Things just keep getting better and better for the Vermont Republican Party.
The latest eruption is in the GOP heartland of Burlington, where three members of the city party committee are calling for the removal of city party chair Kolby LaMarche because he’s insufficiently reverential toward Donald Trump.
Because being a Trumpster is such a great way to win elections in Burlington, I guess?
LaMarche sinned against orthodoxy by writing opinion pieces saying that the VTGOP needed to move away from Trump and return to “the Vermont Republican roots that formed the basis of our state party,” in the words of a written statement he released Friday. He had also called for a change in state party leadership; most of the VTGOP’s top officials are dyed-in-the-wool Trumpsters.
The three who want LaMarche removed are Ericka Redic, spectacularly unsuccessful candidate for state Senate in 2020; Gus Klein, a weapons tester at General Dynamics who’s best known as the guy whose Trump flag was vandalized by two teenagers back in 2018; and his wife AnnMarie Klein.
The three sent an email to members of the city GOP committee, notifying them of a meeting on February 9 “to discuss the removal of our current Burlington Republican Chair representative Mr. Kolby LaMarche.”
That promises to be a hot mess.
Update 1/31/21: Looks like nothing will come out of this meeting, if it’s held at all. Former state representative Tom Koch, who is the VTGOP’s parliamentarian, has ruled that a meeting of a party committee can only be official if ten or more members, or the chair, agrees to it. And that “Any action taken by such a meeting would be without effect.”
Update 2/2/21: I have been told that at least ten members of the city committee have requested a meeting to consider Lamarche’s removal. If true, a meeting will have to be held in the near future, not necessarily on February 9.
Addendum to 2/2 update. Lamarche has issued another reply to the meeting request, in which he asserts that fewer than 10 actual members of the city committee have called for the special meeting. So he’s declining to schedule it.
The three called the meeting after LaMarche rejected Klein’s emailed demand that “you immediately resign as the Burlington City Chair and possibly as a Republican Party member.” Klein also blasted LaMarche for failing to recruit cannon fodder — I mean, Republican candidates — for city council and mayor this year.
In his written statement, LaMarche said the opinion pieces reflected his personal views, not his party position, and that he is committed to an inclusive party that welcomes all points of view. And he said the three “have been blinded by single-minded loyalty to a man who has damaged the very party they claim to support.”
Ouch! Want some Neosporin for those burns?
This maneuver shows just how far up their own backsides the three organizers are. The city is moving left at a rapid clip. It’s getting tough for Democrats to win, let alone Republicans. The city GOP hasn’t fielded a winning candidate for any office in Burlington since Kurt Wright decided he’d had enough. Now Klein, Klein and Redic believe the secret to a turnaround is to make the party smaller and more conservative.
We’ll find out on February 9 how many of their colleagues feel the same way.