Monday, June 4, 2012
From the Luzerne County Republican Committee Statement on the Election of Steve Smith
For immediate release.
Contact: Terry Casey
WILKES BARRE, PA – The election of Steven Smith to the Republican Committee of Luzerne County (LCRC) has received media coverage in the last few days. We are grateful to the Anti-Defamation League and other media outlets for bringing to our attention the racially charged and disturbing background of this man from Pittston. We unequivocally denounce Mr. Smith and his abhorrent views and would like to make it clear that in no way do his personal views reflect the views of the Republican Party.
Mr. Smith was elected as one of two Republican Committeemen from Pittston City Ward 4. He was elected with only one write-in vote – a vote that was most likely his own. The other two write-in votes cast in this ward went to Mr. George Carmean, a long-time committee member of the LCRC.
Pennsylvania State election code allows any registered Republican or Democrat to write their name in to become a member of the County Committee. The Bylaws of the Luzerne County Republican Committee indicate that the only qualification for election to the County Committee be that one has been a registered Republican for the two years preceding their election. There is no other eligibility requirement in this regard. Also, there is no express provision in the bylaws of the LCRC that would authorize the Executive Committee or the District Committee to “expel” a member of the Committee for his or her “beliefs.”
The Luzerne County Republican Committee does not endorse or represent any of the hateful views of Mr. Smith, nor did any of the voters in Pittston City or Luzerne County. The efforts of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and its affiliated media organizations to portray anything otherwise are incredibly disingenuous, shameful, and insulting to all residents of Luzerne County. Their efforts, however, are indicative of the underhandedness in which they are willing to engage to advance their hypocrisy and political aims.
Mr. Smith elected himself to the LCRC with one vote. For media outlets like “Think Progress” or others to suggest that the people of Pittston, let alone the voters of Luzerne County, support this man in any significant number is shameful and insulting to all of the residents of Pittston and Northeast Pennsylvania, Democrat or Republican. In an ill-researched post on ThinkProgress.org, Adam Peck wrote that, “Smith is also an active member of local Tea Party groups, a network that he used to gain support for his bid for the committee seat.” This claim is blatantly false. Smith has been banned from the NEPA Tea Party Facebook page and has not been welcome at their meetings. Peck’s suggestion that Smith used the Tea Party network to gain support for his committee election would be laughable if this were not such a serious accusation. This “story” is indicative of the underhanded, self-serving tactics used by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and a happily complicit media, and illustrates the deep hypocrisy and lies they are willing to engage in for the basest political purposes.
The Republican Party has a long and proud history of supporting and promoting Civil Rights for all Americans and any racially intolerant views are unequivocally not welcome in the County, State or National Republican Parties. The nation’s first abolitionists were Republicans, no one fought harder for the abolition of slavery than Republican President Abraham Lincoln, The first African-American to run for President was Republican Frederick Douglas, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have been passed without the support of Republican Senators from the Northeast, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was made a National Holiday by Republican President Ronald Reagan. The issue at this time, however, is not the Civil Rights credentials of the Republican Party. The issue at this time is the hypocrisy of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
We sincerely regret the efforts of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to create a political football out of an issue that both Democrats and Republicans should be anxiously ready to agree upon. In fact, the Luzerne County Democratic Party has joined with the LCRC to denounce Mr. Smith and his involvement, stating that, “Steve Smith obviously does not represent the Luzerne County Republican Party in any way, shape, or form.” We applaud the efforts of the Luzerne County Democratic Committee to join us in not only denouncing Mr. Smith, but to return political discourse to focusing on key issues at hand, like creating jobs and fixing our economy. We encourage the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to do the same.