Governor LePage: The State GOP Chair Tiebreaker

The Maine Republican Party has been a battlefield since February, with the Ron Paul movement led by a sophisticated presidential campaign entering the scene. Since, it’s been one skirmish after another among the wings of the party. Now, after all the internal divisions and lack of confidence in the leadership, the party has been hit with a devastating defeat in the general election. With the failure of the federal candidates and the loss of the Legislative majority, there is just one last standing point that the Republicans have, and that’s Governor Paul LePage.

Throughout the entire presidential primary, Governor LePage maintained a neutral position as he focused on his agenda of fixing the problems in Augusta, whether it be corruption or waste. Being the one point of unification in the party that everyone respects though, he very well could have tipped a close convention for anyone. It wouldn’t have been productive for his party though. The primary was a vicious war that fractured the Republican Party and the wounds are still healing. Whereas Governor LePage did not want to be apart of the collapse, he wants to be apart of the healing.

The chairmanship is going to be the first step in steering the party in a different direction. Under Charlie Webster, the Maine Republican Party has crashed and burned. 2012 has been a nightmare. With the Webster era officially drawing to a close, as he has announced he will not seek re-election, the State Committee now has the future of the party in its hands as they consider the individual who will inherit the mess.

It’s become clear that the race will be dirty, as well. As covered in “The Underground War For Maine Republican Chair”, Representative Rich Cebra is facing a heavy smear campaign. The individuals behind David Jones, primarily Defense of Liberty PAC, have launched a series of dirty rumors into circulation in an attempt to dirty his name. The race has changed a little bit since this article however. According to multiple sources, which is seemingly affirmed by the silence on this front, Jones is now out of the race. Instead, the rise of another candidate has come in the form of Representative Beth O’Connor.

Representative O’Connor is a well-respected member of the liberty movement, which gives her good standing with the Ron Paul people that have brought new life and youth activists into the party. She is also a strong conservative, which makes her a respected figure in Republican politics. Whereas a race of Jones versus Representative Cebra made the decision very easy for most people, a race between the two respected State Representatives makes it difficult. Nobody wants to oppose one and have to choose, because they’re two likable people with solid records.

It’s going to have to come down to future plans for the party. Looking at the reality of things, Representative Cebra is being termed out of the Legislature and opted not to pursue the State Senate because of personal reasons. While a future in elected office does not seem to be in the immediate future, it does for Representative O’Connor. Many Republicans continue to float her name for a return to the Legislature, or even higher office. Her character and principles are respected by many. With that said, many also fear that entering a race that has already become dirty could hurt her name within the Republican Party and a possible future in politics. While she is no establishment individual by any stretch of the imagination, to advance liberty and the principles of freedom, Representative O’Connor is someone who is essential to the future. She needs to be back in office.

Rumors persist that Governor LePage’s pick is Representative Cebra. Although this has yet to be confirmed by the Governor himself, it appears to be the truth. Given this point, as well as the importance of the future, it’s in the Republican Party’s best interest to support Representative Cebra. He is in the position to unite the party and bring all voices to the table, which would allow the healing process to finally begin in preparation for 2014. Then when 2014 arrives under the leadership of Chairman Richard Cebra, the best leader among the field of candidates who will restore the Republican Party is Beth O’Connor. Republicans need to stand behind Governor LePage and keep the future of the Republican Party in mind when making this decision.

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning activist who is State Coordinator of the Maine Tenth Amendment Center and former Androscoggin County co-coordinator for the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign. These thoughts are his own, and not on behalf of any organization he works for.