Listening to local talk radio this morning on the Big Talker FM, I heard host Curtis Wright criticizing the efforts of local and state Republican organizations. He was angry because he'd scheduled the NC GOP chairwoman as a guest and she was apparently a no-show. Wright has every reason to be ticked off and I share his frustration with elements of the GOP. It does sometimes seem that the Republican party would rather not win elections. I can't and won't defend the party at the state level and I can't speak for the New Hanover County GOP either.
But Wright also singled out the Brunswick County GOP while talking to a Brunswick County caller, and I have to step up in their defense. When my wife and first moved to Oak Island in 1994 we changed our registration to Independent just so we could have something on our ballot on primary day. On the county level, there were no primary contests on the GOP side and quite a few positions had nobody opposing the Democrat in the general election. It was pathetic. A few years later I got involved with the Brunswick GOP executive committee. Meetings were sparsely attended and not terribly friendly to a newcomer, least of all a Yankee newcomer.
Over the next few years more and more newcomers began getting involved. There was ugly infighting, recriminations and hurt feelings. "Locals" who had been fighting the good fight in a county 100% controlled by Democrats were a bit defensive about people moving into town and trying to "do it just like we did back home." All of this was understandable and looking back on it, was probably a good thing. Democracy ain't pretty.
A couple years ago, the infighting mostly stopped. A new chairman was elected who honestly had nothing but the party's best interests at heart and people started coming together. Now we have meeting with more folks in the audience than we had around the table 5 years ago. Our office has been open every day for weeks and we're adding more volunteers all the time. This year the GOP will have observers in all of Brunswick County's polling places. Phone calls to voters are being made. Every new Republican registering in Brunswick County gets a letter from the party welcoming them and inviting them to help out.
Sure we could do more, but we're a bunch of volunteers and amateurs at the political game. Some have lots of experience and some none, but we're all getting better at this all the time.
By the way, Brunswick County Republicans now control both the county commission and the school board. While I don't always agree with our representatives, it's a far cry from no conservatives daring to run.
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