There is nothing worse than a bully. I personally have no sympathy for any bully whether it be a motorcycle gang member, a labor union thug, or a 73-year-old woman trying to hold on to power to protect her out-dated world outlook. Bullies in all categories are bad and a threat to the American republic because such a political system requires a self-confident, intelligent population that participates as honestly in the election process as possible. But in Butler Country, Ohio there are a number of bullies operating within the political system of the GOP that prevent the kind of positive growth that is needed as market demographics change and new priorities face future voters. This is a story regarding the latter type of bully which insists that people vote not based on intelligence or free thought—but fear of compliance. In this case the Central Committee Chairperson for Butler County who has been involved in a lot of questionable actions over the last few years was the aggressor. Specifically of these strategic impositions would be the public and private actions against David Kern to push him out of being head of the Republican Party since he represented the Tea Party faction after the 2012 election. Another was throwing Ann Becker out of a John Kasich rally because she wanted to ask questions about Common Core, this was done by Todd Hall, but represented the anti-Tea Party position of this chairperson. Then there was last year’s ruckus involving Evan Thomas. There is a history between good Republicans and bad Republicans which indicated that some sort of quarrel would break out during a May 18th 2015 meeting which will be explained in detail during the subsequent paragraphs. In this article good Republicans would be defined by Constitutional purists against the machine politics of old who seek to build personal alliances through politics to secure business interests. George Nafziger wanted to warn voters at the May meeting of the chairperson’s strategy at that meeting so he was passing out a flyer explaining the activity—also shown below. He knew that the chairperson had been involved in a lot of behind the scenes arm-twisting and anticipated that he would be harassed in a similar way. So he turned on his camera and let it run—which recorded the following. What you are about to see is how politics works in Butler County, Ohio from behind the veil of the Central Committee.
Many voters don’t understand how the Central Committee portion of politics work so it would be helpful to have an explanation as George explained it to me during his report of the recent meeting happenings. Every county in Ohio is divided into a varying number of precincts, each containing a given number of voters. The Republican and Democrat Parties both have an elected “precinct member” representing their interests in that precinct. These precinct members [ward captains if you prefer] run for office and are elected in the spring primary. They literally run a campaign and present their political philosophy just like candidates running for Congress, etc., and the individual who most represents his precinct wins by gaining the highest vote count.
Their function is to keep their constituents informed of party and political issues, to get out the vote in the November elections, and to vote in party meetings to endorse or not to endorse a candidate for the primary elections.
These precinct members form what is called the “central committee.” There is also an “executive committee.” In most of Ohio’s counties the Executive Committee is little more than a rump group of the Central Committee who handle the daily functions of the party and run party meetings. It includes individuals who hold elective office in the county, i.e. sheriff, commissioner, etc.
However, in Butler County this Executive Committee grew into a major body in the party totaling 85% of the number of the members of the Central Committee. Some are appointed by the Central Committee Chair to assist in their party operations. However, the rest literally buy their way into the party functions by paying a fee of $150 and being voted, en masse, by the Central Committee.
For this $150 they get to vote on the endorsement of candidates for office, so they have bought a seat at the table and directly influence the public’s choices in the November elections.
The Central Committee Chairperson, in conjunction with the Policy Committee, develops the list of the Executive Committee members and submits it to the Central Committee for approval. There is rarely any discussion about individuals on the list and generally the Central Committee membership is asked to vote blindly on the names presented to them.
The process for developing the Executive Committee list has evolved over the years and recently it was changed so that a very small clique totally controlled the names that were put on that list. This provoked a revolt among the members of the Butler County Central Committee in the May 2014 organizational meeting. Because of the resulting chaos, the meeting was cut short and the Executive Committee was not established.
The chaos included an incident reported in the Hamilton Journal where a sergeant-at-arms, appointed by Mrs. Judy Shelton, the Central Chairperson, threatened a Central Committee member with physical violence for voicing his objection to the actions taken by the chairperson in this meeting.
Three months earlier, at the January 2014 candidate endorsement meeting the Executive Committee was manipulated by this clique so as to insure their chosen candidates would win the party’s endorsement. In Butler County the endorsed Republican candidate, by winning the party endorsement, has essentially won the general election in November. The vote in November has been reduced to a formality.
In this manipulation, a bus was rented and Executive Committee members, who would otherwise not have come to the meeting, were brought to the meeting, it was rumored, after being fed a free dinner and told for whom they were to vote. Their votes were essentially bought for the cost of a dinner and a bus ride. The bus was parked in front of the meeting hall. As to the contents of the dinner, it could only be confirmed by those attending.
Because of this and other issues many central committee members resolved to block the re-establishment of the Executive Committee.
A Regional Meeting of Central Committee members was held on April 28th, in which it became clear that Mrs. Shelton, the Central Chairperson, essentially said that the Executive Committee was being purged of those people who did not vote for her chosen candidates.
