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Archive for Sunday, August 16, 1992

LEADERSHIP TO STAY, FOR NOW, IN LOCAL GOP

August 16, 1992

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The head of Douglas County's Republican Committee can enjoy this week's Republican National Convention after avoiding dismissal at the hands of newly elected GOP precinct members.

"There were enough new people elected that they could have done it, if that had been their intention," said Chris Miller, chair of the county's GOP organization.

He left Saturday for the convention in Houston, where a fellow Republican, President Bush, will try to convince the nation that he should keep his job another four years.

Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton will have much to say about Bush's future employment. But for Miller, it was pro-life abortion forces that posed a threat.

IN DOUGLAS County, a slew of pro-life supporters won election in this month's primary to the usually unheralded positions of precinct committeemen and committeewomen.

Enough were elected, Miller said, to immediately remove him as chairman.

John Watkins, a local Republican precinct committeeman who has been active in Lawrence Kansans for Life, promised that pro-life members wouldn't attempt to take over the local party at a meeting last week in Lawrence.

At that meeting, the first opportunity to flex their collective muscle, pro-life committee members allowed Miller and the rest of the existing GOP leadership to remain in place.

Precinct members had two options: Elect new officers now or wait until after the November general elections to reorganize. Members chose the latter.

"That means I'll stay on until about two weeks after the November election," Miller said.

MILLER ESCAPED the fate that cost at least one other Republican Party official her job.

Dot Meyer, chairwoman of the Sedgwick County Republican Party, resigned Thursday after two weeks of infighting among party members over the abortion issue.

Meyer asked that Sedgwick County members reorganize, saying it was impossible for her to do the job with the possibility of being ousted in November.

"I cannot stay in a postion in which I am unable to function effectively," she said.

At the Douglas County meeting, committee members also passed a resolution in support of the GOP's platform, which contains a controversial endorsement of a ban on abortion.

Members also endorsed a measure to establish a college scholarship honoring Bernice Todd of Lawrence. She is a party activist and wife of Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ron Todd.

DETAILS OF THE scholarship haven't been worked out, Miller said. However, the committee agreed to award it to a high school student based on an essay contest in which participants would write about the values of the Republican Party.

The GOP National Convention opens Monday. Pete McGill, co-chair of the George Bush's re-election campaign in Kansas, and state GOP Chairman Kim Wells of Lawrence are leading a 30-member Kansas delegation to the convention.

Wells and Mike Todd, son of Ron Todd, are the two GOP delegates from Lawrence.

Sheila Martinez of Lawrence is an alternate at the convention. Her responsibility will be to fill in for Republican National Committee member Jack Ranson of Wichita when other party duties require him to be away from the convention floor.

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