Buncombe GOP infighting over "ruthless attacks"
The nasty fight in the NC House District 115 Republican primary is opening rifts among local GOP leadership - and among the rank-and-file.
A series of e-mails between Chairman Carl Mumpower and 2nd Vice Chair Lisa Baldwin were distributed widely among Republican party officials. The exchange shows Mumpower refuses to speak with Baldwin because of her tactics.
Baldwin has been promoting Amy Evans for the House 115 race. Former BCGOP Chairman Nathan West also filed to run, but withdrew last week after a series of public records were disseminated by Baldwin's group of Republicans.
Baldwin said on Facebook that she is simply interested in "truth-telling," and was exhibiting care and compassion when she told West that all this bad information would get out and hurt his family.
In light of all this nastiness, Mumpower advised Baldwin in an e-mail:
In resolving the dilemma of two candidates for the 11th District, both individuals and their advisers took liberties that served to further divide and alienate the Republican community in Buncombe County.
I bare no malice, but remain concerned with the somewhat ruthless approach by each camp.
On that basis, until the end of the primary, though one candidate has withdrawn, I will not be offering any further official Party engagement with either camp. Once the primary has come to a close, we can then speak about how best to help.
He cc'd Evans and West.
Baldwin was not happy.
I'm not sure what you mean about the "ruthless approach by each camp"?
I am not aware of any actions by Amy Evans, her campaign or the BCGOP that were "ruthless". Facts, please.
Continuing to blame our party for Nathan West's irresponsibility and disregard for the law makes no sense.
If you're relying on Pete Kaliner's claims, some fact-checking needs to be done.
Let's sit down and meet. I am available today after 5pm. Shall I come to your office at that time?
West withdrew, but some in the BCGOP camp are worried he'll beat Evans without running a campaign.
By the way, this same thing is also happening in the Democratic Party - at the national level.
But Mumpower was not interested in meeting with Baldwin.
Hi Lisa - I have been over this course with you numerous times. We agree to disagree on the care with which a BCGOP official should operate in public.
It is not something I wish to continue rehashing. As I shared with Monroe Miller, though our values are similar, our paths to upholding those values differ.
I note that Mr. Kaliner operates from that same model of antagonism and should not be treated seriously. He is not a factor in my conclusions.
This upset Baldwin further.
If Pete Kaliner is not a factor in your conclusions, then why did you lecture the BCGOP at the last meeting as if Pete's comments were true? Pete refuses to schedule me for his show via phone or studio in order to refute the false accusations he made about revenge against West.
Prior to the end of the filing period, I called Nathan out of genuine care and concern for him and his family. Amy Evans was uncertain about filing because Nathan and his wife were her friends. She was very gracious and humble. Nathan was very cordial on the phone and said that Amy Evans should file. He said his name would remain on the ballot when he withdrew. There were no threats. Why shouldn't the BCGOP be concerned for his welfare? I do think this is appropriate behavior for a BCGOP official.
My asking for equal radio time for a candidate in a Republican primary was not showing favor to Amy over Nathan. Both should get equal radio time. My question via tweet to Pete about Nathan's non-payment for child support was in relation to Pete's discussion of Nathan's arrest record and address challenge. I thought that would allow Nathan to explain his actions and clear his name.
Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding this matter. I would like specifics on which actions as BCGOP 2nd Vice-Chair you disapprove.
Again, I am available to meet at 5:15 - 5:30pm today.
As an aside, I stand by my assessment that the hit job on West was driven by vengeance by Baldwin - along with folks Don Yelton and Chad Nesbitt. They are nursing grudges against West from when he was chairman of the BCGOP and took actions they did not like.
They set about organizing an effort to take over the local party at the last convention, and they succeeded. So, now they are exacting their revenge.
Indeed, Yelton talked on Facebook about the hit coming on West before it occurred.
By this point, you can see the Baldwin's dishonesty begin to surface.
She claims she only mentioned the child support issue to "allow Nathan to explain his actions and clear his name."
Here are the tweets she sent during West's live radio interview:
Baldwin is pretending her motive was one of caring and compassion. It's clearly not.
And it doesn't take long for the mask to slip even further.
Mumpower responds, and again refuses to meet one-on-one.
I'm sorry Lisa, but your approach to problem solving is not one that I am willing to engage with any further. It does not read as genuine to me - and I say that without any wish to be hurtful. But that's where it falls - I am not willing to meet on this issue for that reason.
And then Baldwin begins to reveal the root of her animosity...
