Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rhonda Amoroso on NCGOP Convention -- McCrory, Pope, Tillis, Elections 2014, the Tea Party, and Libertarians

PHOTO BELOW:
Governor Pat McCrory with (left) Gabrielle Barone,
NH Co. GOP Secretary, and (right) Rhonda Amoroso,
newly-appointed member of N.C. Board of Elections.
















By VERNE STRICKLAND   JUNE 12, 2013

The N.C. Republican Party Convention drew energized GOP faithful to Charlotte on June 7-9, 2013, to take care of business. I interviewed Rhonda Amoroso, newly-appointed member of the North Carolina Board of Elections to get her views on the pivotal meeting:

AMOROSO: There were about 1217 registered delegates there involved in the voting process on Saturday. The main responsibilities were to elect a new party chairman and vice chairman. Also on Saturday the delegates were able to attend various dinners and lunches. Karl Rove was the keynote Saturday evening speaker, and actually Karl spoke to a packed house, probably about 500 people. He was on fire, talking about one scandal after another. He was very well-received.

Friday evening, Governor McCrory spoke at the banquet along with Scott Brown who was U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, but was defeated by a left-wing liberal, Elizabeth Warren. He was actually quite good. J.C. Watts addressed the convention and he did a good job as well. Deneen Borelli spoke on Saturday. She’s an African-American conservative with a lead in Project 21. She has a book out called “Blacklash”, and you’ve probably seen her on Fox News and The Blaze. A very interesting lady.

On Saturday, folks had the opportunity to go to break-out sessions on a number of important subjects.  I attended one entitled “Calling All Republican Lawyers” and it was excellent. A number of Supreme Court judges were there – Newby, and a number of court of appeal judges. There were lots of opportunities for mingling.

I attended one of the excellent break-out sessions -- campaign finance briefing led by Kim Strach, who is executive director for the State Board of Elections, to which I was appointed by Governor McCrory. Kim talked about the ten top issues in campaign financing. On balance, I think there was something for everyone, and I have friends and colleagues I visited with, which was especially useful in my new state role, as I could be in touch with people from all 100 counties.

CLAUDE POPE, THOM TILLIS & 2014 U.S. SENATE RACE

Claude Pope ran for party chairman against a fellow named Jack Brosche, and Claude won by a commanding margin. Claude is perfectly equipped to take on this job, and is former chairman of the Wake County Republican Party. A small businessman, he owns  the Mini-Mart on Bald Head Island. He just comes with a breadth of business knowledge and has the ability to get the job done. He’s a very personable gentleman, and will be very much available to everyone in the GOP.  I understand that he will live in Wilmington. So, as I like to say it, we are fortunate in our area to have a chairman residing East of I-95. So we’ll have coastal representation, and I think that’s terrific.
I think N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis has the support of long-time Republicans. He has worked with so many of our folks. The toll road issue has been hotly debated. Thom spoke on Saturday, and I think he was pretty good. I know folks may have been a little worried about him in certain areas – they don’t think he’s conservative enough, but I’m hearing he has a million dollars in the bank for his U.S. Senate run. Scott Brown spoke and reported he amassed $45 million for his U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts. That’s a daunting number. That’s something that has to be considered. You need fairly strong name recognition, you need to show that you have governed, and that you know how to get the job done. In that department, I think. Tillis has a pretty good record in that department. I’m certain he will have the North Carolina Republican establishment behind him.

THE TEA PARTY, LIBERTARIANS AND THE NCGOP



Actually the guy who ran against Claude Pope is, I believe, a libertarian. I think we can all agree with their  premise and beliefs in a basic fashion – smaller government, less taxation, liberty and freedom, and that’s something I know you and I agree on. The problem I think they have is their tactics and how they go about it – it’s either all or nothing at all, and that can’t be particularly helpful for the big picture. In that sense they are working against our own Party, and that won’t help us defeat the Democrats. We hear a lot of talk about unity and giving access to everybody, and the goal of Claude Pope is certainly to work with all the groups. He said that in his speech – that he would work with Tea Party and the Libertarians. But it has to be flexibility from all sides. It can’t always be our GOP conservatives bending to the will of various factions.  Folks really need to try and work with us.

IN THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF MY INTERVIEW WITH RHONDA AMOROSO, SHE  DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES FACING HER AS A NEW MEMBER OF THE N.C. BOARD OF ELECTIONS, AFTER HAVING BEEN APPOINTED BY GOVERNOR PAT McCRORY.