County GOP Chair Clarifies State Chairman’s Deception To Legislators

As reported yesterday by Undercover Porcupine in “Maine GOP Chairman Hangs County Chairs Out To Dry“, the mess within the Maine Republican Party continues. After covering up fraudulent elections for County Officers in Penobscot and refusing to motivate his leadership to produce a budget more than two months past due, State Chairman Rich Cebra has now abandoned his County Chairs after sending them on a political suicide mission against his own Legislators.

In an e-mail obtained by Undercover Porcupine, Washington County Chairman Tony Bennett responded to his internal critics for standing his ground. Now another e-mail surfaces where he clarifies State Chairman Cebra’s deception to the Republican caucus.

Some Republican Legislators were rightfully upset when news got back that the State Chairman was leading a witch hunt against them and when the backlash reached County Chairs like Tony Bennett, State Chairman Cebra turned his back and claimed to have not been responsible for the witch hunt.

After defending his integrity towards staunch defenders of State Chairman Cebra’s unshakable bodyguards, County Chairman Bennett has now contacted the Republican legislators who were targeted by their leader to clarify what really happened.

This is the letter from County Chairman Bennett to the Republican caucus:

My name is Tony Bennett, Chairman of the Washington County Republican Party. I am an honorably discharged Marine. I am a two tour combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I fought the war on the ground in 2003 and spent the better part of 2004 and 2005 in Al Anbar province on the receiving end of rockets and mortars. While fighting besides my fellow Marines in Iraq, I learned a whole new appreciation for life and living. You only live once and you should do so with honor and integrity while treating other people with dignity and respect. Do things the way they ought to be done. Be honest, be fair, and leave behind a legacy of positive events. You will someday be judged not by who you are but what you have done and how you did it. Therefore, being lied to and lied about is intolerable to me. You and I have had an injustice perpetrated upon us. We have been party to a grand lie: some lied to and some lied about.

On Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 myself and several other County Chairman attended a conference call with Chairman Cebra of the Maine Republican party. During that call we discussed a couple of hot button items that were coming up for vote soon. One item was a list of Republican Legislators who were reported to have been either considering a vote or ready to vote for tax increases to balance the budget. We were told that administrative staff from 9 Higgins would be sending out the list via email to all Maine Republican Party Chairs by 6:15 PM. The instructions for what to do with the list were vague but clear enough to understand that we should get the list into the hands of every Republican in every town in the state so that they may call the legislators on the list and urge them not to vote for tax increases. Some of us did just that, including myself. Some of you were on that list and received calls. Many of you were angry, and rightly so.

By 6:00 PM Wednesday night I my cell phone had run completely dead and my inbox was overflowing with emails. Everyone wanted to know the who, what, where, and hows of this list. I told everyone that asked exactly where the list came from. I have the original email that contained the list, the content reads “Attached is the tax increase list that Chairman Cebra discussed on the conference call.”.

By noon on Thursday the 6th, all reports coming back from Augusta were that Chairman Cebra had reported that he had indeed had a conference call with county chairs but this list was not discussed. I am here to tell you that this information is false.

I have nothing to gain from this letter except to uphold and retain my honor and integrity. I am an unpaid volunteer, I do not get reimbursed for my mileage or gas for my car. I drive down to every state committee meeting and have never sent a proxy. I am regularly given information to disseminate and have never been chastised for it prior to this. But sadly this is just another example of poor decisions made by my leaders at 9 Higgins street. My ultimate fear is that Republicans in Maine will not be victorious in 2014 if we continue this trend. I expect backhanded behavior from across the isle but not from the chairman of my own party. I would like to apologize for any damage you may have suffered from this incident and would hope that Chairman Cebra would also apologize not only to you but to myself and the county chairs that he has lied about and made out to be pariahs. Something needs to change within the party and quickly. 2014 is not far away.

Thank you for taking the time to listen.

Tony Bennett

Chairman

Washington County Republican

County Chairman Bennett echoes the fear many Maine Republicans have after the continued corruption within the Maine Republican Party and the lack of leadership by various figures, including the State Chairman. Power within the Maine Republican Party will be maintained and it is becoming increasingly clear that the cost of retaining this power will be the 2014 elections. For those of you keeping score, that means two years after losing the Legislature, the Republican Party will lose the Blaine House while taking more losses in the Legislature. The party is preparing itself to fall far behind the enormous steps made in 2010.

As 2014 draws near, it is becoming increasingly clear that if the Maine Republican Party is to have a successful and victorious future, it needs less Rich Cebras and more Tony Bennetts leading the charge.