We Need New Oregon Republican Party Leadership NOW


(Updated Tuesday 1/28/2020)

We Need New Oregon Republican Party Leadership NOW.

(Note: Yes, per today, one week after I originally posted this compendium, I have made the decision to run for ORP RNC Committeeman, elections to be held March 21st.)

SOMEBODY has to spell this out. I’ll do the spelling-out, and I’m willing to take whatever bullets come my way. There is no conjecture here. For you two dozen especially loud state-ORP establishment loyalists who will be inclined to hammer me, maybe this time consider arguing the points instead of listing all the reasons why you think I’m an idiot.

I posted about this last Monday (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/newsroom/ruminating-about-the-impending-primary-election-disaster/), but here’s the overview, putting almost everything in one place. (Yes there’s more, under wraps for now.) This is a relatively long post because there’s a lot of dysfunctional/dumb politics to address. I’m a documentation-kind-of-a-guy, and don’t operate on conjecture. Here’s 95% of my argument.

Maybe get a cup of coffee, sit back, and give this twenty minutes….

And before you go into the details, carefully consider this: Dramatic change in state Republican Party leadership CAN happen, and it can happen in an overwhelming way. It just did, last Saturday, January 25th, in New Hampshire. Go here for details. 

As Donald Trump heads for a landslide reelection because of his smart and brave leadership, Oregon is headed for an unprecedented electoral disaster. Why? Much of this dichotomy has to do with our less-than-helpful (I’m being diplomatic here) ORP Executive Committee’s top leadership. (I am not calling out everyone on the Executive Committee, only the very top leadership, those who have been unilaterally calling the shots.)

In avoiding a 2020 Oregon Republican political nightmare, understand three key realities:

1. We don’t have a voter-apathy problem. We have a lack-of-candidate problem, the result of horrid State ORP leadership. Our voters don’t need to be “energized!” (What are we 704,000 Oregon Republicans, drained batteries?) Because of Donald Trump, and this impending Oregon political debacle, we Republicans are already energized. No. Truth is, we’re hyper-energized.

2. Kate Brown is not the ultimate problem. It’s the massive Oregon progressiver swamp she inhabits that is the problem. We don’t need another recall-Kate-Brown effort under the ORP theory that our voters must be energized (see #1 above).

3. We’ll never get Republican control of our Oregon government without Republican candidates in our primary elections.

The state ORP has failed in its central mission of helping rescue us from Democrat progressive dominance. It’s frustrating and frightening to watch as the Trump coattail opportunity is set to pass us by simply because we have too few candidates for political office.* (See the footnote below for latest tally of House and Senate districts with no Republican candidates. Ongoing, go to the bottom of the homepage message at www.makeoregongreatagain.com for the most current listing. We’ll update it weekly.)

Question: in the real-world, when there is consistent organizational failure, what happens?
• In a corporation, the CEO and assisting executive are removed. Employees remain. Customers are not held responsible.
• In a basketball team, the coach and top managers are fired. Players remain. Fans are not criticized.
• In the military, generals and top officers are reassigned. Soldiers remain. Civilians are not blamed.

But in contrast, after a decade-long record of utter failure as evidenced by current Democrat control of nearly every element of the state government, much of it a result of the twelve points I list below, state ORP Executive Committee leadership remains unchanged. Their elitist Ruling Class, “moderate Republican” posture blames 704,000 conservative Oregon Republican voters for not being “energized” enough; for not “unifying” with them. And this we-know-best ORP leadership is determined to prolong their own failures through the end of the year while the rest of America moves in the opposite direction, towards a for-certain Donald Trump/Republican landslide in November.

And to further clarify, I believe a number of Executive Committee members, as well as the majority of the 200-member ORP Central Committee, are not amused by their Executive Committee’s embarrassing failures.

I’m a private sector CEO/business owner and with that simple just-get-the-damn-job-done mindset, here I summarize the State ORP’s past and present performance.

Start with this: The central mission of the state-level Oregon Republican Party – per the organization’s own mission statement – is “To elect Republicans, who promote the platform of the Oregon Republican Party, to public office.” And so my argument is that the primary tenet of the organization is not being met. Not even close. In the Executive Committee’s actions and non-actions, there is zero congruence with its own stated strategic objective. If we have a lack of candidates we will, by default, continue to lose the state to Democrat progressives. It’s time for new leadership; time for the organization to get relevant. NOW.

