It didn’t take long for acting State Republican Committee Chair Roman Stauffer to prove he can be as dictatorial as his predecessor, Melody Potter.
Potter stepped down as state chair this week, citing a need to spend more time with her parents.
The resignation came as something of a surprise to most political observers, especially since Republicans did extremely well in the 2020 general election in the state.
The GOP retained its U.S. Senate seat along with the three House of Representatives positions. They also kept the Governor’s office and swept the statewide board of public works. In addition, they gained super majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
But an element of the party was discussing ousting Potter before the election and their voices only got louder after November 3, 2020. Most cited Potter’s inability to raise large amounts of funds as a reason for concern.
Stauffer, who ran Bill Cole’s 2016 unsuccessful campaign for Governor, was chosen Vice Chair of the party, serving with Potter.
With Potter’s resignation, Stauffer became acting chair until the group’s winter meeting in Charleston in March.
Potter stirred a number of controversies during her term, not the least of which was her arbitrary removal of the elected chair of the Wood County Executive Committee, Rob Cornelius.
Stauffer, whose reputation for controversy mirrors Potter’s, wasted little time starting a new one.
Derrick Evans was chosen in the 2020 election as one of the two delegates representing Wayne County District 19. He made national news this week by filming himself and others entering the capitol in Washington to protest the election of President-elect Joe Biden. Evans was subsequently charged with federal trespassing related crimes and resigned his House seat.
That’s where Stauffer got involved.
State law requires that the party’s delegate district committee meet and submit three names to the Governor for appointment in place of the retiring delegate.
Wayne Republican Executive Committee Chair Jeff Maynard says that’s just what happened. He convened a meeting of the committee and Mark Ross, Jay Marcum and Chad Shaffer were chosen and submitted to Governor Jim Justice.
But, according to committee members, Stauffer is not happy.
He allegedly told Maynard he (Stauffer) was in charge of the selection process, according to state party bylaws. So, he (Stauffer) says he is running advertisements seeking candidates and will convene the committee Thursday to select names.
One of those already submitted to the governor said he was told Justice plans to make his selection before Thursday, making Stauffer’s meeting moot.
The new chair apparently believes party bylaws trump state law.
I doubt he’s right about that.
Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.