Warren GOP, NAACP getting closer

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County Republicans and the local NAACP are warming up to each other.

The Warren County Republican Committee met late last week and Chairman Daryl Funk, clerk of the Circuit Court, told members the Warren-Page NAACP chapter had asked for $2,500. Funk said Alford D. Carter, chapter president, contacted him last month and asked for the contribution for the organization’s annual dinner. The NAACP chapter had another category for a smaller donation to cover the cost of an advertisement. Funk said he told Carter he would bring the request to the committee.

“Mr. Carter has been a member of this committee and is a good friend but, unfortunately, you all know where we are finances-wise,” Funk said. “I think this is a goodwill gesture we personally need to make.

“I am authorized to spend this amount of money and what I would propose, unless there’s some objection, as money becomes available I intend to make this donation but I did want to propose this to the committee to see if there was any objections to it,” Funk added.

Warren County Supervisor Thomas H. Sayre made a motion to approve spending $150 on a newspaper advertisement for the NAACP. Fellow Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr. seconded the motion.

But one Republican said he would not support the motion because the NAACP is “pro-abortion.” The member suggested that abortion was a push to, in large part, “stop the growth of the black community.” The member said he didn’t feel the committee should support an organization that endorses abortion. Funk said he would agree were the national NAACP asking for a donation, but the local chapter made the request.

Another Republican, Dominic “Don” Repici, asked how the NAACP might return the favor and support the Republican Committee’s goals.

Funk replied, “Mr. Carter has told me in the past and at our meeting then that he is a proud Republican and he is trying to make his organization more bipartisan than it has been in the past and I think that’s not a lack of commitment on his part but a reflection of where things have been.

“I think that the fact that we have someone as president who is at least friendly to us and is trying to incorporate them is progress in and of itself.”

The committee would have discretion over the content of the advertisement, Funk said. Some members intend to incorporate a history of the Republican Party in the advertisement. One member asked how the committee would word the advertisement to show that the Republican Party wants to cooperate with the black community.

Sayre noted, “Many of these blacks are some of my best friends and I just – tell them the truth: KKK was founded by Democrats, the person that did it,” Sayre said. “The Civil War we fought, those were Democrat bullets being shot at Republicans.”

The executive committee plans to revisit the matter to determine the wording of the advertisement.

Also at the meeting, Committee Treasurer Bill Hammack said Republicans needed poll watchers on Election Day out of concern for potential voter fraud. Hammack, who also serves as chairman of the Electoral Board, added that he didn’t think Warren County “had a lot of” voter fraud but they need to set an example. Hammack recommended they place a member behind each poll worker who then would keep track of each voter. The party can place up to three poll viewers depending on the number of poll books, Hammack said. Funk directed anyone interested in volunteering at the polls to check in with Hammack pertaining to training.

Sayre said he’s hearing concern primarily from women about their safety at the polls. Sayre cited incidents in which people have been ejected from or arrested at presidential candidate campaign events.

“That’s a good place to funnel that energy for someone who might not feel comfortable working the polls,” Funk said. “Maybe inside there may be security generally.”

Sayre said he might have more difficulty finding poll workers and noted that longtime Republican Mary Kay Clark is “wavering.”

“She’s scared,” Sayre said.

“We’re going to have to work harder to identify people to work the polls,” Funk added.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com