And BTW, I am not proposing that new top leadership includes me, although I am happy to help, temporarily, in a slimming-down/reorganization.

Here we go:
1. Utter mission failure. There have been no state-level ORP successes or victories whatsoever in the past decade. NONE. Today, Oregon is among only a handful of states in the U.S. that have Democratic legislative super-majorities…and of course we really do have an off-the-wall leftist governor. Congressional Districts? 80% Democrat. US Senators? 100% Democrat. Congressional Districts? 80% Democrat. Five executive positions under the governor? 80% Democrat. Can it get worse in 2020? YES. We have strikingly few candidates! To illustrate the further decline, get this: in the general election of 2018, 25% of Oregon House districts had no Republican candidate. Today? It’s looking MUCH worse: 43% right now.* With these numbers, the Trump landslide this November will be meaningless in Oregon. And the Governor’s race in 2022? Forget it. No qualified serious Republican will want to put themselves on the line.

2. 100% wrong emphasis: actions unrelated to on-the-ground realities. ORP leadership is blind to the upcoming 2020 primary elections’ disaster-in-waiting. Instead, they’re deep into what I call “self-perpetuation via constituent distraction,” (e.g. attempting to recall Kate Brown). Although they want to appear busy, the Executive Committee’s top leadership is clearly not interested in doing what’s necessary to win elections…and winning elections is our only salvation. Go here: (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/newsroom/the-hijacking-and-the-neutering-of-the-oregon-republican-party/) for more detail.

3. Failure to Communicate. This statistic is precisely accurate: the state ORP barely reaches one-tenth of one percent of Oregon’s 704,000 Republicans. Really! To see a chart showing recent subscriber engagement on Facebook, go here: (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/uncategorized/facebook-engagement-statistics/ (And like it or not, Facebook IS the gold-standard for political communication with voters.) How did this irrelevance-to-the-real-world happen? Keep reading.

4. There has been an ideological thrust to the Left, and concurrent ideological-cleansing. Go here:(https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/dollhouse/) and scroll down to “Bully Tactics.” And especially, go here:(https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/newsroom/the-hijacking-and-the-neutering-of-the-oregon-republican-party/). Heck. Just download and read my book: https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/

5. Long history of non-support of President Trump. Go here: (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/dollhouse/) and scroll down to the heading “ORP’s Faux-Enthusiasm for President Trump.” The facts are indisputable. Research this yourself. For instance, by reviewing the hundred or so ORP Press Releases from summer 2016 up through January 2019, Donald Trump was hardly mentioned, and at one point just before the November 2016 election, Chairman Bill Currier used a press release to distance the ORP from Trump, excoriating him for his “personal behavior.” On the website, it was the same hide-under-the-desk posture. My IT staff went back and looked at every change made in the ORP website over those two and half years. Again, barely a mention of Donald Trump. ORP Facebook Page? The same. So, the top-top brass of the ORP Executive Committee virtually ignored our President for more than two and a half years after his nomination and through the first two years of his presidency. In January 2019 the ORP was forced to show support because of my pro-Trump Executive Committee officer slate’s challenge…and dovetailing with that was President Trump’s in-your-face success that could no longer be ignored. The ORP’s current support for our president is obligatory/perfunctory at best.

6. Goose-chasing and bad decisions: The ORP has a penchant for wild-goose-chasing. It’s a diversionary tactic and it means zero energy goes into the organization’s central responsibility of helping to win conservative control in Salem. Bad decisions? Last Spring ORP leadership unabashedly ignored the start of the 2020 primary election season in favor of promoting a ludicrous Recall-Kate-Brown petition. It failed, of course. And now there is the possibility of a second effort, as suggested by part-time Chairman Bill Currier. Get ready for it: really, there may be ANOTHER state ORP-sponsored recall-Kate-Brown-petition initiated in the next weeks, further sucking up the energy of our conservative base right through and beyond the May primary elections! A second recall attempt will mean the ORP will have diverted attention from what really matters – taking back Salem – for a total of a full year! And if this second attempt happens now, during the final months of the primary campaigns, it proves – without any doubt – that the ORP is deliberately sabotaging any efforts to win back power in Salem. This conclusion is not conjecture. It’s common sense. In any case, another recall effort is a lose-lose for Oregonians of all political stripes. Think about this: in a (highly unlikely) “successful” recall, current Democrat State Treasurer Tobias Reed will take Brown’s place, and Reed, another progressive, will be the equivalent of an incumbent governor in the gubernatorial race in 2022. It would be a huge advantage for Reed. Bottom line? Petitioning to remove Kate Brown again now is not just an unconscionable waste of volunteer resources in the middle of an election year. At the least, it’s plain stupid. At the worst, it’s seriously nefarious. Either way, it would be yet another very bad decision.

