Four of the so-called Haywood Five were found guilty last weekend of party disloyalty by the N.C. Republican Party.
The Haywood Five were accused of working against Republican candidates in the 2016 election while serving in an official party capacity with the Haywood GOP. The verdict will hopefully allow the Haywood GOP to move beyond an ongoing tug-of-war between mainline Republicans and a conservative ideologue faction led by the Haywood Five, said Party Chairman Ken Henson.
“They are in my rear view mirror,” Henson said. “It will not be put up with ever again.”
The faction created chaos within the local party and fostered a climate of fear through verbal bullying and public ridicule of those who didn’t subscribe to their views, Henson said.
“I will not stand for it no more,” Henson said. “You can come and say what you want to without feeling somebody is going to jump on you and be mean to you.”
The Haywood Five claim they were merely upholding conservative principles by calling out Republicans who are corrupt in their view. They previously held leadership positions within the local party, but were ousted earlier this year in a take-back by mainline Republicans.
They are now prohibited from holding office within the party for another three to five years.
“What type of precedent does that set to say ‘Hey, that guy, we don’t like him, so let’s just go ahead and fix it so for the next five years they can’t hold a party office,’” said Eddie Cabe, one of the Haywood Five.
The ousted ideologue faction formed their own political action group earlier this year called the Haywood Republican Alliance, and they will continue their mission under that auspice, said Jeremy Davis, a ringleader of the Haywood Five.
“We are going to continue to do what we have been doing which is to support conservative candidates, to educate and animate the public, and do the job the Republican Party should be doing but isn’t,” Davis said.
Davis said the disloyalty charges have only served to elevate the Haywood Five to hero status among grassroots conservative activists across the state. The Haywood Republican Alliance will hold a “Party Disloyalty Party” later this month.
What triggered the party disloyalty charges
Party disloyalty charges are incredibly rare. Four of the Haywood Five were found responsible of party disloyalty at a hearing on the charges held in Raleigh on Saturday by the N.C. GOP executive committee, comprised of Republicans from across the state.
“This was a sad day for everyone involved. There are no clear winners here. But hopefully everyone involved can simply move on,” said N.C. GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse.
Woodhouse could not confirm any details or information about the proceedings. The general public was not permitted to attend the hearing, so what transpired is only hearsay, but here is what we know about the various allegations against each of the Haywood Five.
• The evidence against Cabe included a widely distributed email where he criticized Haywood Commissioner Kevin Ensley for not being conservative enough. However, simply criticizing a Republican is not grounds for party disloyalty. Party disloyalty is defined as “actively supporting a candidate of another Party.” Cabe said he did not do so.
“I have never campaigned for no Democrat and they didn’t even accuse me of that. It was for badmouthing a RINO,” said Cabe, referring to Ensley as a “Republican in Name Only.”
• Richard West, former Haywood GOP finance chair, was accused of marking up GOP voter guides handed out at the polls by crossing out Ensley’s name and writing in Robin Black, a conservative Democrat running for commissioner.
• Allegations against Monroe Miller involved blog posts supporting Black over Ensley.
• Allegations against Paul Yeager surrounded a Facebook post of a T-shirt touting Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson over Trump or Clinton. The T-shirt said something to the effect of: “If you don’t like the nut on the left and you don’t like the nut on the right, go for the Johnson.” It is unclear whether Yeager was just sharing a joke or whether he was actually advocating for Johnson as president. Yeager was the only one not found guilty of party disloyalty.
• The charges against Davis involved posts on his Facebook page during last year’s election criticizing Ensley and indicating support for Black. Davis says someone else made those posts to his Facebook page using his tablet, which he had left in the Haywood GOP headquarters.
A couple weeks ago, Davis filed a complaint with the Waynesville Police Department in hopes of clearing himself in the run up to the disloyalty hearing.
“(Davis) stated that his Facebook had been compromised….He stated the post had not been put there by him but when he had left his tablet that someone had put the post without his permission,” the police report states.
The complaint did not trigger an investigation or any charges, however.
Davis said the hearing was a kangaroo court and that the Haywood Five only got the evidence against them three days before the hearing, which was not sufficient time to prepare a proper defense.
Henson said he hopes the strong action against the Haywood Five will encourage average working-class Republicans to run for public office without fear of retribution from the ideologue faction.
“That’s why I am doing this, is to get candidates to run for office who are normal everyday people,” Henson said. “When you have this kind of people in there, scrutinizing every move everybody makes and going after people that don’t agree with their warped agenda, you can’t get good people.”
For more information, review these previously published stories.