RALEIGH – Seven former chairmen of the N.C. Republican Party are calling for the removal of current N.C. GOP Chairman Hasan Harnett. This in a letter delivered on Monday evening to Executive Committee members of the party and signed by Jim Hastings, Jane Rouse, Tom Fetzer, Robin Hayes, Claude Pope, Ferrel Blount and Bill Cobey.
The letter reads:
The letter is signed from the seven former chairmen of the state party going back nearly two decades.
The letter comes as the effort to remove Harnett from the helm of the party gains steam. More than 200 members of the N.C.GOP Executive Committee signed petitions recently to charge Harnett with violating the party’s Plan Of Organization, and Gross Inefficiency. A majority vote is required to convict Mr. Harnett of the charges and a 2/3 vote of those present and voting to remove him.
The intensity to remove him stepped up in recent weeks after the chairman publicly released a video of himself on YouTube sharply criticizing past and present leadership of the state party including elected officials, and some of those signed onto Monday’s letter. The pressure has even resulted in campaign mailers going out to members of the party criticizing the fallout.
The video was posted on Harnett’s website last week, but was later taken down. According to some Central Committee members, the release of the video came hours after Mr. Harnett sent a blast email to the larger Executive Committee members saying an agreement to end his conflict with the Central Committee was close.
Harnett has been a vocal critic of the Central Committee in a conflict that culminated over his refusal to call the state party convention unless ticket prices were reduced. He posted a letter on his website defending his position and accusing staff, including Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse, and party leadership of sabotaging him in the his role as chairman.
In the email he states ‘After many weeks of intensive debate and deliberation on the appropriate roles and responsibilities of the Party Chairman and Central Committee, and after a number of unfortunate allegations of illegal behavior by both parties, I am pleased to report the members of the NCGOP Central Committee and I are in the final stages of consummating a reconciliation document.”
NCGOP assistant secretary, Scott Cumbie immediately refuted that a deal was imminent in a follow-up email on behalf oF 12 of the 13 district chairs that called Harnetts email “patently false.”
“We are not currently discussing any proposals with Chairman Harnett. Several weeks of outreach to resolve these matters were met with silence by the Chairman. He decline to participate in three recent Central Committee meetings,” Cumbie’s email read.
Sources say election of a new NCGOP chair is likely on Saturday with one of the former NCGOP chairs or a high ranking former elected official likely to be elected to fill in through the election.
According to the rules of the party, Vice-Chair Michelle Nix does not ascend into the Chairman’s role and sources say she is unlikely to seek the post due to family and professional obligations. Further sources say Michelle Nix has been maturing into the position of Vice-Chair and is willing to assist a quick transition to a new chair.