In May 2015 a meeting was called to re-establish the Executive Committee and those dissenting members moved to oppose this. One of them, Dr. George Nafziger, prepared a flyer explaining his position on the proposed list. He handed it out at the entrance to the conference room until Mrs. Judy Shelton confronted him. Dissent was not to be tolerated by the Chairperson who clearly indicated that only leadership was able to decide who received what at that meeting.
In the video made using a cell phone hanging from Dr. Nafziger’s neck during this incident it was easy to see several minutes of people greeting him and him giving them a copy of his flyer. The members in the video are all elected officials doing the work of the county. Then Mrs. Shelton confronted him, telling him that he had no right to pass out flyers representing his views on her proposed Executive Committee list. Shelton was obviously primarily concerned with exerting her authority to maintain the power position in the discussion as a way to quell any thoughts of un-unified discussion—as a party. This is the key to the problem; Shelton desires to unify the Republican Party behind the type of interests represented by her, which is centered on real estate development, and various ways to merge business with politics—essentially the old Carlos Todd approach to Butler County politics of which John Boehner is a direct product. That is clearly her motivation as indicated by her approach and dialogue. You will also see her threaten him with an expulsion by a police officer. His efforts to speak for the people he was elected to represent was shut down by the Republican Party Central Committee Chairman, Mrs. Judy Shelton for the purpose of preserving party unity which keeps her, and her affiliates in power—which is clearly not how any type of republic in the United States was supposed to ever function.
As Dr. Nafziger left the room and moved down a hallway, he passed out his flyers to the Central Committee members waiting to register for the meeting. Mrs. Shelton followed him, shoving him, and grabbing his flyers from the hands of the other central committee members. You can hear Dr. Nafziger repeatedly tell her to stop pushing him as she attempted to take the edge off by laughing to ease the crowd gathered. The law was present, including Butler Country’s top cop, Sheriff Jones, and allowed the behavior to continue as though this type of thing had become acceptable over the years. Likely there is a belief that the courts would line up behind Shelton’s actions and that she had become something larger than the law itself as defined by the election of resident representatives.
This is the material George was passing out, which provoked so much of a public insult.
CONSIDER VOTING NO
- Do you think your neighbors elected you because they did not know you? No!
- Do you know the qualifications of all or even most of those on whom you will be voting tonight? No!
- Do you want your future votes for candidate endorsements to be diluted by the votes of people you do not know? No!
- Are you willing to be a rubber stamp for someone else’s handpicked friends? No!
- Do you know that the reasons to have these appointees are 1.) $150 in annual dues and 2.) their guaranteed vote in support of those who screened and selected them? No!
- Do you know that the list before you was purged of names who voted their minds and not as they were told to vote? No!
- Do you think your neighbors, who elected you, want your vote cancelled by people over whose selection you had no voice? No!
- Should we risk giving control of our Party to people who were carefully screened and culled by a select few and do not represent the interests of the elected precinct members? No!
- Recalling the May 2014 meeting, do you want to see these proposed members voting as they are told to vote by those who put them on the list before us tonight? No!
- Do you know that the elimination of six of the seven regions has resulted in a situation where the vote of the Regional Chair we selected will always be overridden by the Executive and Central Chairs, who handpicked this list? No!
- You took an oath of office to serve the interests of your neighbors. Do you think that a vote in favor of this list serves their interests? No!
Do not throw away the rights and duties entrusted to you by your neighbors who elected you to office. A vote in favor of this list of proposed members of the Executive Committee will negate your vote. The health and success of our Party depends on your vote tonight.
Immediately after this event George contacted me with the following note letting me know of the incident and looking for some way to tell his story knowing that most of the usual media contacts were loyally committed to the established politics striving to hold power against Tea Party insurgents. I have in my possession a rather damning audio clip that further indicates the level of animosity that Chairman Shelton has toward Tea Party members of the Republican Party–however, that audio was recorded during a private GOP event that was intended to stay that way. I’m not sure at this time that I will release it, unless needed. Given the nature of this audio recording which implicates many people I call friends, then hearing George’s story, it was quite obvious that we were dealing with serious bullies in the GOP that deserved exposure. I’m not going to allow that kind of thing in my backyard without saying something about it. So here is George’s letter to me as he wrote it.
Because of the threat of violence last year by a member of the party leadership against Evan Thomas I decided that I should have a written flyer to pass out to express my opinion on the proposed list of people to be elected to the Executive Committee. I also decided that I should record what happened while I was passing it out. If I have enough band on my e-mail, I’ll attach the video recording of what transpired. I will also attach two of the flyers that were circulating and which I was passing out.
As you will see in the video, Judy Shelton, the party central chairman, threw me out of the hall before the meeting began because she objected to my flyer. She manhandled me as you will hear and not being willing to strike or push back at a woman I went, but she was constantly shoving me. As I passed down the hall I passed out further flyers, which she grabbed from people’s hands. The video will give you the rest.
When the meeting began it was badly managed. Shelton even had to be reminded to get a vote to approve the agenda. She was eager to rush into the vote for the central and executive membership, which were the principal reasons for the meeting.
