Social media has been active with questioning the motives and the person behind the anonymous emails and website “Drain the Georgia S.W.A.M.P.” S.W.A.M.P. being an acronym for “Spenders Without Any Moral Principles”. The website and emails (there have been five so far) have targeted those of us who have served on the Georgia Republican Party executive committee condemning us for not doing anything to address the financial situation of the GAGOP. Of course, they forget that a number of us did call for a special executive committee meeting to discuss our financial situation back in February 2016.
Yes, the GAGOP should have more money in the coffers for a state our size. The GAGOP also competes along with PACs including one who wants you to “donate” money to fax letters to Members of Congress to revive a bill to prohibit Members to solicit donations over the phone while in session. Yes, the GAGOP didn’t do a bang up job of fundraising to replenish the coffers over the past few years and exhausted the bubble of cash from the beginning of the current decade.
The next Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party has a tough road ahead. A single person won’t fix the problems we have in the Party, but they’ll lay out a vision to guide the party for the next two years. A lot the the work to “fix” the problems will require cooperation from the factions currently at war with each other. That means growing up, putting on the big boy pants, and not hiding behind “anonymous” websites lobbing grenades at leaders.
I say “anonymous” because the “Drain the Georgia SWAMP” doesn’t have a name of an organizer attached to the emails or the website, but it does have an address. Initially, the first two emails had an address in San Antonio, TX. The address ties back to Persevero Films which was registered back in 2011 in Texas and is still currently active. The registered agent for Persevero Films is Nathaniel Darnell. For those playing at home, Darnell lost to Brad Carver for Chairman of the 11th District Republican. The address suddenly changed to an address in Kennesaw and then to an address in Roswell and now an address in Atlanta. All of the Georgia addresses happen to be in or are shopping centers when looked up on Google Maps. Maybe we’re seeing the ghost of Beth Merkelson, but I kinda doubt it.
The first few emails seemed to be directed towards both the Cobb County GOP and Brad Carver. A movement was afoot to remove Carver from his position as 11th District Chairman after he made small donations to moderate Democrats in solidly-blue districts. The charges were overblown as Carver became a leader inside the campaign for Donald Trump after the ordeal. I’ve known Brad for a number of years, and I don’t think I know of a more staunch Republican who has supported our candidates than Brad Carver.
Candidate Donald Trump used the phrase “drain the swamp” quite frequently on the campaign trail when referencing Washington DC. President-elect and now President Donald Trump as all but erased the phrase from his vocabulary, but the phrase seems to live on as an activist rallying cry. A cry that demands the Party be purged of leaders that a select few deem “unfit” to serve in Republican leadership and to put them in power. The funny part is that a lot of these “anti-establishment” folk are proving what I said in February last year: they are looking for power. I made a lot of people angry by those words and have been labeled as an #EvilEstablishmentRINO, but I stand by my words.
So far, John Watson and Michael McNeely have been targeted by the SWAMP website. Mike Welsh has only been listed as a member of the GAGOP executive committee, so you can figure they’re trying to use guilt by association. Interestingly enough, Alex Johnson’s name hasn’t been specifically mentioned in any of the emails which, I can only assume, are being sent out to delegates and alternates to the GAGOP state convention. There’s still about a month, so there’s time to see if they float an endorsement or positive words in his direction.
People, like myself, are growing tired of the continuing civil war between “The Establishment” and the “Anti-Establishment”. It’s a reason why I’m stepping away for a while, and I’m sure that other good, hardworking leaders will step away as well if the infighting continues. In reality, the race for GAGOP chairman is inside baseball that the general public really has no interest in, but they pay attention to the media headlines when we have financial issues. I just wonder if some of the Anti-Establishment people are more interested in fixing the problem or continuing the “us vs. them” battle if they are successful in June.
It’s time Georgia Republicans realize that we have two options: 1.) we can begin to realize the changing demographics in our state and adapt to return to the “party of the big tent” in order to remain relevant or 2.) continue down the path of a monumental peeing contest of political purity and sour voters who are under the age of 40. We may have won the battle of 2016, but we could very well lose the electoral war in the years to come. I know one thing for sure, burning down the house doesn’t solve the problem. I can only hope that people will come to realize that quickly.