Battle for party leadership brewing
Monday, February 25, 2013 9:00 PM
This time next week, the local political parties might have new leaders. And they might not.
It appears there are at least two, and quite possibly three people who will vie for the chair of the local Republican Party when the precinct committee chairs gather on March 2. For the Democrats, it looks like two are competing for the top spot.
Scott Molin, the current Republican chair, sent a letter to the precinct committee people on Feb. 15 that detailed his intention to seek re-election. County Councilman Aaron Morgan has confirmed he is throwing his hat into the ring. And finally, John Pickerill's name has been tossed about in local circles as a third candidate - a rumor that Pickerill would neither confirm nor deny even though there are reports that he told Molin he was running. There's talk of other potential candidates as well, but the three above appear to be the most likely.
The only thing that's certain is that not many people are talking publicly, although behind the scenes things are buzzing.
Here are a few things we do know.
Molin has made the point both publicly and privately that the party is fine, never better actually. His answer to recent criticism in this space is to suggest critics should shut up and get on board. Apparently, Molin is following his own advice because he has yet to return a phone call on this topic.
Morgan, on the other hand, said that he is definitely going to seek the chairmanship spot because he wants to help lead the party in a different direction.
Pickerill, who is closely tied to the Montgomery County Tea Party, would not say one way or the other what his plans are. He did say that things need to work differently in the party, but was quick to point out that Molin is not to blame since party problems had been prevalent long before he became chair.
Things will come to a head on March 2 when the precinct chairpersons and other Republicans meet for the required annual organization meeting. The process will be fairly simple. A vote will be taken among the precinct leaders. If a majority of the votes go to one candidate, that's the winner. If there is no majority, a second ballot will be taken and folks will have a chance to re-cast their vote, or change to someone else. If that ballot does not produce a winner, the person receiving the lowest vote total is eliminated and another vote takes place. Depending on how many people are in the running, this will be repeated until a winner is chosen.
It's hard to say who's going to emerge, or even at this point, who all is definitely running. But one thing is for sure. The local GOP is facing a challenge. If Molin wins, those in the Tea Party and those backing Morgan will have to decide if they want on board or not. If Morgan, or Pickerill, wins, ditto for the other side(s). One thing Pickerill said that is certainly true, some Republicans have hard questions, not just here but all over the country as some factions have become increasingly dissatisfied with the direction they claim the party has taken. March 2 will only be the first step toward determining what happens next.
OVER ON the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are not without intrigue, although they are much less secretive about it. Current Chair David Hadley, who is in his second stint after coming out of retirement when the Democrats were tearing themselves apart during Kathi Schronce's time as chair, told The Paper he is running for re-election. Hadley will face a formidable challenge from former county commissioner and current drainage board member Ed Stephens. Stephens said that he just wants to help the local Democrats grow stronger, something that Stephens, with a wide base of supporters, could likely do.
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be reached at email@example.com.