Posted on 21 February 2013.
I am a life-long Republican with a strong voting record. There really is no way to fully explain my dismay at the action taken by the Republican Parish Executive Committee this week. In short, they are attempting to influence the voters of District 65 to view one Republican candidate for the House of Representatives as the preferred candidate. The PEC had the option to endorse both of these qualified candidates, but chose only one. The PEC should have let us, the voters, make that decision without trying to manipulate the process.
If you think that my statement is in any way unfair or inflammatory, just consider that the PEC, this committee, is a PAC, a Political Action Committee, whose stated goal is to support their chosen candidates. That is the definition of a PAC. But don’t be fooled, this is NOT the endorsement of the National Republican Party and this is NOT the endorsement of the State of Louisiana Republican Party. This is an endorsement controlled by as few as 9 individuals on a committee who met and took a secret ballot and will not even disclose the vote count or who voted to endorse or not endorse the candidates.
I made a commitment to present my opinion in Central Speaks respectfully and in a civil manner, and I will do that, but I will not be silent on this issue. I also make every effort to avoid siding with any one candidate, so bear in mind as you read my opinion that I am not proposing that you vote for either candidate. I seek only to point out that the PEC has erred in its decision to make a sole endorsement in this election, and the facts that follow are presented only to support my opinion of the PEC decision.
Barry Ivey is an elected member of the Republican State Central Committee, and that state committee dictates what rules the PEC is allowed to make, and the PEC endorsed only Barry Ivey. I would like to think the two facts are unrelated.
Barry Ivey hired the company owned by PEC Chairman Woody Jenkins to do work for his campaign to win this election…and while Jenkins recused himself from the vote, his committee, the PEC, endorsed ONLY Barry Ivey. I make no accusation of any unethical act, I simply report the facts.
Four years ago this same PEC ENDORSED Scott Wilson in his bid to be elected to the Baton Rouge Metro Council, and he won. Scott Wilson ran unopposed in 2012 to win a second term on the Metro Council. Yet now, for some undisclosed reason evidenced only by a secret ballot, the PEC suddenly sees Mr. Wilson not worthy of their endorsement. Although I have contacted every PEC Member individually and asked, none of them has given any explanation as to why they now see Scott Wilson as not worthy of their endorsement.
No one has questioned that Scott Wilson, as an elected Republican Metro Council Member for the last four years, has voted consistently with the agenda and platform of the Republican Party, yet the PEC failed to endorse him. Can someone explain to me what more the PEC wanted Mr. Wilson to do?
Now, it is very likely that in another Central Newspaper today the headline may read something like “Republican Party Endorses Ivey”. That will likely be the newspaper owned by the Chairman of the PEC, Woody Jenkins, whose company has been hired to do work for the Ivey campaign. The problem with such news coverage is that registered Republicans may somehow see that as an instruction by the Republican Party to vote for Barry Ivey instead of seeing he and Wilson BOTH as qualified Republican candidates.
This sole endorsement of Barry Ivey is a slap in the face of the sitting and previously-PEC-endorsed Republican Metro Council Member Scott Wilson. In my opinion, this represents either a miscount of the votes or a gross error in judgment by a majority of the members of the PEC. Voters in House District 65, I only request that you research the candidates and vote for the one that you feel is the most qualified and deserves your vote.