On Saturday, the North Carolina Republicans met in a special session for one purpose—to remove the first elected black Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party: Hasan Harnett.
Hasan had been under fire since he was astoundingly elected last June. As one Republican told me soon after his election, “the amazing part wasn’t that he (Hasan) was the first black Chair, the amazing part of his election was that he wasn’t an insider.”
The NCGOP has a history of electing what many people consider ‘elite conservative Republicans who tow the Party line.’
After Harnett was elected, the first thing the establishment GOP did to counterbalance the effect Harnett would have on the Party was to systematically strip the Chair of funds available to him—with the help of the newly elected Executive Director (ED), Dallas Woodhouse.
Woodhouse, was elected ED of the NCGOP not long after Hasan Harnett was elected Chair. But, the Woodhouse election angered many who voted for Harnett, saying that it would undermine the new grassroots NCGOP initiatives and pit the two fractions of the Party against each other.
And, it did.
Despite the fact that the Republican Party has claimed to be making inroads with conservative Blacks and Hispanics nationally, the North Carolina Republican Party has come up woefully short in its efforts to attract those not fitting the white evangelical mold.
So, what now?
Robin Hayes, the former U.S. Rep. of the 8th Congressional District, will take the helm as Chair and finish out the term of Harnett.
Hayes is a longtime establishment Republican and will certainly tow the Party line. But, more importantly—he will be instrumental in the delegate selection process heading into the Republican convention in Cleveland.
On Saturday, Hayes made some interesting comments after he was tapped as Chair. It’s not every day a Republican Chair gets impeached. And, Hayes made some considerable effort to downplay the turmoil in the ranks.
Instead of trying to make sunshine and fluffy unicorns fly out of his ass—Hayes would be better served to address the GOP problems head on and be “adult” with the grassroots wing of the Party. No—Hayes and the rest of the establishment want to forget Harnett—they want to make it all go away like it never happened.
They, meaning Hayes and the establishment, may very well succeed – up to a point. But, the groundwork is already underfoot and a Party split may very well be in the making. But, before anyone sheds a tear, I see the same thing happening across town with the North Carolina Democratic Party.
It’s not a matter of ‘if’ North Carolina will no longer have just a two Party system—but when. And, which Party will fall first. This November’s election might tell us.
The grassroots fraction of the NCGOP has a right to feel slighted and disrespected—no doubt, they have been dissed.
But, the Machiavellian style in which Hasan Harnett was taken down will leave many bitter. Robin Hayes can’t fix that and Dallas Woodhouse can’t buy his way out of this one. And, the grassroots Republicans won’t forget.