Two State Committeemembers Resign Over Penobscotgate

The fallout from the “Penobscotgate” controversy continues. Yesterday, Undercover Porcupine released two revealing internal memos to the State Committee from Chairman Rich Cebra. In both, it displayed a real willingness to ignore the issue at hand. After threatening the State Committee with his lawyer, he agreed to assemble a panel to investigate the matter. The panel, however, will be “non-binding” and after that, the issue will be done.

Before this issue went public, Julie Morgan resigned the State Committee over the irregularities. Whether or not outright fraud was committed in Penobscot is another debate, but the continued resistance of the Maine Republican Party in addressing the matter gives the appearance of something dark at work.

Now Morgan is no longer the only one who has left in protest. Bryan Daugherty, who lost the election in question, and Michelle Anderson have resigned. Both submitted resignation letters that had some telling information.

Daugherty’s resignation letter makes note of what he’s done in his 18+ years in the Republican Party, which includes serving as municipal delegation chair, state delegate, national delegate, Penobscot County State Committeeman, Penobscot County Rules and Procedures Committee chairman, and Republican Liberty Caucus board member.

If there’s one area where the Maine Republican Party has always lacked, it’s a presence in the twenty-first century. Using his web development and social media skills, he developed a web and social media presence for the Bangor Republican Party, as well as for Penobscot and Washington County. He’s also helped do the same for various Republican organizations and candidates.

Instead of embracing the ambition and talent of Daugherty however, the Maine Republican Party opted to drive him from the party with their dirty tactics. These internal issues he has experienced first hand, not only as a member of Penobscot, but also as a National Delegate last election cycle.

“If the past year is any indicator of the future of the Republican party, both here in Maine and nationally, I am afraid to say that it doesn’t look good,” Daugherty told Undercover Porcupine. “Outside of the party hemorrhaging membership, those at the very top, including the GOP and RNC consultants, have decided that the only way to compete with the Democrats is to take up their most unsavory practices and become them.”

Daugherty also ran Maine National Committeeman Mark Willis’s campaign for RNC chair in January. With this campaign, a number of these issues at the RNC were raised, and predictably ignored.

“As I discovered first-hand in Tampa as a National Delegate, the Republican Party will go to any lengths to stifle the voices of party members who do not agree with their decisions,” Daugherty continued. “From replacing duly-elected delegates including veterans for no better reason than that those delegates did not support ‘leadership’s’ pre-determined candidate to illegally adopting rules that continue to disenfranchise the grassroots of the Republican Party.”

Twice, he was affected by elections being fixed for leadership’s pre-determined candidate, although by Maine Republican Party standards, he wasn’t “affected” by the delegation mess in the primaries.

The future of the Republican Party has been a lingering question in politics, both nationally and in Maine. With RNC chairman Reince Priebus burning the grassroots, as well as former Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster doing the same, a civil war was declared within the party that has even driven some people from the party in disgust.

What does the future of the party hold? It’s a question even Daugherty wonders.

“At face value, there will always be a ‘Republican’ Party. The question really is this: ‘What will that party stand for, and will it ever be competitive again?”

It’s all a question of leadership, which seems to be lacking. Michelle Anderson, who also resigned from State Committee, also submitted a resignation letter. She also spoke to Undercover Porcupine about the issue.

“The facts are that Rich Cebra knew about the corrupt election which was going to happen in Penobscot and when I begged him to stay after his speech to ensure that it was not able to happen, he said to me, ‘Leave me out of it.’ I was dismayed,” Anderson said. “After it happened, I called and asked for his help. Rich Cebra said it was not his concern. I was disturbed.”

Anderson’s husband, Ken, filed the original appeal that was rejected on the grounds that he supposedly was “unaffected.”

“When my husband, a duly-elected voting member of the County Committee followed the rules and filed an appeal, Rich Cebra and his lawyer decreed that he was ‘not an affected person.’ I was disgusted,” Michelle Anderson continued. “And when Bryan Daugherty, who Rich Cebra would recognize as ‘an affected person,’ appealed the on-going breach of the bylaws — which per Roberts Rules of Order has no time limit — Rich Cebra promised ‘a non-binding report’ by a panel he will appoint, and there would be no remedies but rather they will try to figure out how to keep it from happening in the future.”

It was becoming clear that nothing was going to change. “At that point, I reached my corruption threshold and had no choice but to follow my conscience and resign and leave the party.”

With Daugherty and Anderson leaving the party, Ken Anderson has also revealed he is leaving as well, also in protest of the actions. “Over the past couple of months, a lot of words have been said on both sides about what occurred during the Penobscot County Committee election, but the facts that some would like to obscure are simple: There were fewer than fifty people eligible to vote in that election and more than seventy votes were cast,” Anderson told Undercover Porcupine. “Everything else is intended only to distract. If it is necessary to use the tactics of Acorn to win an election in the Republican Party, I will be pleased to extract myself from that cesspool.”

Now three members of the Penobscot County Republican Party have left, joining former State Committeewoman Julie Morgan who resigned in protest of this after the elections occurred.

As far as the future goes, all three have committed to remaining active in Maine’s future and helping advance the liberty movement in Maine politics.

“I plan to remain quite active in the Maine politics, and at this time, free from the association of any party,” Daugherty replied, when asked about his post-Republican Party days in politics. “I have met some very amazing individuals that are quite active along this journey and plan to make sure that the liberty movement reaches is true potential — which I might add is much larger than the “Grand Ole Party.”

Michelle Anderson adds: “I will remain active in Maine politics, specifically trying to form coalitions of unenrolled, third or unrecognized party members, and those who simply wish to find candidates with integrity.”

If this is any indication of the future, the failed leadership in the Maine Republican Party will lead to more people leaving and choosing principles before party.

Could this be the moment in time when the Republicans take a seat in history next to the Whigs? Only time will tell.

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.