Ron Paul Supporter Purged from Alaska GOP Leadership


Russ Millette, a Ron Paul supporter elected by the Alaska state Republican Party convention last April as their chairman (to take effect this year), has been blocked from taking control by the existing executive committee.

The Alaska Dispatch's take:

After a couple of hours of back and forth between insurgent party chairman-elect Russ Millette and his supporters, and the members of the party's State Executive Committee, plus an hour or so of the latter huddling in the secrecy of an executive session to consider Millette's future, the committee voted to sack him.

The story details a lot of internal-Alaskan GOP wars and backbiting dating back to the Palin days and culminating in Lisa Murkowski's 2010 write-in victory over Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, who won an insurgent victory over her in the primaries; many party old guard stuck with Murkowski, not the actual Republican candidate Miller.

By April 2012, [angry Miller fans] had merged with equally unhappy supporters of failed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul to try to take over the party. They succeeded and elected Millette the new chairman….

Millette was accused of being a crummy fundraiser for the Party during his past 10 months as chairman-elect, and as Finance Chair.

After deliberating on Millette's fate, they emerged from behind close doors to announce that the job of the chairman-elect was to raise money as the finance chair, and noted that Millette flunked what could be considered an internship on the way to the chairman's post.

"He failed to perform his duty as finance chair," said Ruedrich, still a member of the executive committee as of late Thursday night. "Grounds for removal is failure to carry out or perform."

David Nalle of the Republican Liberty Caucus paints it as a pure old guard coup against the new guard Paulites in a Washington Times piece:

A plan was put forward to hold a hearing on the charges [against Millette] at the installation meeting of the Executive Committee on February 1st.  Then, to the surprise of party members who described the action as "a sham" and "a witch hunt," the hearing was moved forward a day so that the new committee members would not yet be seated or have a vote on the accusations.

Even more troubling to many party members was the notification right before the meeting that outgoing Chairman Randy Ruederich had cleaned out the party treasury of $35,000 and transferred the money to a bank in Juneau out of control of the Executive Committee, a classic "rule or ruin" tactic designed to make sure that if the new leadership takes over they will have no money to fund party operations…..

Alaska Republicans want reform and a new direction for the party and that's why they elected Russ Millette in the first place.  He may not be loyal to the corrupt party establishment, but he does represent what the party rank and file want—change,

The outcome of the meeting was that the Executive Committee removed Millette as Chairman-elect pending an appeal to the State Central Committee….

The final resolution will come at the first meeting of the State Central Committee is scheduled for February 9th in Juneau, at which time Millette will appeal the ruling against him as party insiders try to complete their coup and disenfranchise the rank and file members who elected Millette.  

Nalle sees this as part of a national old v. new war within the Party:

Struggles like this are taking place all over the nation in county and state Republican parties.  Many party members are up in arms about the failures in the 2012 election, the corruption of the party leadership and their reluctance to make needed reforms and changes in strategy which would make the party politically competitive again…

If Millette manages to somehow come out on top, it may be a sign of hope for the party in Alaska and nationwide.  If the old guard's coup succeeds, then conflict will continue and intensify with two factions locked in a death struggle for months to come…

The Associated Press account of Millette's ouster. John Tate, president of the Paulite grassroots activist group Campaign for Liberty, issued a press release condemning Millette's firing:

The outgoing leadership, which is now pushing the ouster of Millette, includes the same individuals who freely violated Party rules by publically opposing a Republican nominee, encouraging activists not to attend Party events, and taking sides in contested primaries. These individuals are simply angry that Alaska Republicans have had enough of their leadership selling out to politicians who support Big Government and refuse to stand for Republican principles. Millette is a staunch defender of liberty and a committed Party activist who was duly elected by fellow Alaska Republicans. If the Alaska GOP wants to remain a viable Party and actually increase its membership, then the State Central Committee should vote to seat Russ Millette as chairman at their February 9th meeting.

My book on Ron Paul's Revolution.