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Carol Mikola
Palm Coast Thursday, Apr. 16, 2015 4 years ago

OPINION: When party purity outweighs party unity

by: Carol Mikola

The goal of "party purity,” expressed under oath by Anne-Marie Shaffer, has now become the foundation of a plan, implemented and headed by her and by The Flagler County Ronald Reagan “Republicans” (RRRs) as a way to fundamentally transform the Republican Party of Flagler County.

If you are reading this then you have, no doubt, also read that the Flagler County Republican Executive Committee (REC) has refused to extend the charter of either the Flagler County Republican Club or the Republican Club of Palm Coast. What kind of Republicans would do that?

That very same REC voted last week to remove Frank Meeker (county commissioner, re-elected in November, as well as Republican state committeeman) from the REC because he was absent from an REC meeting to attend his mother’s funeral. What kind of Republican would do that? What kind of person would do that?

A Flagler County Ronald Reagan “Republican” would do that.

What you may or may not know is that the REC has been infiltrated and effectively taken over by the RRRs.

How did this happen? Simply put, the RRRs brought in new members and illegally shut down a meeting in November when other Republicans attempted to join. As a result, they have majority membership and elected themselves to the Executive Board of the REC with Anne-Marie Shaffer as chairwoman. Apathy on the part of many voters, although understandable with all of life’s distractions, has also contributed.

Is their control over the Republican Party political apparatus in the county a bad result? It is a terrible result.

Who elects a person to the Executive Board of the REC who has harassed and defamed a gay college student (as reported on CNN)? Who ran candidates against every incumbent Republican in 2014? Who objected to a reporter being allowed to “wander around the Government Services Building” because he had changed his name from Pierre Fouad Haddad to Pierre Tristam? Who made derogatory comments at an REC meeting when new party brochures were introduced in languages other than English? There were new members who walked out and never returned because of this ignorant display. I could go on.

Who indeed would do that? The answer is a Flagler County Ronald Reagan “Republican” would do that.

The county REC is supposed to foster loyalty to the Republican Party, promote an informed electorate through political education, and increase Republican registration.

Does anyone seriously believe that any of this is likely to occur with a group in charge that behaves more like a cult than a serious political organization?

The attraction to the RRR group is quite simple: The name Ronald Reagan draws many Republicans to their meetings. Eventually, though, the group’s true face is revealed; it is this revelation that has caused many to renounce the group. Nonetheless, they have hunkered down, re-doubled efforts, grown their membership, and have successfully helped elect Palm Coast City Councilman Steve Nobile and Flagler County School Board member Janet McDonald. Do I hear buyer’s remorse?

Anne-Marie Shaffer, now the chair of the REC, said in to 2012, “There is a conspiracy afoot by a group of Grand Haven residents to infiltrate and hijack this county as their last hoorah. Many are RINO Republicans who … were forever members of the Democratic Party before relocating to Flagler County and immediately switching their party affiliation to Republican. This conspiracy is at the very heart of all that has and is going wrong within the Flagler Republican Executive Committee. I have seen what makes up a concerned, action-oriented body of Republicans. It is not full of crabby, elitist, hate-spewing blue-hairs who accomplish nothing for the conservative Republican cause. My motives are for party purity.”

Reminded, under oath, that Ronald Reagan was also a Democrat at one time, Ms. Shaffer said that she would have also blocked Ronald Reagan and stated, “I would feel it would be a duty.”

This woman has absolutely no credibility, nor should she. Unfortunately, however, she and the RRRs now have power. And they’re not yet finished.

Why does any of this matter? The Florida Statutes, specifically Chapter 103, subsection 103.121, vest power and authority in the local REC and its chairperson. That includes the ability to certify, endorse, “or otherwise recommend one or more candidates”; notify the local supervisor of elections of the committee’s intent to endorse candidate(s); conduct campaigns for party nominees; raise and spend party funds; and receive candidate party funds from the state.

In short, the REC will decide which county Republican candidates will be endorsed by the Flagler Republican Party, leaving many candidates to re-evaluate their party affiliation. If a candidate knows the local REC will not even consider his or her candidacy, simply because he or she is not “pure” enough, to whom does that candidate look for assistance?

Remember the Flagler County Republican Club and the Republican Club of Palm Coast? These two clubs provided an alternative, and they are gone, at least for now. The clubs could not be allowed to remain as a challenge to the RRRs. They provided a safe-haven for all Republicans and for Republican candidates who do not agree with Shaffer and her cult-like “party purity” agenda.

Having been elected as the chairwoman of the REC, Shaffer’s position as State Committeewoman has been filled by an ardent and loyal member of the RRRs, Kim Olson, who also refused to extend the club charters, without cause. She is a huge disappointment. This “party purity” train will not slow down as Anne-Marie Shaffer and the RRRs continue to seek to cleanse the county’s Republican Party of all who challenge them.

A wise man once opined the answer to objectionable speech is not to shout it down; rather, the answer is more speech. In a county with almost 27,000 registered Republicans, a group with fewer than 50 members cannot be allowed to rule.

The Republican Party of Florida has an online method for submitting concerns to our state party leaders. It takes just minutes to submit comments and remarks and request they be delivered to the Chairman of the State Republican Executive Committee, Mr. Blaise Ingoglia. It’s at I ask all members of our good and decent community, no matter what your party affiliation, to help by lending your voice if you find the RRR views and actions as repugnant as I do. Ask Ingoglia to do everything in his power to restore dignity and good will to the two-party process in our county.

I await the responses, comments, and attacks on me; it frequently happens. Anne-Marie Shaffer recently said that she didn’t want any more Carol Mikolas in the REC. I ask only that you judge me by my enemies.

Carol Mikola is the secretary of the now-disbanded Palm Coast Republican Club, a member of the now-disbanded Flagler County Republican Club, and a former member (resigned) of the Flagler County Republican Executive Committee. She lives in Palm Coast.



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