Recently, Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster made some comments to the media regarding a specific race of individuals who were voting on Election Day. In an interview, he stated “In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in [these] towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.” The comments have created massive blowback against the Maine Republican Party, which many are decrying as racist.
These comments have upset not only Democrats, Independents, and everyday Mainers, but also Republicans as well. Grassroots Republicans, who are trying to clear the name of their party, are upset that they are again being labeled as racist and insensitive. Republican leadership is also upset that Charlie Webster is again creating a negative controversy for the party. The poor reflection of the party comes after a difficult year for the party, often because of errors and bad statements by the chairman. Now many Republicans have had enough of it, and even though he will be gone at the end of the year, some in leadership feel that is not enough.
Republican National Committeeman Mark Willis feels that it is time for the transformation of the party image to begin now. The December 1st election will reflect a change in the party as the State Committee looks to lead past the Charlie Webster era, a tumultuous time for the Maine Republican Party. “The comments were unfortunate, misguided, and ultimately reprehensible,” National Committeeman Willis said, when asked about the Webster interview’s controversial moment. “He never should have uttered such comments.”
As a leader in the party, National Committteeman Willis feels he has an obligation to stand up for the voices within the party who feel it is time to move on.
“This is not a reflection of the party as a whole,” National Committeeman Willis stated. “As laid out in the preambles of the rules of the party, we are the party of liberty, the party of equality, opportunity for all, and favoritism for none. We encourage and allow the broadest possible participation of all voters in Republican Party activities at all levels. And I will fight to ensure that the Republican Party is open and accessible to all Americans.”
Recently, Charlie Webster announced he will not run for re-election in December. The first of the month, the State Committee will make the decision between two well-respected members of the Maine Legislature for the replacement. The individual chosen will be tasked with rebuilding the party image and healing the wounds created after a year of issues.
National Committeeman Willis feels that the rebuilding process should begin immediately, ahead of the legislative session. He believes that the best thing is for Charlie Webster to step down, move on, and let the healing process begin.