Letter: Intrigue at the Republican Executive Committee
Lance Thate, Chairman
Saint Augustine Tea Party
Dear Historic City News editor:
Eric West, a former Chairman of the Saint Augustine Tea Party, is now making a bid to be the Chairman of the St Johns County Republican Executive Committee. For Eric West, it was always Republican Party loyalty above all. West, now, is ready to collect his reward for his party loyalty.
While Eric talked the talk, he never walked the walk of the Tea Party Movement. The St. Augustine Tea Party has always been a grassroots organization. When its members wanted to deviate from Republican approved objectives, West, who was Chairman at the time, attempted a coup. He attempted to dismiss duly elected Tea Party officers and install a 12-member Republican board, with the grassroots membership converted to “invited guests”.
If West had been successful, the Saint Augustine Tea Party would have been a wholly owned Republican establishment, destined for extinction. As it turned out, the coup failed, and it was West that was removed as Chairman of the Saint Augustine Tea Party.
Today, West is involved in yet another coup; removal of Chairman Bill Korach at the Republican Executive Committee. Frankly the Saint Augustine Tea Party could care less what the Republicans do to each other. They deserve the spoils of their dirty tricks.
Grassroots Trump Clubs today are very much like Tea Parties in their beginnings. They have been able to turn out large numbers of voters; something Republicans are struggling to do.
The Republican relationship turned out to be a disaster for Tea Parties in general. My concern is that people around West also have positions in the local Trump Club and that relationship may turn south for them. I am aware that the Republican Party of Florida has issued a cease-and-desist order to one grassroots Trump Club. West was involved in a similar action against the Saint Augustine Tea Party in 2011.
Randy Covington, a close ally of West, won the election for Republican Party State Committeeman from St. Johns County that year. After the election, West was elated with manipulations he claimed credit for that produced the Covington victory. To my surprise, West mentioned to me that his next target was Harlan Mason, the local Republican Party chairman.
The Republican Party survives today because of Donald Trump’s victory; a victory that the GOP had very little to do with. If the Republican Party is to survive, it will need to clean up their act from the precinct level up. People like Eric West, with their dirty tricks and power games, are destroying the “Grand Old Party”.