Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – The 12 precinct committeemen who resigned from the Mohave County Republican Central Committee on Monday felt they had no other choice.
Although they plan to remain an active voice in the Republican Party, they stand united in their anger that the local conservative party is becoming diluted with non-Republican members. Former State Senator Sue Donahue, was among the committeemen who resigned.
“For me, the Republican Central Committee for Mohave County has not acted in the best interest of Republicans,” Donahue said. “They are allowing libertarians in. We’ve been trying to get the bylaws rewritten, which are so out of date, but there is a core group in the central committee who are PCs that don’t want to get this done. I don’t understand why.”
Also resigning was Gaynell Crews, who has been a precinct committeeman since 1998.
“The MCRCC has not been adhering to the bylaws,” Crews said. “They’ve allowed non-Republicans to attend the meetings, and they’ve supported both financially, verbally and many other ways people who are not Republicans, people who changed parties and went independent. Our bylaws say we only support Republicans. The national committee even says we don’t support or condone people from other parties. There is freedom of speech, but not at our central committee meetings.” Donahue and Crews are also disillusioned with the meetings for other reasons, saying that “every single” meeting ends up in an argument.
“Nothing gets done,” Donahue said. “They censure our Republican senators, and that’s not our job. Our job is to get out the vote and they are not doing that.”
“The representation from Lake Havasu is fed up, we quit, we’re done,” Donahue added. “We are just too divided. If this is what it takes to get people’s attention for all of the PCs in the area to leave the central committee, then that’s what we will have done.”
Although no longer a precinct committeeman, Donahue promises to still work to get out the vote, register Republican voters, and stand against what she believes as mismanagement of the MCRCC.
“We don’t need to have the money we earn here in Lake Havasu from fundraisers go to other cities and be spent and not accounted for, and that’s been going on,” she added. “We are done. Don’t fret, we are still Republicans.”
Crews sees herself as an old-school Republican. She is also concerned there is a shift in party membership with libertarians and liberal leaning conservatives “infiltrating” the Republican Party in Mohave County.
“I think there is a hope for true Republicans, but I don’t think it’s through MCRCC,” Crews said.
Crews points to Committee Chairman Laurence Schiff’s Facebook page as an example of the depth of what is happening at the central committee.
“Unless he’s changed it, he publicly calls himself a libertarian, and he’s the chair of our Republican Party,” Crews said. “Herein lies the problem.”
According to Schiff’s Facebook page, he has been a conservative-libertarian – with a lowercase “L” – almost all of his life, except for a brief flirtation with liberalism during his “impressionable” college years in the 1960s.
Schiff said he’s not a Libertarian, never has been and never will be, but he favors a lot of libertarian ideas. He’s always said there are only two political parties with the wherewithal to win an election and govern the country appropriately.
“People who are conservative Republicans believe in small government, as Libertarians do,” Schiff told the Daily Miner on Tuesday. “I believe in things like eliminating the Department of Education. I don’t believe everybody should do whatever they want, like drugs. They’re on unemployment and they expect the government to deal with their crisis.”
As for the mass resignation of precinct people in Lake Havasu City, that’s their choice, Schiff said. He’s already recruited 14 new precinct chairmen in Lake Havasu City and has three new applications.
“So we are growing dramatically. We are now going to have year-round offices in all three districts (Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City) by Dec. 1.” Schiff said.
The other committeemen who resigned were Don Donahue, Kenneth R. Crews, Sarah Hall, George Schnittgrund, Sandra Ford, Ruthellen Navin, David Navin, Donna Steinle, Judith Markham, and Archie Markham.
Daily Miner reporter Hubble Ray Smith contributed to this report.