Carl, My approach certainly was genuine. I don't play games as others do. What is it specifically that you do not like about this approach?
Is it because I am honest and frank and don't sugarcoat the truth?
Nathan West broke his word to me that he would withdraw, per our conversation on Feb. 28th. Since then he has continued to to do the same with Amy as she reached out to him multiple times.
It is through communication that we can work through issues and come out with an optimal solution. Will you meet with me today at 5:15-5:30pm? I will be at Saturday's convention if that is more convenient. I would like to meet prior to Monday's BCGOP meeting.
Whether you like it or not, Buncombe Republicans elected me as 2nd Vice Chair. It is your duty to work together with your leadership team.
You'll note How Baldwin characterizes her approach as genuine and honest, while denying she's done anything inappropriate or "ruthless."
This is a standard tactic of narcissists - who "gaslight" people as a form of mental abuse and manipulation. It's an attempt to convince you that what you are seeing and hearing is not real.
By the way, West did announce he was withdrawing. However, due to NC law, the ballots will still have his name on them. If he were to actually get more votes than Evans, he could accept the nomination.
This virtual impossibility is what Baldwin and Evans are worried about.
Mumpower, for the third time, refused to meet with Baldwin until he sees "some evidence of a more sincere approach."
Baldwin response shows exactly what she has denied - that she is fueled by a rage against West based on past grievances when West was BCGOP Chairman.
Let me see if I understand, you're questioning my sincerity in kindly asking Nathan to withdraw from the HD 115 race for the sake of his family?
Yet, he receives a free pass for attacking the BCGOP?
As a candidate West is under public scrutiny for these actions, which demonstrate his disregard for personal responsibility and the law:
• Courthouse records are public information and show he owes the IRS $111,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties. The first payment is due in 2019.
• He claims to be an insurance adjuster, yet is practicing without a legal license.
• He left his son without proper financial support while growing up; this violation of child support is deemed contempt of a court order.
• After a long series of court appearances for non-payment of child support, he was arrested in August of 2017. A taxpayer-paid attorney was appointed and West must appear in court on April 23, 2018.
• In 2017 he was sued by K-Wall in Fletcher for non-payment of services totaling $17,000.
• When his home was foreclosed, he refused to leave and had to be evicted by the Buncombe County Sheriff.
When announcing that he was dropping out (maybe?), he didn't follow through on his agreement to support Amy Evans campaign but instead chose to attack the Republican Party. This is the party that he led in 2015-2017 that went without meetings for months, voted without quorum, authorized the handing out of pre-marked primary ballots in violation of party rules and made false accusations against the Republican Women's Club. So, you won't meet with me until I produce evidence of my sincerity?
You'll notice the part at the end here about the primary ballots and the Republican Women's Club.
That's what this is all about.
It's so incredibly stupid and petty. But that's where all this began. In 2016.
A Republican women’s group is being criticized for handing out what the local GOP head says is altered campaign materials that leave off the names of three Republican candidates running for Buncombe County school board.
Nathan West, who chairs the Buncombe County Republican Party, said the local party produced a handout designed as a Republican sample ballot listing all GOP candidates running for office in the general election, including those running in the nonpartisan school board race.
West said the Buncombe County Republican Women’s Club took that original handout and altered it, taking off certain names.
The original handouts say “paid for by the Buncombe County Republican Party” at the bottom. The women's club version says: “Paid for by the Buncombe County Republican Women’s Club.”
Former school board member Lisa Baldwin is president of the Buncombe County Republican Women’s Club and she called the situation a “nonissue.”
“This is a general election, and in a general election the Buncombe County Republican Women’s Club can choose to put candidates on their sample ballot based on voting records, based on a vetting process …” Baldwin said Monday.
She said the club approved its sample ballot unanimously “in accordance with our campaign policy and club by-laws.”
But West was critical.
“Unfortunately they are out there in Republican vests saying it is coming from the Buncombe County Republican Party, which is it not,” West said Monday.
Baldwin got tossed out of her school board seat the first time she ran for re-election, after publicly and repeatedly sparring with fellow board member Amy Churchill.
So, the sample ballot from a GOP group was aimed at defeating Churchill and two other Republicans.
Baldwin was accused of stealing the template from the Blue Ridge Republican Women's Club, which she denies. Baldwin demanded an apology from West.
She never got one.
But she's obviously carving a few pounds of flesh.
Ironically enough, the Baldwin gang now believes Chairman Mumpower is in the tank for West, and trying to hurt Amy Evans' campaign because he won't inject the BCGOP leadership into the primary race.