LETTER TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FROM ELLEN DAVIS, ELECTED STATE DELEGATE TO THE LOUISIANA REPUBLIC CONVENTION.
“Irrational fear by a small and insular group of Louisiana Republican leaders laid the groundwork for an intense environment”
To: Republican Party of Louisiana Executive Committee
CC: RSCC Members, Louisiana Conservative Delegation, & Ron Paul State Convention Delegates
From: Ellen Davis, Elected State Delegate to the Louisiana Republican Convention
I write this letter with great sadness and disappointment in the Louisiana Republican Party leadership. As an ELECTED Delegate to the State Convention, former Executive Director to the LAGOP, a former State Central Committee member, a political ally to Republican Party leaders, a friend, a wife, and a mother, I’m appalled at the actions taken by the LAGOP Executive Committee and other party leadership to use force by police officers to remove peaceful, law abiding ELECTED members of a body, to enforce illegal rules adopted only days before the convention.
The Executive Committee cannot continue to hide behind the unsupported claims that you feared the Ron Paul delegates would behave lawlessly, and perhaps violently. You let your irrational fear of elected Republican convention delegates, many of whom are long-time friends and supporters of yours, cause you to lose all moral sense.
You claim that the violence committed against representatives of the majority of convention delegates was justified because you were simply enforcing the convention rules. Those supplemental convention rules were adopted in a PRIVATE meeting held two days before the state convention in Shreveport. They entirely changed the scope of the agreed upon rules submitted to the Republican National Committee in October of last year.
Those “supplemental rules” were not valid, they were untimely promulgated, not consistent with prior rules and violated not just the LAGOP Bylaws but also rule 1(b) of the actual Caucus and Convention rules.
Furthermore, they were so ridiculous and unnecessarily restrictive that they violate the rules of the Republican National Committee and potentially so damaging as to RISK our eventual nominee’s name not appearing on the ballot under state election laws.
It was wrong of you to try, through those supplemental rules, to deprive the majority of delegates the rights they had been elected to exercise. It was even more wrong to try to silence civil, non-violent questioning and criticism of the last-minute rules change by means of physical violence and assault on our members, and fear and intimidation by several of the elected delegates loyal to you.
You claim that the rule changes were necessary because there was “fear” amongst your minority delegation and the executive committee that the Ron Paul delegates would “steal” delegates and behave unlawfully and violently.
The only thing that was “stolen” was the right of duly elected state convention delegates to elect delegates to the Republican National Convention. It is impossible to “steal” delegates because the rules clearly state that ten delegates are BOUND to Rick Santorum and five delegates are BOUND to Mitt Romney.
Since the convention, you have provided no evidence to support your claims. Videos of the convention prove that, whatever your fears may have been, the only violence carried out was by you, and police officers acting on your orders.
Tell me, just who in the majority delegation were you afraid of? Our delegates included long-time party members, people who have been your friends and supported many of you in past elections. Which of these Louisiana Republicans put you in such fear of violence? Was it:
• Jason Stern – conservative Christian, married 15 years, 9 children, vice president of social conservative nonprofits for 12 years, past Chairman of the Republican Party of Livingston Parish, assistant Cubmaster, and your political ally?
• Craig and Sherri Leblanc – homeschool mother and father of 10, small business owners?
• Shawn Wilson – Christian, homeschool father of 3, small business owner, friend?
• Landon Mills – son of Louisiana Family Forum’s President Gene Mills?
• Colleen Byers Crane – registered nurse, mother?
• Beth Croslow Billings – RSCC member (Dist 56B), a member of the St. Charles parish RPEC, mother to three daughters, married 27 years?
• Connie Bernard – RSCC Member, East Baton Rouge School Board Member, East Baton Rouge PEC Vice Chairman, political ally, mother, wife?
• Wallace Lucas – RSCC Member, small business owner, husband?
• John Roberts – former RSCC Member, former state senate candidate recruited by you, political ally, small business owner, husband, father to 3 boys?
