The Republican Liberty Caucus National Board issued this press release on Saturday the 18th:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2012
Maine Caucus a Failure in Leadership and a Lesson for Republicans Nationwide
AUSTIN, TX – The Republican Liberty Caucus National Board met this week to address member concerns over the way in which the recent Maine presidential caucus was conducted. The problems with this simple vote in a relatively small but important state casts light on issues which should be of concern to every Republican state party during this primary season.
When a state party organization is responsible for conducting its own polling and counting votes it is enormously important that this work be done competently and be managed with appropriate diligence and a high level of responsibility. In announcing results with incomplete data and admitted “clerical errors” Maine Republican Chairman Charles Webster did a disservice to the candidates, to his state party and to Republican voters. Under pressure from the media and campaign organizations he rushed to action when he should have proceeded with caution and he has embarrassed his party and set a negative example for other state party leaders to learn from.
William Westmiller, Data Analysis Specialist for the Republican Liberty Caucus, has examined the data from the Maine caucuses and concluded that “the candidate totals were all miscalculated, a dozen township totals were simply wrong, and the Romney margin over Paul was actually 154 votes, rather than the 194 reported.” He reports that his impression “is that the person collecting the poll data had no knowledge of spreadsheet functions, took tallies from anyone who called, and overlooked email tallies that ended up in her/his spam folder.” This indicates a failure in management of the caucus, which should have set clear and consistent procedures for collecting and processing results, for dealing with problems like weather delays and for managing the data competently to produce accurate results.
“When the eyes of a nation are on your state you cannot afford to conduct a vote which is this amateurish,” said RLC National Chairman Dave Nalle. “It is essential that party organizations be seen to be above and separate from the campaigns and avoid any appearance of picking favorites. If all Republicans are expected to support the final nominee then that nominee must be the product of a process which is above reproach. You cannot demand party loyalty from partisans who feel that their candidates and their votes were treated with disdain and disrespect and you cannot expect them to accept the results of an election which was conducted in a sloppy and incompetent manner. Chairman Webster’s failure as a leader and an organizer is an insult to Republican voters and activists nationwide.”
Chairman Webster was under no obligation to announce incomplete and incorrect results as early as he did. State law and party rules would have permitted him to wait until he could make sure that the results were correct. This was already a multi-week caucus process. A delay of a few days or even a week would have done far less harm than rushing to a flawed and controversial announcement which has stirred up resentment and hostility between the supporters of different candidates in the primary.
We are all Republicans. We share common values. We believe in a constitutionally limited government where all voices are heard and none are excluded or given special privilege. We are a party of principles and those principles suffer when party leaders take actions which reflect badly on the party whether out of expediency, partisanship, ambition or simple negligence. As Republicans we should demand a higher standard of conduct from our party leaders and party organizations. We should all take a lesson from the scandal in Maine and guard against any repetition in other states.
Foinded in 1991, the Republican Liberty Caucus is a nationwide grassroots organization which promotes individual liberty and limited government within the Republican Party. You can find more about the Republican Liberty Caucus at www.rlc.org