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Ed Martin: One Man of Integrity Makes an Army

Missouri GOP Chairman Ed Martin

Unless you follow national politics closely you’ve probably never heard of Ed Martin, the principled limited government constitutional conservative who chairs the Republican Party of Missouri.

Ed Martin walks the walk. An accomplished lawyer, Martin was executive director of the Missouri Club for Growth and president of the Missouri Roundtable for Life, a pro-life, non-profit group. Martin has also done legal work for the Institute for Justice’s Human Action Network and Americans United for Life.

In January of 2013, after the disastrous rout of Mitt Romney, Martin decided something had to give in the Missouri GOP and he ran for state chairman and ousted the incumbent on the second round of voting.

Since then Martin has worked on building up the Missouri GOP’s ground game and made a point of asking the tough questions at the Republican National Committee and, in the process, has apparently earned the enmity of the insiders who run the RNC.

But that hasn’t stopped Ed Martin from taking up the tough questions surrounding the Mississippi Republican Senate runoff.

Martin has called for an investigation into the conduct of Mississippi Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour, who with his uncle former Governor Haley Barbour are some of the Republican insiders who are neck deep in the allegations by Chris McDaniel that the runoff was tainted and the results that handed the Republican Senate nomination to Senator Thad Cochran should be thrown out.

Let’s be clear; Martin hasn’t pre-judged whether Haley Barbour and his nephew Henry Barbour broke the law or the Rules of the Republican Party and he isn’t taking sides in Chris McDaniel’s challenge of the results. What Martin has asked for is an investigation of the facts that have been all over the front page of newspapers in Mississippi and the political commentary of the national news media.

This is, by the way, the same thing that a coalition of conservative leaders, including CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie, asked for in a letter to RNC Chairman Priebus back on July 16.

And here are the facts as Martin explained them in an article in The Daily Caller. In Mississippi this June, Mississippi Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour’s PAC funded ads by a man named Bishop Crudup that accused “the Tea Party” wanted to discriminate against African-Americans. Using images from the Civil Rights era, one Barbour flyer stated that the “Tea Party intends to prevent you from voting.” The flyer was heavily distributed to black neighborhoods in clear echoes of the kind of race-baiting that is typical of the Democrats and the far-left organizations that support them. “The Democrats and their operatives with bylines in the media regularly accuse Republicans of voter suppression, said Martin.” This is the first time in my experience that a Republican has done so.”

Martin goes on to make this important point about what is happening in Republican Parties outside the Beltway where the real work of electing Republicans gets done:

Imagine Democratic ads run across the country in October that accuse Republicans of vote suppression, with full-throated defense of their use by Democrats who claim they got the idea from Mississippi Republican Henry Barbour. What defense would we have? Seven Republican senators donated large amounts to Barbour’s PAC. Does that mean they agree with Barbour that the Tea Party is involved in voter suppression? Are they prepared to answer that on Sunday morning shows when a giddy media demands they agree or disagree with Barbour’s message? What will we say? That Barbour was wrong, but we didn’t want to rock the boat because the he was a powerful fundraiser?

The Republican state parties have been engaged in outreach to communities of color for many years. In Missouri, we have sought to make it a priority to “show up,” listening to the concerns of our citizens and recruiting great conservatives who believe that freedom isn’t something you’re given by a political party. What do we say to these new recruits when they ask about racially divisive tactics? Do we stand firm to our principles and condemn them in all forms? Or do we turn our head, and admit that it’s okay to lie to black voters to secure a win?

But there’s a problem noted Jeffery Lord in an article on this topic for The American Spectator. “Take a look at this link to a site for a lobbying group called Capital Resources,” said Lord “which includes a bio for one of the group’s partners, the aforementioned Henry Barbour. If you scan down a bit there is a series of bullet points describing Barbour’s background. The very first one reads as follows: ‘Helped run RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ campaign for chairman’.”

Indeed, says Lord, back in 2011 this story in Politico discussing Priebus’s relationship said that Barbour was “central to Priebus's bid” to be elected RNC chairman.

What was the gut response of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to Ed Martin’s request that the RNC conduct an investigation of the role of his buddy Mississippi Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour in the race-baiting ads?

Jeffery Lord reports it was an inquiry from a Priebus aide, Matt Pinnell, the RNC’s State Party Director. Asking the not so subtle question of the executive director of the Missouri State Party: When is the next election for Missouri State GOP Chair? 

In other words,observes Lord, Priebus appeared to be firing a warning shot at a duly elected RNC member that he would seek to remove that member at the next available election. Since the rules for electing state GOP chairmen are easily googled, the direct nature of the request appeared to be an unsubtle warning. Pinnell himself is a former state chairman of the Oklahoma GOP.  

Despite the threats from insiders at the RNC the ads and the conduct of the Barbours and their Mississippi political machine are going to be a topic at the “members only” breakfast during the August 7 meeting of the RNC in Chicago. 

We don’t know how that meeting is going to go, but we do know that one man of integrity makes an army, and Ed Martin is a man of integrity who can’t be intimidated by the insiders who are currently driving the RNC into the ground. The grassroots voters of the Republican Party are with Ed Martin, it is time for the rest of the members of the RNC to heed the call and join Ed Martin's Army.

Click here to read CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie’s letter to the RNC demanding an investigation of the race-baiting ads in Mississippi

To read Ed Martin’s op-ed in The Daily Caller click this link

To read Jeffery Lord’s articles on this topic in The American Spectator click here and here.

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