Skip to comments.N.C. GOP to oust Richard Morgan as leader (Leaders he has worked against the party's interests)
Posted on 05/22/2004 10:53:55 AM PDT by jern
GREENSBORO -- North Carolina GOP leaders moved Friday to strip the highest-profile Republican in state government -- House co-Speaker Richard Morgan -- of his party leadership post, saying he was "culpable of disloyalty."
In a closed meeting that participants said was filled with angry speeches, the state GOP's 45-member Central Committee recommended overwhelmingly that Morgan be excluded from party leadership -- the political equivalent of a papal excommunication.
The 500-member Executive Committee is expected to ratify the decision when it meets Sunday.
"I think it sends a strong signal that Republicans in this state are going to stand up for conservative values ... and will seek after the best interests of the party, as opposed to self-serving individuals," said Nelson Dollar, a GOP delegate from Cary.
Morgan, a veteran lawmaker from Moore County, was not present as the three-day state Republican Convention opened at a convention hotel Friday. But in a telephone interview, he said he was being attacked because he was trying to broaden the party, rather than make it ideologically narrow.
"Actions like that are two steps backwards for the Hillsborough Street Republicans," he said, referring to the party's state headquarters on Raleigh's Hillsborough Street, "and one step forward for what I am trying to do to reach out and be more inclusive and bring a vision to our party.
"I'm tired of people who just want to toss grenades and see what they can blow up."
What prompted this feud was the 2002 election, when voters elected a 61-59 Republican majority in the House. The House became deadlocked 60-60 when a Republican legislator switched to the Democratic Party.
Morgan led a group of five Republican House members to form a governing coalition with the Democrats. Morgan shared the speakership last year with Democrat Jim Black of Mecklenburg County and is doing so again in the legislative session that started this month.
The co-speakers decide which proposals come up for votes -- and which bills go nowhere. They also play a key role in deciding how to spend the $15 billion-plus in the annual state budget.
Republican delegates said their anger at Morgan goes beyond his forming a coalition with House Democrats. They complain that he backed a tax increase during a 2003 budget shortfall, sided with Democrats on legislative redistricting decisions last year that will make it more difficult to elect Republicans and has recruited opponents to run against several of his most vocal House critics in the July 20 Republican primary.
They chose to expel Morgan from membership on the state Republican Executive Committee to express their displeasure. No one could remember that happening before to any elected official.
Party leaders said there was just one dissenting vote Friday on the Central Committee to expel Morgan from his party post.
"It was pretty passionate in there," said Chris Farr, a Republican activist from Raleigh who helped lead the effort to oust Morgan. "This is a very sober, very sad fight."
Farr said she hoped the action could be used by Morgan's Republican primary opponent to unseat him. His challenger, Peggy Crutchfield, president of United Way of Moore County, calls him a Benedict Arnold who betrayed conservative voters.
Morgan and his allies aren't sitting still. They created the N.C. Republican Main Street Committee, a new kind of nonprofit advocacy group that can accept anonymous donations. It has already started running radio ads praising Morgan's leadership.
GOP activists said they thought the party warfare would not damage Republicans in this big election year, when a U.S. Senate seat, governor, other statewide offices and all 170 legislative seats are on the ballot. Instead they said booting Morgan would help impose party discipline and energize the party.
North Carolina Republicans have a long history of factional fights -- mainly between traditional business and mountain Republicans and more conservative Jesse Helms Republicans -- that seem not to have hurt the party's growth.
Morgan said he doesn't have to defend his record of party loyalty, noting that his work for Republicans dates to the 1970s when he served in the administration of Gov. Jim Holshouser.
Morgan speaks out
He said the opposition is being led by his critics in Wake County, singling out former state Rep. Art Pope, a Raleigh businessman whose family has been a financial patron of Republican and conservative causes.
Morgan likened his own efforts of working with Democrats to those by two fellow Republicans -- President Bush and North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole -- to broaden the party among women and other groups of voters. Morgan expressed concern that North Carolina Republicans are having a difficult time winning the support of moderate suburban voters.
"I'm tired of an extreme point of view holding the rest of the party hostage," he said.
good news ping!
This would seem to open the door for George Holmes (the Yadkin County rep that lost out in the Speakership vote last year) to assume the throne... unless other shuffles are in the works.
AMEN! I am glad to see the NC GOP is making moves to oust his RINO rear-end! "Sharing" the speaker position was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.
Good move, IMHO.
Sounds good. I take it that "Main Street Republicans" is just a newfangled way of saying "Big Tent Republicans."
AND, the Civil War of our time moves to a new front. I am liking it!! GOOD JOB!!!!!!!
Could you fill is us westerners about this guy's errors? (Not that I disbelieve that article - RINOs are anathema!)
I just want to get cheered up.
Ousting Morgan is similar to leaving 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean -- a good start.
Liberals infiltrating to move republicans further and further left.
Morgan & Decker need to be ousted in their primaries.
It sounds like this Morgan as the NC "Speaker" is much in league with the "Republican" President of the FL Senate, Jim King, another "popular" moderate.
But first the party will need to have a quorum at the Sunday morning meeting. For that reason, Huber and I will be hitting the road shortly for an hour-and-a-half drive to Greensboro, for a 10 minute meeting. (At times I question my sanity.)
who's driving???LOL..thanks for all you and Huber do.
The big tent concept is a good idea except some Republicans think this means caving in to the RATS! We need to attract voters that have conservative values..and there are lots out there! Points of policy and ideas can be debated but not principles....Toss out the RINO scum!
There is a difference; like Morgan, King is self-serving; unlike Morgan, however, King is evil.
That's why we need to start walking in old, established, black neighborhoods and sharing the Republican message. They need to hear that the Democrat party took a "sharp left turn" and left them behind.
This is the best news I've read all week, thanks for the ping!
Is anyone challenging him or Michael Decker in the primaries?
yea Decker is tost...
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