Better Governing Now » Dismissal of Dr Delma Blinson from Beaufort County Board of Elections


Dismissal of Dr Delma Blinson from Beaufort County Board of Elections

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For Immediate Release:

    Back in March of this year the Beaufort County Republican Party Executive Committee voted to recommend for appointment to the Board of Elections Dr Delma Blinson. Due to some political ax grinding Raleigh politicians had against Dr Blinson the State Board did not appoint him. Members of the Beaufort County Executive Committee went to see the State Party Chairman to appeal the decision, and prevailed in having Dr Blinson appointed. Friday that was undone due to local infighting by a few members of the party who put their petty fighting above the good of the party and the citizens of Beaufort County. This type of action is what is costing Republicans election, after election.

    Since I have been the chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, Dr Blinson has been instrumental in the success of our local BOE. He meets with the people of the county regularly, attends all of the BOE meetings and training, in fact even while facing these charges he spent two days in Raleigh this week attending training classes.

    Dr. Blinson is a reliable source of guidance, information and education for the citizens. Dr. Blinson has worked on educating the local election officials and judges, which has been sorely lacking for years. While Dr. Blinson is not the chairman of the local BOE, he has filled a void of keeping the party informed of the work of the Board of Elections and the changes in the voter laws. Another point is that I have not heard from the BOE chairman since he was sworn into office, not by phone, email, or in person, although he has been invited to every Republican Party meeting we have had. Suffice it to say, Dr. Blinson is an asset to all of the citizens in our county, and a valuable liaison between the Board of Elections and the GOP Executive Committee.

    Whether you like Dr Blinson or not is immaterial, what is material are two facts. One that a few people in Beaufort County think is up to them to decide what is best for the entire county and the board of election. Two, that the bureaucratic establishment in Raleigh is sticking their nose in your business.

    The facts of the matter are that Dr Blinson while attending a Beaufort Patriot TEA Party meeting as a private citizen on October 17, 2013 did in fact express an opinion that Dr. Greg Brannon was the best candidate for the US Senate and he did make a motion that the Tea Party endorse Greg Brannon for US Senate (Kay Hagens seat).

    Immediately after that meeting and without consulting the executive committee a member sent an email to the State Board of Elections charging Dr Blinson with a violation of GS 163-39. This was obviously done in cahoots with another former executive committee member who resigned when he was unable to substantiate his position at a meeting of the committee.

    As to the charges of Dr Blinson violating G.S. 163-39, which reads in part - "Limitation on political activities."

    No individual subject to this Article shall:

    (1) Make written or oral statements intended for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates for public office."

    I believe the key here is the "intended for general distribution or dissemination" part. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary "General" means - "relating to, or affecting all the people or things in a group : involving or including many or most people", and "Distribution" means "the act of giving or delivering something to people" so, by definition, this was not what was intended, nor did it in fact happen, until it was made public due to the complaint. These are the same faction of the Beaufort County Republicans that opposed the original appointment of Dr. Blinson, and now viewed this event as a method of having him removed from office.

    The statute is also clear when it says: "...Individual expressions of opinion, support, or opposition not intended for general public distribution shall not be deemed a violation of this Article." I did not witness any comments by Dr. Blinson at the October 17 meeting that were "intended for general distribution or dissemination."

    Since he was not there representing nor did he present himself as a BOE member it is clear he did not violate the rule. Using the interpretation that was applied by the SBOE would indicate that any elected official loses their rights to free speech when acting as a private citizen when they are elected to office. Furthermore I am sure if this standard was applied to the very same people that passed judgment on Dr Blinson, they themselves would be found in violation of that rule.

    Just to prevent this type of squabble I had asked many times that if any party member has issue with another that they have backbone enough to take it up in a civilized manner within the county. It is truly an embarrassment to the entire county when dirty laundry must be carried to the state capitol, and waste the time of our local party leaders who themselves are working vigilantly tending to party business and trying win elections.

    I will name no one in this situation. I will ask again that when Republicans have issue with Republicans that we hold a respectful meeting and resolve our issues here in a civil fashion and not run to Raleigh. We should be able to sit down in a room and conduct ourselves in a manner that would make our citizens proud to say they elected us.

    Contact: Keith D Kidwell
      Beaufort County Republican Party Chairman

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