Jeff Ward, of the Reagan Republicans and the for-profit Strategery Political Consulting company is yet again trying to undermine the Republican Party. As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Reagan Republicans, I feel compelled to explain the direction the RR’s are going and why I, along with most of the other conservative former board members and VPs including Rep Bob Nonini, Steve Adams and Jack Schroeder, have resigned our positions. When they were formed, the RRs were a fairly conservative group. After several attempts to purge conservatives from the board and watering down the endorsement criteria from a unanimous board vote to just two/thirds of the board members who can attend the meeting, the RRs are poised to endorse a slate of moderate and liberal Republicans this spring. Most of the candidates hoping to be endorsed by the RRs have also reportedly hired Strategery at a cost of $5,000 each.
So just how far to the left can a candidate be and still have the support of Jeff Ward? During the last Coeur d’Alene city election, Jeff worked a back channel communication to Democrat Ron Edinger to see if he would be receptive to an endorsement from the RRs if the board could be convinced to endorse a known Democrat. One of my last actions as a board member was to fight against that endorsement attempt.
Jeff Ward also recently used his position as the president of the Reagan Republicans to urge a boycott of a properly noticed official meeting of the Republican Party that was called to oppose a massive reduction in election precincts. He and the new RR President Ron Lahr (who is also the president of Strategery) tried unsuccessfully to weaken the Republican Party by advocating for a reduction in precincts. This would have hurt the Republican Party by making the precincts too large for the committeemen to effectively complete their canvassing duties. If Jeff and Ron had been successful, hiring Strategery to mail campaign materials to these mega-precincts would have become one of the only ways to win an election.
Strategery even recruited a candidate to run against popular conservative Rep. Vito Barbieri, apparently because they would be able to obtain another consulting fee from the challenger. When they were trying to convince yet another incumbent to hire their company, Ron Lahr joked that if the person didn’t hire them, “we could just run someone against you.” Was the entire concept of the Reagan Republicans just to help launch Jeff and Ron’s political consulting company?
I was urged to not write this letter because it will likely result in political retribution against me. I chose to write it anyway, because I refuse to decide a course of action based on political expediency. Real leadership is about doing the right thing without regard to personal benefits or harm.