7. Smoke-screening: e.g. the extended social-media hullabaloo in bringing in speakers such as Lara Trump, Brad Parscale and Candice Owen. Good people for sure, and a couple of hundred ORP loyalists are entertained, but these events distract from the fact that NOTHING is being done to recruit candidates for the 2020 primary elections. Again: it’s never been a voter problem! It’s ALWAYS been a lack-of-candidate problem! Is all of this on purpose? You tell me.

8. Ignoring Redistricting in 2021. Here’s another critical omission that no one at the highest levels of the state-level Oregon Republican Party EVER discusses: Redistricting. It happens in 2021 and without good electoral results for our side this November, Democrats are going to nail down the state for themselves for a minimum of the next ten years. And what really galls me about this nightmarish possibility is that in this moment we have an incredible opportunity to do the opposite: dramatically begin to turn things around in this state! The November Donald Trump re-election landslide is going to be massive. The opportunity is RIGHT THERE for Republican candidates, even inexperienced ones, to slide into office…but, as I’ve said more than a few times now, we have a serious lack of candidates!* And BTW, to bolster this once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity, our Democrat opponents are in total disarray in DC as well as here in Oregon. We should be striking while the iron is hot, not paralyzed, fumbling around! ARRRGGGHHH!

9. The official ORP Policy Platform is ignored. The Platform is the guiding light for State Party Executive Committee leadership that has failed to insist that candidates respect and adhere to the ORP Platform that was created by the Central Committee. It’s THE prime directive as stated in the Bylaw Mission Statement! This wholesale miscarriage of responsibility is of course epitomized in the Executive Committee’s enthusiasm, including even the primary election endorsement by one of its executive leaders, for 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler, who famously thumbed his nose at the Oregon Republican Party Platform. Now, encouraged by lack of kick-back from our ORP leaders, Buehler feels unrestrained by Republican tenets and is running for congress in our Second Congressional District.

10. Refusal to leverage technology. Technically and aesthetically, until just last weekend the ORP managed a horrible website (and the new one looks good but is still full of holes). The amateurish website had numerous broken links, outdated information, and more than a few “page under construction” statements. 2016 candidates were still listed! (Granted, as I said, the new site looks much better, but it still contains dead-ends). Facebook? It continues to be an embarrassment. Zero substance, and click-farmed into permanent obscurity. (regarding the non-reversable damage that click-farming delivers, see footnote in Chapter 35 on page 321 in my book, Making Oregon Great Again https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/.) Also, I gave you this link earlier, be sure to take a look at it, the latest (quite shocking) subscriber engagement statistics:(https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/uncategorized/facebook-engagement-statistics/). Only ORP loyalists, maybe a few hundred total, regularly go to the ORP website and Facebook Page.

