Delaware’s Republican Party both violated its own Bylaws and caused the Delaware Republican Party’s losses in the November 2, 2010, general election, a new analysis reveals.
The Bylaws of Delaware’s Republican Party require in Article X, Section 1 that: “These rules of the Republican Party of the State of Delaware shall be in compliance and consistent with the Rules of the National Republican Party….”
However, Rule No. 11 of the Rules of the National Republican Party states: “(a) The Republican National Committee shall not, without the prior written and filed approval of all members of the Republican National Committee from the state involved, contribute money or in-kind aid to any candidate for any public or party office except the nominee of the Republican Party or a candidate who is unopposed in the Republican primary after the filing deadline for that office.”
Therefore, the Delaware GOP must remain neutral until the actual nominee is chosen by the voters in the actual primary. The State GOP may not contribute any kind of in-kind aid or money to one primary candidate over another candidate. Until a candidate becomes the nominee of the Republican party, the Delaware GOP may not take sides.
The Delaware Bylaws not only require the Bylaws to be in compliance with but also much more broadly “consistent with” the national rules. Thus, to be consistent with the national rules of the GOP, Delaware’s GOP may not openly campaign for a primary candidate before the voters have voted in the primary. By requiring its Bylaws to be consistent with the Rules of the National Republican Party, Delaware’s Republican Party prohibits the Delaware GOP from supporting any candidate for the Republican nomination in a primary.
After all, who is the Republican Party in Delaware? ARTICLE I. Section 1 of the Delaware GOP Bylaws requires: “All residents of the State of Delaware who are registered as Republicans on the voter registration lists of the respective Boards of Election within Delaware are members of the Republican Party of the State of Delaware.” The Republican party exists for Republican voters — not for the Republican insiders.
The Preamble of the Bylaws also require: “These rules establish the framework in which our mission can be accomplished. They preserve the fairness and integrity of our system and allow the voices of many to be unified as one, for the benefit of all.”
To “preserve the fairness and integrity of our system” requires allowing the Republican voters to choose their nominee in the primary election, free of manipulation and interference by party insiders. Tom Ross and the party elites sought to destroy the opportunity of GOP voters to freely choose the nominee. The Delaware GOP was required to “allow the voices of many to be unified as one, for the benefit of all.” By trying to silence one candidate and rob the voters of a choice, Tom Ross violated the Delaware Bylaws.
Now, it must be acknowledged that Republican traditions in Delaware are contrary to this conclusion. Over the years, Republican insiders in Delaware have often actively intervened in primary contests. This conclusion is different from what is accepted practice in Delaware. Yet insiders depriving Republican voters of a free choice is illegal under the GOP Bylaws as modified by the national rules required by Article X, Section 1.
In an extraordinarily vicious series of attacks, Delaware’s GOP State Chair Tom Ross and other Republican Party insiders took sides in the 2010 US Senate and US House campaigns. Rather than allowing Mike Castle to run his own campaign after 40 years of elected office, the GOP establishment openly campaigned against Christine O’Donnell for the US Senate as well as against Glen Urquhart for the US House. Thus, the primary campaign consisted of (a) the Mike Castle campaign, (b) the Delaware Republican party, and (c) the National Republican Senatorial Committee all campaigning together against the Christine O’Donnell and Glen Urquhart campaigns.
Not only did the Delaware GOP actively join the campaign against O’Donnell and Urquhart, but Tom Ross took the extraordinary step of filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Christine O’Donnell and the Tea Party Express. Tom Ross’ attack on the Tea Party Express and O’Donnell before the September 14 primary prompted a firestorm of national criticism by seeming to validate false smears on O’Donnell.
The Delaware GOP’s complaint to the Federal Election Commission triggered a copy-cat complaint by the George Soros-funded organization C.R.E.W. Not to be left irrelevant in their own field, C.R.E.W. then rushed in to follow Tom Ross’ example and join Tom Ross in the news media spotlight.
C.R.E.W. immediately began nation-wide fund-raising off of their Tom Ross-inspired complaint. The C.R.E.W. complaint is based upon an affidavit from a relative of Christine’s former boyfriend Brent Vasher from 2008, a Republican who had worked on her campaign. Given the other activities of the Delaware GOP, it appears likely that Tom Ross or the Delaware GOP introduced the Republican Vasher relative to C.R.E.W.
Even if a State party may openly campaign for a candidate, filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the Tea Party Express and its own Republican candidate is a radically different step. What in the Bylaws authorize Tom Ross to attack a Republican candidate in this way?
The Delaware GOP attacks were almost unprecedented in the nasty and unprofessional comments, smears, and mud-slinging by the party against one if its own Republican candidates.
Now, it is true that the Bylaws of Delaware’s GOP do prohibit the use of any GOP resources to help or promote a primary candidate who has not been endorsed by the GOP Statewide convention. A non-endorsed candidate is prohibited from even attending Republican meetings or events for the purpose of campaigning or meeting voters.
However, the prohibition in the Bylaws against helping a non-endorsed candidate does not necessarily authorize active intervention in support of a different candidate. Such an idea might seem to be implied. But the explicit requirement that the Bylaws by “consistent with” national rules over-rides any such unstated implication. The Bylaws’ prohibition on helping a non-endorsed candidate does not authorize the Delaware GOP to actively campaign in favor of any candidate. Standing alone, that might be considered to be implied. But it is rebutted by compliance with national rules.
Again, a rule that the Party may not support a non-endorsed candidate does not authorize Tom Ross to file legal complaints against Republican candidates that the insiders don’t like.
This un-democratic, elitist rule may even be illegal under State and Federal law, because Delaware does allow a primary. While a Party may choose its nominees either by a convention or primary, once a primary is allowed, the voters casting their votes in the primary must be allowed to choose the nominee without interference. Although the Delaware GOP could choose its nominee at a convention, once the voters are allowed to choose in a primary, they must be allowed to vote without manipulation of their votes. Thus, the Delaware GOP’s rules frustrating the opportunity of Republican voters to freely choose the nominee may be illegal under Federal election laws and Delaware State laws. Again, a party may endorse a candidate. A party may choose its candidate in a convention. But if a primary election is held, the voters themselves must be permitted to vote without having the election rigged. Preventing candidates from meeting voters at party events and meetings may be illegal manipulation of the primary vote.
Finally, the Delaware State GOP Bylaws also set as a mission of the Delaware Republican Party: “to promote the Republican philosophy and to endorse those principles of government by electing qualified republicans to state and Federal office.”
However, Christine O’Donnell was the official nominee of the Republican Party for US Senate in 2008. She was considered qualified to run side by side with the Party’s nominee for President and the Party’s nominee for Governor in 2008. Having run Christine O’Donnell as its nominee in 2008, Republican insiders cannot argue that Christine O’Donnell was not qualified. Therefore, under the Bylaws, the Delaware Party was obligated to help elect her to office.