by Rob Roper
Reince Priebus, the new Chairman of the National RepublicanCommittee, is busy packing a bag for the Green Mountain State after accepting an invitation to speak at the
Vermont Republican Party’s annual Spring Dinner, which will take place on April 13. Priebus’ pending appearance prompted a sharp response from Vermont’s powerful labor unions, the Vermont State Employees Association and the Vermont AFL-CIO, calling for the VTGOP to rescind the invitation.
What’s the big deal? National chairmen have spoken at VTGOP events in the past, including the last two, Mike Duncan and Michael Steele (although Steele had not been elected chair at the time he spoke at the VTGOP Spring Dinner). The answer: before he won election to chair the National Republican Committee, Reince Priebus was Chairman of the WISCONSIN Republican committee, a state that has recently been in the news.
Under Priebus leadership, Wisconsin voters replaced a Democrat governor with Scott Walker and defeated incumbent liberal icon Russ Feingold for the U.S. Senate. Before Preibus was elected Wisconsin Republican Chair, Democrats controlled the state senate 18 -15, now Republicans control that body 19-14. Democrats held a 52-47 majority in the House. Now Republicans hold a majority of 57- 42. Priebus also helped to flip the Federal House delegation from a 5-3 Democrat majority to a 5-3 Republican majority.
So, it’s easy to see why left leaning special interest groups in Vermont wouldn’t want that kind of influence and information getting out and about in another currently left leaning state famous for good cheese (not to mention maple syrup).
In response to the unions’ letter, VTGOP Chair Pat McDonald responded, “Chairman Priebus is coming to Vermont to talk about his vision and his operational approach for the Party which is similar to the short- and long-term plan that I have put forth for the Vermont GOP to include unity, operations, finance, technology and redistricting.”
McDonald has no intention of recinding the invitation.