• Hunter Simmons – a mechanical engineer?
• Charlie Davis – my husband, RSCC Member, former Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana, your political ally and friend, contributor, father of 3?
Should I continue? I have a lot more to list, I didn’t even include the several members of our delegation that are medical doctors, retired and active duty military, teachers, retirees.
These people were not strangers to you, not “outside agitators.” They are your friends, neighbors, and supporters. No matter what you thought was happening across the country, you applied a very biased and broad brush to allies and friends. Why did you lack that trust in God that you so heavily proclaim in all of your works?
“So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
What justified your fears? Do you realize that at other conventions around the country NOT a single party leader or Paul supporter were arrested or hurt? Not until this Saturday, June 2nd, was there any violence. Your irrational fear ordered that violence, putting Louisiana on the map as the first convention where police force was used. The Republican Party of Louisiana hired police officers to carry out your orders at only your discretion. Being in a disagreement and discussing that disagreement on the floor is NOT grounds for arrest or for cops to force an individual to the ground, then dragged out like a criminal.
After our first delegate was put to the ground, with fingers broken in the process, the only people to fear were the LAGOP Executive Committee and the hired off-duty police acting on your orders. Only members of our delegation were actually harmed and brutalized. None of your delegation was harmed or threatened in any way, and the videos prove that.
You claim there was an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at the convention. The video footage shows that it was your delegation members who created this atmosphere:
• Not once did your cops tell Henry Herford to leave or he was going to be arrested – they just immediately took him down and attempted to drag him out.
• Not once did your cops read Alex Helwig his Miranda rights or tell him what he was being arrested for.
• Your cops proceeded to confiscate cameras and phones without any type of warrant. I guess you wanted no evidence of your unlawful actions.
• Your cops also smiled and gloated for taking down civilians, one of whom was obviously physically handicapped and warned the cops as they approached him that he had a prosthetic hip.
• It was delegates loyal to you standing on chairs, videotaping, showing complete glee while watching men being manhandled by cops.
• Two male delegates loyal to you stood in front of our elected Chairwoman, Connie Bernard, creating human barriers to prevent our delegates to move and pass through, trying to intimidate a woman.
• Men loyal to you stood firmly in the way of one of our women delegates trying to move to the back of the room to talk to our Chairwoman Connie Bernard.
• Men and women loyal to you blocked entrances and exits not allowing our elected members to move freely.
• Your hired cops shoved our woman delegate, an ER nurse, as she was trying to tend to Henry Herford after he was taken down by your cops.
• Your hired cops pushed medical Doctor Aaron Klepper out of the way and demanded credentials as Dr. Klepper attempted to come to Henry Herford’s aid.
• It was the Executive Committee who continued to conduct business after repeated calls from the floor saying we needed a doctor and to call 911. The Executive Committee had the microphone, so why didn’t you echo the calls for a doctor? Was there really no concern for anyone’s safety? Or do you just believe that because we are Ron Paul delegates we don’t deserve assistance in a medical crisis? Why did you let your irrational fear cause you to forget basic human dignity?
• You controlled the microphone and at any time could have said enough is enough. You could have called off the cops. Never once did anyone on the Executive Committee or the minority of delegates loyal to you stand up and say this has gone too far. Aren’t we fellow Republicans, fellow citizens, fellow Christians first before we are political adversaries?
I know that if the tables were turned, my husband, Charlie Davis, would have been by your side assisting you and stopping the violence. I am also certain that our Ron Paul delegates would have defended you from being attacked by anyone, because no matter what side of the political aisle you are on, tyranny and violence is never acceptable. I stand firmly with the Ron Paul delegates and applaud them for being men and women whom my kids can emulate. I am raising leaders in my household, leaders who always stand up for what is right and always exercise personnel choice in extreme situations.
