The Election

On January 17, 2013, the night of the election of officers and of the replacement for Probate Judge Allan Woodcock, the meeting room was swamped with close to 100 people.

There was, as usual, no roll call taken by the Secretary, so there are no official numbers, but a quick head count showed there to be about that.

The evening of the election, State Committeeman, Bryan Daugherty, and State Committeewoman, Julie Morgan, set up at a table at the door in order to try to ensure that only legal voting members were allowed to vote. They checked off names and handed out ballots, but due to the inability to appeal the vote of the December meeting as to who could vote, they were forced to hand ballots to those who were elected or ex-officio members without regard for whether they had maintained their voting member status.

This was the beginning of the malfeasance and unscrupulousness which would become a constant in the County and State Committees.

In the words of Roger Ek, long-time Republican activist, "I've been involved in Maine Republican politics for almost a half a century, and I didn't recognize most of those people."

Throughout the pre-election meeting, which consisted of a buffet dinner and a speech by the Maine State Republican Chair, Richard M. "Rich" Cebra, the former Maine State Minority Whip, Andre Cushing, stood outside the double doors in the hallway, making phone calls and sending text messages to people as a result of head-counting. He stood there for more than two hours, being overheard and watched by numerous legal voting members as he asked people to please come vote at the election.

He, in fact, had told many people to come to Jeff's Catering, pay their dues, and vote. Several, including the County Sheriff, were pretty unhappy about the fact that while the State Committeewoman was watching the door, they were told that they could not vote if they were not on the list.

Although Rich Cebra had been begged to remain for the election, in the hopes that his presence would keep things legal, he declined. Repeatedly. The details of the conversations with him, and a screenshot of one, are at our "Attempts at Prevention" page. 

Rich ate dinner and gave a speech, ironically about "party unity," and then strode purposely and quickly for the exit, just as the election was about to commence.

At some point, a woman walked up to the table where Julie was standing, and she said she was from Dixmont, and that she wanted to be a proxy for the Dixmont Town Chairman Scott Fish. 

Despite the fact that the bylaws are quite specific about the fact that proxies must be in writing, she wanted to have his proxy conveyed to her over the phone.

Oh, and there was the additional fact that the Dixmont Town Chair had neither paid his dues nor attended a meeting in the past six months, so was not a voting member.

Julie told her that she could not do that, but the treasurer, got on the telephone with Scott Fish, who was apparently not aware that he had lost his voting member status. After a moment's discussion, according to Julie, Treasurer Harrison Clark said over the phone, "I will vouch for you," and hung up the phone. As far as anyone can tell, he never wrote down the woman's name.

At that point, under a great deal of stress and frustration, Julie sat down, realizing that she was wholly unable to try to keep order at the door or ensure that only legal voting members were given ballots.

Later, when I spoke to Scott Fish on the phone, he indicated that he had sent the decreed County Chair Deb Plowman an email with the details of the call. Despite the fact that she had promised to share with me any information Scott sent her, Deb Plowman never revealed to me that she had heard from him and has ignored entirely all of my requests for a copy of his email to her.

Here is what Scott Fish, former Chair of the Dixmont Republican Committee, told me of that night.

He was at home with no clue that there was an election that night. The call from the meeting came through, and a woman told Scott her name, but it did not ring a bell with Scott. She indicated that she had "been to one Dixmont GOP meeting," and asked him to give her his proxy so that she could "nominate a judge" to replace Judge Woodcock.

Scott, remembering a couple who had come to a meeting a while back, assumed that it was the woman in that couple, as it was the only woman he could ever remember coming to a Dixmont meeting, and he never did get that woman's name.

In any event, the phone was handed to Harrison Clark, and Scott says he asked Harrison what the procedure was to assign a proxy. He said he specifically asked the treasurer if he had his laptop with him so that Scott could email the proxy to him.

Harrison told him that would not be necessary, that he would vouch for Scott.

To this date, the name of the woman who got a worthless proxy -- because it was not in writing -- from a man who was not a voting member of the Penobscot County GOP Committee has not been discovered. If the Treasurer who illegally took the proxy wrote it down, it somehow got lost.

Pertinent Links:

Details of the requests for Chairman Rich Cebra to remain due to concerns about corruption about to take place, including the screenshot of his chat with State Committeeman Bryan Daugherty

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