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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2019 2 weeks ago

Flagler’s top two Republican leaders ousted from REC board

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Bob and Joanne Updegrave have been involved with the REC for almost a decade.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Bob Updegrave apologized to leaders of the Flagler County Republican Executive Committee for causing “hurt and frustrations” in recent board meetings. But that apology wasn’t enough: The REC voted unanimously to accept his resignation as vice chairman instead, on June 8.

Updegrave’s wife, Joanne, who was the top REC official as chairwoman and who helped to make Flagler’s REC one of the strongest in the state in recent years, also resigned. The treasurer, Mark S. Allaben, is acting chairman until internal elections can be held.

Allaben said in a phone interview with the Palm Coast Observer on June 11 that the board felt it was best to have a new election and let the approximately 90 members of the REC vote on new leadership.

“Whatever comes out of that, it’s done, and there can be no argument,” Allaben said, “and we can go on together going forward.”

In his apology memo June 5, Bob Updegrave acknowledged that his “forceful personality” had caused problems for the party. He said he had been “contentious” with Allaben and FCREC Secretary Shannon Biazzo, and that he had put undue “pressure” on Demers.

Also in the memo, he said to State Committeeman Dave Sullivan, who is also a county commissioner, “My loss of your support was like taking a shot in the heart.”

Finally, Bob Updegrave apologized to his wife for causing her “much stress and concern.”

Still, the letter ends with a plea to allow him to continue as a “very humble and contrite” vice chairman. That didn’t happen, as the board voted to accept both resignations.

Although Bob Updegrave felt the details of the contention were board-level only, Allaben felt it best to make the grievances against Bob Updegrave public, including a statement that Bob Updegrave “has made numerous inappropriate comments regarding ethnic and minority Republicans.”

Bob Updegrave said in a phone interview with the Palm Coast Observer on June 11 that he was forced out of the organization, and he refuted all the grievances, including the alleged inappropriate comments.

“The party leadership has been a disappointment, and their lack of support over real or imagined issues with me has just driven this thing crazy,” he said. He added that he hopes committee members will overlook the turmoil on the board and continue to work hard for the party. He has not decided whether he will seek elected positions in the REC in the future.

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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