Harrison men were good, honest, hard-working men who were seeking the good of the whole county.
Now, some self-seeking power grabbing group is driving the Party with lies and negativity, to which I personally have been attacked and threatened with undermining my character and my future, all for political gain. The Hamilton County Republicans are shooting their own.
Fellow Republicans, we need to wake up. Those who run should run on their own merit, but yes, expose the rampant political injustice within the Party. Let those who vote make a wise choice. Claude Ramsey, Bill Bennett and Bobby Wood are good people who were elected because they were a group of public servants who sought to serve the people of Hamilton County. I would vote for Bo Watson, Gerald McCormick, Mike Carter and Randy Fairbanks, if I were in their district, because they are public servants and beyond that, simply good people!.
I trust Terry Lee and Joe Boshears, who are Democrats and my friends, more than I do some in the Hamilton County Republican Party. Why? Because they are trustworthy. Honesty and integrity are not just Republican virtues. I don’t always agree with them on their political platform, but they are indeed public servants and good men. Unfortunately, they are licking their chops as Hamilton County Republicans are shooting their own.
It is time for all Hamilton County Republicans to put selfishness and ongoing evil ways aside for our Party's good. We must move forward united and find these sincere public servants who have a genuine heart to serve the people of Hamilton County because they are indeed out there. But above all, we must stop shooting our own.
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As I see it the Republican Party has tried as hard as they may to lose elections.
They have become an obstructionist party, and have failed to support a President of their party, They blatantly refuse to represent the common man of America, the majority that have placed them in a position of power.
They as a whole are only in power because We the People keep falling for their lies at each election cycle. We lose our collective memory of how we accepted their words to represent us and then once in office they seek only to line their pockets by only representing special interests through their lobbyists.
We the People no longer have a voice in the political arena, we are unheard and not cared for.
On the next election cycle vote for anyone who is not currently in office and maybe we can make a change and make America great again.
Dwayne Cales (Republican)
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Sterling Jetton, I would change the title of your opinion piece to, “Hamilton County Republicans Eat Their Young.”
You have made a valid distinction between the campaign boundaries of yesterday, and the no limits of today. Is seek and destroy opposition the new normal? In the alternative, was the destroy method of the past more under the radar?
Perhaps this is more a sign of times. I am not sure. Your piece is thought provoking.
In regard to your mention of early Republican Party leaders, they were not malicious like what is occurring now. I believe you are correct.
However, if a Republican candidate was not on their A list in a Republican primary race, they would indeed take under the radar actions to undermine the Republican opposition candidate. Republican Party heads would spin like the lady in the old movie the Exorcist with words, “our charter prohibits that.” To the folks in campaigns I worked with, we know all about that charter.
I will say the older Republican Party crossed lines, but they had defined boundaries that did not include destroying the opposition’s family, business, or life. The limits of older campaigns would have been a scandalous mailer, my favorite, a whisper campaign, turning community groups against opposition with a little twisting of truth, overzealous volunteers taking opposition signs, and recruiting people to write half-truths, but nothing to completely destroy the candidate. Local campaigns were like returning to High School, and they were fun.
The new normal are campaigns trying to destroy the lives of candidates, and they don’t care who they hurt. This keeps really great people from running, especially if they have children. It is just mind boggling to me to learn that local campaigns will collect juvenile, even protected records, criminal, mental health records on children to politically hurt campaigns. Yes, they will, and yes they absolutely do.
We see this behavior in national politics as a normal, but we have to live here. Behaviors have generally been more civil or more controlled.
That day is clearly over.
The Mayor of East Ridge Brent Lambert, a Republican, was accused of knowingly taking substantial campaign donations from developers immediately after he voted to give the same developers municipal bond money. He was accused by Hamilton County Republican Commissioner Tim Boyd.
Who should be really be in trouble here?
Republicans worked in a conspired manner to get Commissioner Tim Boyd on tape and lead him into just the right words. That is right, Republicans conspired to destroy Commissioner Tim Boyd.
Now, Mr. Jetton, you write there is another case of seek and destroy a candidate's life.
The local Republican Party has way too much stink in it for decent people.
There is good news. The local Republican Party is just a small group of people at its core.
At any meeting when it is not campaign season, they could barely fill a room. The majority of Republican voters in Hamilton County do not even know where Republican headquarters is, never been there, and most voters are independent Republicans or Conservatives. So, be not concerned. The voters will sort it out and take care of it all. That is truly the good news here.
Mr. Jetton, perhaps the new local Republican Party are pit vipers, where the former group may have been a garden snake variety.
The real question is, do local Democrats play nicer?
I am not sure they do in highly contested races against Republicans, or against other Democrats for that matter. If I examine Mayor Andy Berke and his political hacks, the answer would be absolutely no.
Finally, on the Terry Lee comment, I, too, am a fan. Perhaps, he should start a party for the party less.
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Let's face it, Lambert has not been a true conservative since day one, and even less of a Republican. Just because you attend Pachyderm club meetings does not make you a Republican, even though the party itself has lost its way with people like him as part of it.
His entire agenda during his time as East Ridge mayor has been one of government control and "what have you done for me lately?"
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I agree with Sterling Jetton’s summation of the “small group” of newer people in this town who think nothing of lying, stealing, sabotaging, and cheating to win. It is despicable.
The people need to choose whom they want. This mean spirited group of bullies who collectively give our local Republican Party a bad name need to be reined in.