Boylan Backer Seeks Ouster of GOP Officials
One of state Rep.-elect Joe Boylan's supporters is seeking the ouster of several local GOP officials he says are loyal to state Rep. Richard Morgan and Manila "Bud" Shaver, referring to them as "traitors," "evil" and "a cancer."
Ed Kennedy is circulating a petition that calls for the state party to strip them of their leadership positions. He is working with Evelyn Hill, Sandhills Community College Trustee Ralph Redmond and several others.
They took the petition to a meeting of the state party Saturday in Greensboro.
The petition seeks to have Joan Thurman, Pinehurst Village Councilwoman Lorraine Tweed and her husband, Bob, removed from their positions in the Moore County Republican Party.
Kennedy said Tuesday that party Chairman John Owen is also in his cross hairs.
"We probably have got enough on John to bring action," he said.
The petition must have 50 signatures before the state party will hear it. Kennedy said that more than 100 people have signed it, but that he wants at least 200 before going to the state party.
"There has been a tidal wave of support for this," he said.
Owen pointed out that the state party didn't consider the petition.
"It was not heard because there is no merit," Owen said. "People up there were saying, 'For godsakes, you won. Are you a sore loser?'"
Kennedy, who is semiretired from the financial industry and a frequent letter writer to The Pilot, said the petition was never intended to come before the state party Saturday.
Newly elected State Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Daves is quoted in The Charlotte Observer as saying she didn't hear it because she wants to heal divisions within the party. She was elected to replace Ferrell Blount, who resigned as state party chairman. The Pilot was unable to reach her for comment Tuesday.
The people Ken-nedy named in the petition all supported Shaver in the November election for Morgan's District 52 House of Representatives seat. Shaver is a Republican who ran as an unaffiliated candidate.
Kennedy and those behind the petition backed Joe Boylan in the May primary and the November general election.
Boylan defeated Morgan in a bitterly contested Republican primary in May with a lot of help from state party leaders. Boylan won a three-way race in November over two unaffiliated candidates -- Shaver, a registered Republican, and Gerald Galloway, a longtime Democrat now registered as an Independent.
Kennedy claims that Owen supported Shaver in November, something Owen adamantly denies. Kennedy believes that the party leaders were honor-bound to support Boylan.
Thurman said that she didn't do anything wrong by supporting Shaver.
"We all do have some freedom of choice," she said. "I supported a Republican."
Kennedy contends that Morgan's supporters tried to punish the party by cutting a deal to serve up the election to the Democrats, by splitting the Republican vote and thereby allowing Galloway to win.
Thurman called that assertion ridiculous.
"That's outrageous," she said. "It's a suspicious mind at work. ... There was never any conspiracy whatsoever. Without a doubt, he's making that up."
In e-mails to Pud Kent, a Thurman and Morgan supporter, Kennedy calls the former Morgan supporters "traitors," "evil" and a "cancer."
"It's rather nasty, don't you think?" Thurman said.
Kennedy said that the problem with the Moore County GOP is that Morgan's supporters -- whom he calls "Morganites" -- still run the party.
"It's like taking out an evil ruler and leaving his military in charge," he said. "The leadership is working against the rank and file."
Kennedy asked Thurman via e-mail to resign from the state party Executive Committee and the Moore County Women's Republican Club, threatening that if she didn't "we will be forced to put you through the gauntlet of public humiliation."
The letter shook Thurman up enough that she forwarded a copy to Moore County Sheriff Lane Carter.
"We really don't know what he has in mind," she said. "He's unpredictable."
'Cleanse the Party'
Kennedy said that Owen openly sided with the Morganites at the meeting Saturday, which proves Owen's disloyalty to the party.
He said in another e-mail to Kent that it is time to "cleanse the party of disloyal officials." He argues that Owen, as party chairman, "is required to protect the party from traitors, not protect them." He goes on to say that Owen is "not only a traitor to the party, but a bully, a coward and not too bright."
Kennedy refers to Bill and Joan Thurman as "ridiculous hypocrites" who "filed vengeful charges against two innocent girls."
He was referring to charges Joan Thurman filed against two of Boylan's campaign staff members during the primary, alleging that they violated state election laws by registering to vote in Moore County even though they were temporary residents. The state elections board is investigating the charge.
He also says that those who continue to support Morgan "are riding a dead horse. It is time to get off."
'Can't Run Me Off'
Owen said that he just wants to move on.
"I'd just like to see peace in the party," Owen said. "I want to see things go forward. Stop this madness."
Owen told Daves that he wants to serve on the state party planning and organizing board. He said he has heard from several people that he'll be on it.
"I'm going forward in a positive way," he said.
Owen points out the irony of Kennedy accusing people of party disloyalty. He said Kennedy has been a Republican for only two years.
"It's a battle that's over," Owen said. "We cannot un-blow the whistle."
But Kennedy said Morgan did so much damage to the party that there is still a lot of sentiment out there against him and his supporters.
"They think that Richard Morgan set the party back several years," Kennedy said. "I'm beginning to hear from people who weren't even there (Saturday)."
Morgan brought down the wrath of the party by cutting a power-sharing deal with Democrats in 2003 when the House was evenly divided, making him co-speaker. State party leaders vowed to seek his defeat.
Owen said that it's obvious that the group is after him, but that they can't make a case because he abided by the rules.
"I went on the floor and endorsed Joe," he said. "They wanted more than just an endorsement."
Owen said that Kennedy and his supporters wanted Owen to institute a smear campaign against Shaver, which he refused.
Owen said those who are calling for him to resign as party chairman should submit their names to the nominating committee and run for the position themselves.
"They can't run me off," he said.
He did admit that it was tough having to listen to people who are against him every day, but he said that most of the people he runs into support him.
"That's my comfort," he said.
Thurman, too, said that she wouldn't be pressured into giving up her position.
"I don't run scared from a crackpot like Ed Kennedy," she said.
Owen also pointed out that the situation could backfire on Kennedy.
"They will implode eventually if they keep going like this," Owen said. "This community is fed up with the negativity. They see it every day."
Owen called Boylan on Saturday and asked him to stop what his supporters are doing or advised him to distance himself from them.
"I don't know what influence Joe has over these people," Owen said. "My advice was that he should disavow their actions. It's not in the best interest of the party, it's not in the best interest of the community and it's not in his best interests."
Boylan said Tuesday, "I am not really involved in it (the petition), so I can't say if I support it or not. I wish it didn't come to this. I have talked to Ed, and Ed is pretty committed to following this course."
Matthew Moriarty can be reached at 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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