Here’s the press release from the Asheville Tea Party via email from Chair Jane Bilello. GOP candidates Christina Merrill and Lewis Clay are seeking seats this year on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Click the links below to see the Asheville Citizen-Times stories cited in Billello’s statement.
Until a candidate completes the iCaucus Citizen-Led Job Interview process, Asheville Tea PAC (ATPAC) will not endorse a candidate. Since Christina Merrill did not go through this process, she is not and will not be supported by us which means boots on the ground volunteers or financially. For over the past four months, she promised repeatedly to go through the process but would not commit to the iCaucus registration until February 17th, four days before her fundraiser. We believed she was sincere. After all, she did submit to this Citizen-Led Job Interview in 2012, spoke at our meetings, and continued her relationship with us.
We had no reason to doubt her until now.. She deceived and misled us. Many ATPAC subscribers – especially those who donated money and time – feel betrayed by her. ATPAC subscribers supported her election in 2012. They froze in the cold giving out her campaign materials, volunteered at gun shows and other events, and gave up their time to spend many days and hours at the Board of Elections giving her support during her election recall. This was in addition to financial help her with her court case.
It appears to ATPAC that Christina Merrill deliberately misled us into believing that she was our candidate and would seek our endorsement (with all that entails). By doing this she effectively precluded any other ‘Tea Party’ competitors from entering the primary election. The day after the filing period ended, she announced that she would not be seeking the ATPAC endorsement, thereby freeing herself to move to the “middle” and court moderates and conservative Democrats, in a belief that this will improve her chances in the general election.
Of course, if she is willing to break her promise to ATPAC, her most loyal and ardent supporters, what promise wouldn’t she be willing to break for political expediency?
The right thing for her to do under the circumstances is to return donations that were given to her by “Tea Party’ supporters and we hope that many of them will appeal to her directly.
With regard to Lewis Clay: Lewis has not completed the iCaucus Citizen-Led Job Interview process which includes a Candidate Qualifying Questionnaire of commitments to our principles, a background check, an interview, and a conference and voting period for endorsement. If he receives 70% or more ‘Yes’ votes, then our policy is to endorse a candidate. We do loudly applaud him for stepping up. Those who do, demonstrate that they are unafraid and committed to be held accountable to fiscal responsibility, limited government, individual rights and free market principles to be scrutinized in this Citizen-Led Job Interview.
ATPAC also finds the hypocrisy of the Citizen-Times beyond the pale. Topless women dancing and cavorting in downtown Asheville while men gawk and in the presence of children is O.K, but heterosexual males looking at pictures of women in bikinis are somehow deemed an indiscretion! If that were the case, we’d never have any heterosexual males running for office. (Have you checked out the males sitting on the City Council and on the Board of Commissioners to make sure they have never gazed upon such bikini beauties?)
When candidates run away from their most enthusiastic and dedicated supporters – their base – it rarely ends in an election victory.