In yet another unprecedented and by all appearances improper move the now scandal-ridden West Virginia Federation of Republican Women has notified one of their local organizations they will not be eligible to vote in their upcoming October elections. This decision impacts Republican women in Raleigh and Mercer counties. The determination it seems is based on the number of active members in the area and because of this issue, the group is “no longer in good standing” according to WVFRW President Jeani Hawkins.
The notice came as a surprise to other local member groups who said that it is well known that the local groups go through highs and lows in membership but the action against the Raleigh / Mercer “Mountaineer” group seems to be isolated and the timing has raised many questions.
Sources have confirmed other groups specifically the Wood County and North Central (Monongalia County) group also do not meet the required numbers to be in good standing and have not for many years. It has also been alleged that Denise Morrisey intentionally duplicated names on a roster to secure the Greenbrier County position. This presents a significant problem for the organization as these positions also represent board of directors’ positions in the group. A board that has made decisions and cast votes which could be challenged in court by its members.
Additionally, a review of the WVFRW bylaws clearly states that the Executive Committee not the President has jurisdiction over the removal and reinstatement of local organizations. No meeting has occurred to establish this ruling. This decision is another in a long list of arbitrary decisions made by President Jeani Hawkins that exceed her authority in the group. The President of the WVFRW is not empowered to act without a vote of the Executive Board or Board of Directors. Repeating this action just days after being enveloped in controversy for endorsing nominees in a legislative appointment shows that Hawkins is not scared of breaking the rules to affect her agenda.
This same type of totalitarian leadership was exercised by former GOP party chair Melody Potter. The result of that action ended in a court ruling nullifying any actions the organization had taken since Potter denied Wood County Chair Rob Cornelius his position. The expense to the GOP was significant.
The control of the Republican women in the state is the beginning of political maneuvering that is occurring behind the scenes in this primary election cycle. There is a significant advantage to controlling the narrative of an organization of Republican women statewide in what is a heavily contested gubernatorial primary.
The Republican women across the state log thousands of hours each year in direct support of candidates and provide other financial and public opportunities for those seeking office at many levels.