The race for Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party just became a little more interesting as Lee County GOP Chairman Jim Womack has stepped up to challenge current NCGOP Chairman, and lifelong establishment insider, Robin Hayes.
Hayes is well known around the state for building his career as an anti-Conservative Republican, after spending years in Washington, D.C. as an establishment politician and as a leader of the “centrist” Ripon Society.
He was also instrumental in the ouster of former NCGOP Chairman Hassan Harnett, the first black Chairman in the history of the state party and a solid Conservative. Hence the reason Hayes was immediately installed as the new party Chairman upon Harnett’s removal.
At that time, party insiders like NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and Hayes, attempted a hostile takeover of the party in the hopes of snatching control back from a duly-elected Conservative like Harnett.
The establishment blamed Harnett for “poor fundraising” despite the fact that Harnett’s fundraising efforts outpaced those of Hayes during his first tenure as NCGOP Chairman from 2011-2013.
Hayes is also well known for using his role as Chairman to “take sides” during Republican primaries in which the state party is supposed to remain neutral and allow Republican voters to determine the party’s nominees.
During the Republican primary for the newly created 13th Congressional District early last year – a primary which featured 17 Republicans vying for the nomination – Hayes injected himself into the race, hosting a fundraiser for his handpicked candidate.
While Hayes’ anti-Conservative record is clearly reason enough to want to see him unseated as NCGOP Chairman, it’s his record in that position that is most pathetic.
As Brant Clifton of The Daily Haymaker pointed out in his piece on the race for Chairman earlier this week, “(Robin) Hayes and (Dallas) Woodhouse had TWO KEY TASKS during the 2016 campaign: (1) Get Pat McCrory reelected, and (2) Get Bob Edmunds reelected to the state Supreme Court. They failed spectacularly on both counts.
“Party insiders admit that the grassroots dynamo powering the Trump campaign in 2016 saved the state party from seeing even worse results,” Clifton said. “Internal polling had been indicating significant losses for the NCGOP from Jones Street to the county courthouses to the various city halls.”
So in comes Lee County GOP Chairman Jim Womack as a legitimate candidate to unseat Robin Hayes as NCGOP Chairman, at a time in which many view Hayes and the Republican establishment in Raleigh as vulnerable.
Womack possesses all of the credentials necessary to make him a viable candidate in such a race, being a West Point graduate, a career U.S. Army officer, and an Information Technology Executive.
As a press release put out by Womack details, he’s also been active in the grassroots Conservative movement here in North Carolina for the better part of a decade, authoring “several resolutions and platform changes seeking to decentralize the power and authority of the GOP’s Central Committee, putting control of the party back into the hands of the Republican base.”
Womack will undoubtedly have the support of many Conservative activists across the state of North Carolina, but will it be enough to upend the powers that be at the NCGOP headquarters in Raleigh?
Only time will tell.