She then went into an harangue about the two lists of people to be voted on this evening: 1.) people to be appointed to vacancies in the central committee, and 2.) a re-established executive committee.
The vote for replacements to the central committee went fairly smoothly, however there was great opposition to the re-establishment of the executive committee.
A dozen people got up and spoke about it. Most of the speakers were opposed and Shelton had to ask for people to rebut some of the arguments. There were few takers.
The principal arguments against it were:
1.) It diluted the votes of the elected central committee members in the all-important endorsement votes. References were made to busing people in as was done in the January 2013 endorsement meeting. Comments were made as to how there was manipulation of the system, using the Executive Committee to give Shelton’s personally preferred candidates an edge in the endorsement process. You can confirm that with Roger Reynolds and Judge Oster as they were the targets of this (as was I) in the January 2014 meeting.
2.) Shelton claimed these people were selected because they were “workers” but attendance records were brought out and used as an indication of “workers” in the executive committee were not workers. Of 106 attendance records 80 of these “workers” attended less than 60% of the party meetings. The point being if you can’t attend meetings, then odds are you won’t do much work.
3.) It was argued that as the central committee members were elected by the residents of their precincts after they displayed their political philosophy, then they should not “sell their votes for $150”, which is the cost of being a member of the Executive Committee.
Shelton spent most of her time rebutting these arguments. It was also interesting to note that she complained that people had not turned out for the Lincoln Day Dinner/fund-raiser. The reason for that was her management of the party’s affairs and the lack of support she has after the May 2014 party meeting.
Anyway, when the motion to vote for the proposed executive committee went to the floor and the voting was to begin there was a motion to “divide the house.” This means that the precinct members literally have to move to one side of the floor or the other to show their support of a position. This is done to prevent voice votes from being deliberately misinterpreted by the chair.
That process was initially chaotic, but settled down after much confusion and some recounts.
The precinct members (central committee members) literally lined up on the walls of opposite sides of the room. The count was redone 3-4 times and the final result was that 57 voted against the proposed executive committee and 56 voted for it. One precinct member changed his vote during the course of this chaos and threw the vote to the “No Executive Committee” position.
There had earlier been a call for a secret ballot, but Shelton had told the woman who made that proposal that she would not allow it. However, after the house divided and the 57-56 vote came in, suddenly Shelton wanted a secret ballot. The membership shouted her down.
And that is what happened tonight.
As a result of this incident Dr. Nafziger is planning to ask for Mrs. Shelton to be removed from her chairman seat. It is quite obvious that she is more interested in unifying the Republican Party around the type of machine politics that has left the party stagnant and ineffective in the past. For instance, if John Boehner is truly the best man for the job as congressman, then he should have no problem surviving the primary process provoked from healthy debate. But when it’s wondered how people like Boehner, who are obviously political moderates combating radical leftists in Washington—of which many think he’s losing—keep their jobs for decades as congressman, now you know. The reason is because they have people like chairman Shelton doing the dirty work of suppressing opinion for them out of sight from the media or the public in these central committee meetings.
As far as people go I like most Republicans. I have a bit of history with Todd Hall and I like him. I would probably get along fine with Judy Shelton when talking about our dislike of Obama. When talking about our resistance to legalized drugs in Ohio Sheriff Jones and I share a lot of common ground. He’s against it and so am I in a huge way. Relative to the rest of the world, we have more in common than not. But, in relation to the purity of how a republic is supposed to function in the United States they represent the bad Republicans whereas George represents the good. The good doctor isn’t such because I personally like him—which I do—but because he represents at great scrutiny the purity of how a constitutional republic is supposed to function. Competition is good—and the Republican Party would be stronger if it had a lot more competition, and a lot less thuggish behavior on behalf of party leaders seeking consensus more than theatrical criticism.
The Republican Party does not belong to Judy Shelton or anybody else. Because of her actions and desire to bend the shape of the party toward her personal predilections, she needs to be removed, as Dr. Nafziger has now made a motion to implement. The Tea Party is not a regional thing that is up to her to crush so that she can be a hero to the machine politics of old. It is a national movement created in opposition largely because of people like her controlling central committees at all levels of the GOP and preserving flat candidates for the last hundred years allowing the more socially radical progressives to move the social meter away from conservatism more to the political left. George isn’t involved in all this so he can sell another house or streamline a project through a zoning hearing. He really cares about the GOP and at the very least; Shelton has an obligation to give the voters of his district a voice in government. Even if she disagrees with him, she should at least respect the process enough to let the best and brightest ideas have their day in the court of public opinion. Instead she openly sought to suppress that voice and she got caught doing it on video. That is why she should be immediately removed from office in favor of a chairman who will respect the Republic and give a proper voice to the GOP in Butler County for the better. Competition should be what determines who holds what office and for how long. People like Shelton should not allow the mediocre to stay in office by protecting them from warranted criticism. That is why Dr. Nafziger has urged her removal from the chairman seat of the Butler Country Central Committee. And that is also why if she cared an ounce for the GOP, she would do it on her own without further provocation.