By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
The chairman of the Warren County Republican Party Committee claims the challenge to his leadership remains moot even as an opponent pursues a case to state GOP officials.
The Sixth District Committee on Saturday rejected by a wide margin an appeal by county resident Mike McHugh challenging the vote taken April 12 that put Dominic "Don" Repici in the chairman seat.
Repici by phone on Tuesday questioned statements made by Bath County GOP committee Chairman Dan Moxley regarding the April meeting.
The Sixth District Committee declined to take action on an amended version of McHugh's appeal. McHugh stated by e-mail Monday he intends to take the amended version of his appeal to the state central committee of the GOP.
Repici argues McHugh has no grounds to continue his pursuit of the appeal because the vote taken to revive the matter and send it to the district occurred during an illegally called meeting May 15.
Repici said his election April 12 along with Steve Kurtz as vice chairman, came about in a legally-held meeting following a mass meeting in March.
Republicans did not elect a chairman as planned during the mass meeting and the session adjourned without officials having scheduled a date to reconvene.
McHugh and his supporters called a meeting May 15 at which time he revived his appeal of the action which put Repici and Kurtz in elected office. But Repici and Kurtz question the legality of the May 15 gathering and argue that under the rules any meeting must first be publicized no less than seven days prior to the session.
Repici and Kurtz said the meeting announcement came six days before the date, which violated the bylaws and, as such, deemed the session not legal. Therefore, any action taken during the illegal meeting -- such voting to revive and send an appeal of a previous election for board officers -- is rendered null and void, according to Repici and Kurtz.
Kurtz concurred with Repici that McHugh and his supporters took the wrong approach from the beginning.
"We've been following the rules and he just doesn't seem to like the rules, I guess," Kurtz said.
Further questions surround the May 15 gathering. Repici recalled he spoke with members who sought to hold the meeting on May 15 and asked for an agenda, which bylaws call for in cases of special called meetings. The members offered no agenda, he said. Repici said a member told him a group wanted to hold the meeting May 15 to endorse a candidate in the upcoming Republican Party primary.
"But that is specifically against the rules," Repici said.
The chairman recalled he told the person requesting the May 15 meeting, who also indicated those individuals supporting the session wanted to discuss whether or not to financially back the candidate. Calling the intentions "way out of line," Repici said the individuals withdrew those items from the agenda, leaving just a request to convene. Repici offered to allow the meeting to go forward anyway, either on May 31 or the 24.
"This has been just simply an attempt to raise issues and generate publicity, if you will," Repici said.
But the controversy began before the mass meeting at which Repici claims McHugh tried to seek nomination without having filed ahead of time.
"I subsequently found that these were people who simply were promoting the Ron Paul candidacy and his approach to take over local committees so they could influence how Virginia's delegates would vote," Repici said. "This is a bigger issue than Don Repici being elected local Warren County [chairman].
"There was no prejudice against me, I don't believe, alright, it's just that we stood in the way and they were going to take over the meeting and then they ran into rules, which precluded them from doing what they wanted to do," Repici added.
Repici also questioned Moxley's assessment of what occurred at the mass meeting. The outgoing chairman David Henderson had announced at the local committee meeting in February he would resign. But as Repici explained Henderson would remain in that capacity until the next election for chairman. Henderson did not resign immediately, according to Repici.