Tea Party advocates in the Upstate say they are feeling “betrayed” by the state Republican Party. The Upstate Coalition of Conservative Organizations on Thursday called a press conference for Friday in Greenville to protest and “correct misinformation” given by South Carolina GOP chairman Karen Floyd on national television regarding an agreement announced Monday between the Greenville County GOP and the Coalition.
Harry Kibler, the Upstate Coalition of Conservative Organization’s appointed spokesman, is the leader of www.rinohunt.net.
(Hear segment of interview with Kibler about his coalition’s issues with the GOP MP3 3:30)Kibler on frustration with state GOP
Kibler says, “Ms. Floyd has gotten on national television and played this thing to make it sound like the GOP and the Tea Party movement have formed a coalition. That is a misrepresentation of what we agreed to.” Kibler says he and his coalition were offended by Floyd’s appearances and “her leading folks to believe the overall impression that we have formed a coalition with the Republican party.”
That and the immediate backlash he says that he got from what he calls the Liberty Party’s vast Internet network of supporters all over the country.” I’ve just been bombarded with folks yesterday evening and into today wanting to know why.” Now Kibler says the relationship with Republicans is up in the air and they have no plans at this time to communicate with Floyd and the state party about their grievances.
Spokesman Joel Sawyer says, “It came as a surprise to us. We’ve been consistent in everything we said, in relationship to this partnership or whatever you want to call it, has been consistent with what we laid out earlier this week in Greenville.”Sawyer stresses that Floyd was invited to speak by national media organizations, not the other way around. SCGOP Chairman Karen Floyd in a press release “lauded the agreement as the model that would be implemented for the state Party’s efforts to build coalitions with conservative groups statewide.”
On Fox News and MSNBC, Floyd attributed local party chairman Patrick Haddon and Kibler with the efforts of getting together to agree on four points: “increasing precinct involvement, improving communications between the Republican Party and all Coalition groups, creating a liaison between the Republican Party and the Coalition groups, and working closely to make the Republican Party more conservative.”
Floyd appeared on MSNBC and Fox, saying that it is in the best interest of her party to work with Tea Party activists, that the party is stronger with their views: “We’re not really blending these organizations, we’re just taking common ground and we’re saying we’re going to move the form aside and focus on the substance.”
Kibler says that statement is too general and that his group will consider support on a candidate-by-candidate and case-by-case basis. He says their belief in liberty applies to rejection of being locked into any affiliation. ” I guess we should thank Karen Floyd for stirring this mess up because we’ve got folks calling all of our groups in this coalition that are absolutely ticked off and angry at the Republican Party trying to gain this influence over the Liberty movement and they are coming out of the woodwork.”
Kibler likens it to a strained relationship between family members: “I feel like we came together and said let’s work on this relationship and then they kicked me right after we agreed to it.”