11. Outrageous claims, broken promises, flat-out lies, and waste. There’s much more I could list here, but consider the following:
a. Here’s a recent ORP-generated rumor, slightly paraphrased: “Donald Trump and the RNC have advised Oregon Republicans to ignore Sam Carpenter.” Never mind that President Trump’s chief outside economic advisor for many years, Stephen Moore, has been a personal friend of mine for the last decade, and was an overnight guest at our house in Bend last September. (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/newsroom/stephen-moore-an-old-friend/). And never mind that the last thing on Donald Trump’s mind right now is internal strife within the impotent state-level Oregon Republican Party. It was yet another fib by the tiny Ruling Class contingent that constitutes the very top leadership of the Executive Committee.
b. Scroll down to “Negligible Contributions (The Big Lie),” here: https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/dollhouse/
c. Also, see #11 here:(https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/newsroom/questions-for-the-orp-executive-committee/), regarding ORP fundraising. And BTW, as I stated in the previous post, the Deschutes County GOP raised more last year than the state ORP organization.
d. For that matter, look at #12 here: (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/newsroom/questions-for-the-orp-executive-committee/). It’s an almost pathological self-denial. In 2018, to gain significant discounts in USPS postage costs, the Knute Buehler gubernatorial primary campaign used the ORP’s non-profit status to process a large quantity of mass mailings. This marketing cash, churned through the ORP in order to save the campaign money, did not constitute a fund-raising triumph for ORP Party Chair Bill Currier. Currier’s insanely implausible claim is that this maneuver demonstrates his personal fundraising prowess. Now we must ask just how gullible and stupid do these people think we are? And there’s this open question: is that marketing cash flow-through maneuver, using a non-profit entity to reduce campaign costs, even legal?
f. Pay close attention to this point: for literally years the state ORP has maintained office space (near Portland until recently; in Salem now), in which there has been no staff. The former office manager/secretary was laid off long ago. Essentially, for years physical state-ORP Headquarters has been a super-expensive storage space for office equipment. The importance of this personnel void can’t be understated: unlike other state Parties, the ORP has no staff, no Executive Director and the Chairman is unpaid and part-time. There is no mechanism for change or assertive action. As I stated previously, donations are miniscule. The state ORP is impotent; barely surviving. This is the definition of irrelevance.

12. Nefarious personal gains, deliberate inducement of chaos, and questionable manipulations. Make up your own mind after reading a 2009 letter from past ORP Chair Bob Tiernan: (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/appendixs/) regarding Solomon Yue. Also, read a letter of support for my challenging slate of ORP officers in last year’s ORP Executive Committee elections…from the FOUR immediate past ORP chairs, including Tiernan. (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/appendixt/). For more unsavory detail, read Chapters 34 and 35 in my book Making Oregon Great Again. You can download the unabridged book for free, here (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/book/).

Think about this: If someone were in charge of destroying a conservative political organization in a particular state, the above twelve points describe exactly how that could be accomplished. All of that dysfunction, intended or unintended, has led to the bottom-line main problem: lack of candidates. With a history of unqualified candidates or no Republican candidates at all, of course Democrats rule the state. This has been going on for a long time.

So, is the ORP Executive Committee’s top-level movers and shakers prime objective to insure their own survival rather than to promote electoral victory in Salem? Or is the central aim more nefarious: a deliberate neutering of Republican resistance to Democrat progressivism?

In any case, for whatever reason, the ORP Executive Committee has failed horribly and it’s high-time we take a new direction.

And WHO actually calls the shots for the state-level ORP? Who exactly pulls the levers? Is it rarely-seen, shadowy RNC Oregon Committeeman Solomon Yue who seems to appear publicly only at ORP Central Committee election meetings? Is it mild-mannered, part-time Chairman Bill Currier, who rarely says anything substantive to our 704,000 Republican base voters? Or is it the anonymous social media managers who put up occasional rah-rah posts on social media? Just who ARE our elitist Ruling Class Republican leaders? It’s a little bit scary.

It’s time for the State ORP Central Committee to take action. NOW.

And where is the real power right now? It’s with the grassroots county GOP organizations that comprise the ORP Central Committee.

Over the next 50 days, Diana and I will be traveling across Oregon to work with local county Republican leaders to help enlist candidates. We have that amount of time before the candidate filing deadline arrives on March 10th. Contact me if you want to meet with us (samc@makeoregongreatagain.com).

We’ll come to you.

The times are a changin’ and there’s no time to waste. Let’s get this done!

To stay current, be sure to sign up on both our MOGA2020 website (https://www.makeoregongreatagain.com/) mailing list and this Facebook Page.

-Sam Carpenter (samc@makeoregongreatagain.com)

*As of Monday morning, January 13th, regarding the May primary elections (per the Oregon Secretary of State website):
State Treasurer: no Republican candidate filed
Secretary of State: no Republican candidate filed
Attorney General: no Republican candidate filed
2 of 5 U.S Congressional Districts: no Republican candidates filed (40% unchallenged)
8 of 15 State Senate seats: no Republican candidates filed (53% unchallenged)
25 of 60 State House seats: no Republican candidates filed (43% unchallenged)