There is nothing wrong with debate and disagreement. That is what our country is founded on. You should have allowed the debate, you should have allowed Henry Herford to continue and allowed the majority to follow the rules adopted by the Republican State Central Committee without using the police to tend to a simple matter of competing voices.
Ron Paul delegates peacefully and calmly exercised their 1st Amendment Rights and shared their concerns about an unruly, out of line Executive Committee, and your attempt to seize power with the illegal, last minute effort to change the rules. You didn’t even allow discussion. I don’t know of any other business, political, or government meetings where you can completely shut off all communication from the floor, and declare that anybody who even questions the rulings of the chair will be physically removed by the police.
With all this said, let’s go back to the reasons you’ve given for your illegal rules. You claim you wanted to “tighten the rules” so that Ron Paul Delegates could not wrongfully “steal” delegates from the competing national campaigns. But what happened in fact? Our delegation ELECTED to Tampa, the five delegates the Romney campaign requested (one of which you REFUSED to put on your own national delegation list), and many other high-profile Romney and Santorum supporters.
This was not your first attempt to write the rules to ensure that party insiders could control the delegate selection process. The RSCC wrote the rules last year to have the winners of the caucus chose the delegates, making the state Republican primary only allocate delegates in very specific circumstances. There would be ZERO reason to have the caucus if caucus delegates were not going to choose the national delegates. The LAGOP and the RSCC did not care back in October about “stealing” delegates; you assumed you would win the caucuses and wanted to make sure you could install personal friends and others that you owed “political favors” to as delegates.
A large majority of the RSCC and LAGOP Executive Committee were Santorum, Gingrich, Cain, Perry, and Bachman supporters. You knew in the Summer of 2011 that in order to beat Romney, you would need to be in control of the delegate selection, and you had a fairly accurate assessment that Romney would not be able to carry the state of Louisiana when matched against more conservative candidates.
Thus you created the “Caucus/Primary” system. You planned to pick all the delegates in a victorious caucus. But when the Ron Paul voters were better organized than yours and simply out-voted you in the caucuses to win the majority of the convention delegates, you started back-pedaling to find ways to make sure the caucus voters and the delegates they elected were disenfranchised.
Your first intention was to write the rules so you could control the delegates and make sure Romney could gain only a few delegates. When that didn’t work you changed the rules again, to insure that Ron Paul delegates could not get to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, claiming that you were just “protecting Romney delegates”.
Your words and actions are the height of fraud, irony, and hypocrisy. It also remains as a perfect example of why this caucus/primary system was a failure to begin with.
Conservatives are in the majority in this state. We spent years building the party to where it is now. Why did you feel it was necessary to keep changing the rules? Why did you feel it was necessary to have the Executive Committee try to undo the results of the caucus elections? We have the majority, we are the good guys, we supported you! Why didn’t you just get out your vote instead of making backroom deals and last-minute rule changes?
Can you not admit, in light of these facts, that your fears were misplaced, at best? It was your misjudged fear that deprived you of your basic moral sense. This will be your downfall, and if you continue to refuse to acknowledge that your fears were, in fact, irrational and misplaced, and led you to do wrong things, that will only exacerbate the division you have created within the state party by your actions on Saturday.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
The Executive Committee and the delegates loyal to you now have the opportunity to apologize and right the wrongs committed Saturday. I appeal to you, as your sister in Christ, to admit your wrong doings so that we can begin healing and reconciliation. This is the Lord’s commandment to us as brethren in Christ. Your actions in the coming weeks will be a historic record and telling story of the men and women you portray yourselves to be. Your generations will bear the load of your wrong decisions.
I urge you to denounce these attacks on peacefully organized civilians and ask you to apologize for your abuse of power. As your friend, as your former employee, as contributor to your campaigns and as someone who has ALWAYS defended you, I beg you to make amends and allow a healing process to begin for the good of this state.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
We are Liberty Lovers, Republicans, Americans, and Louisianans, and we deserve an apology.
Elected State Delegate to the
Louisiana Republican Convention