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Scott Babbidge for Mecklenburg GOP Chairman

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[Editor's Note - PunditHouse asked both of the candidates for Mecklenburg County GOP Chairman to submit an outline of their candidacy as a way to introduce themselves to our readers.  We are publishing them simaltaneously, in alphabetical order.  They each welcome your comments and questions.]

As we approach the 2011 Mecklenburg County Convention and think about who the right person is to lead our party into the future, the answer to the question “Who should I vote for?” is a simple and important one for you to make.

I believe the choice is simple because the choice is between maintaining the status quo OR pushing ahead with a major reform effort.

If you think that the status quo is the right path, then you should not vote for me.

However, if you think that we need to reform the Mecklenburg County Republican Party, than I believe I am the right person for the job.

So, what is the status quo? 

According to 2010 data for Mecklenburg County: Of the roughly 600,000 registered voters, 270,180 are Democrats (45%), 181,903 Republican (30%), 149,490 (25%) unaffiliated. By race, 385,149 are White (64%), 176,607 Black (29%). Hispanics were not specifically designated. By gender, 267,447 were men (44%) and 326,801 women (56%).

Over the past decade, Republicans have lost ground and lost elections in Mecklenburg County as a result of losing the voting done by Blacks, Women, Independents and Blue Dog Democrats.  While the numbers were not readily available, Hispanics have been moving into the county in large numbers, and they also consistently vote Democrat in every other part of the country.

While much work has been done, and done successfully relative to getting more Republicans out to vote, and specifically as it relates to early voting, these efforts have still resulted in Mecklenburg County being a major stronghold for the Democrat Party.

So, the status quo is the belief that we can use the same game plan we have been using, but expecting different results to come from those efforts. 

Through the course of this piece, I will repeatedly talk about what I call the 3 R’s of Reform and the 5 Principles of Republicanism.  I apologize in advance that this article is long, but this is an important election and I am taking it, and getting my message to you, very seriously.

First, let’s explore the 3 R’s of Reform

Re-focus – We must re-focus the efforts and approach of the MECK GOP.  The concept of spending our time, effort, and energy entirely on “GOTV – Get Out The Vote” and early voting is not good enough.  We must ALSO focus on growing the number of registered Republicans in Mecklenburg County.  We must also focus on taking on the Democrats, head on, aggressively, and proactively to bring the truth about the damage their policies have and are doing to our county.  We have spent a lot of money on delivering Republican Voter Cards to Republicans that have voted in 4 out of the last 4 elections.  I think we can feel confident that folks who have voted in 4 of the last 4 elections will come out and vote in the next election.  I don’t propose ignoring those voters, but I believe strongly that we could drive more votes for Republican candidates by adding a major focus towards Independents, Conservative Democrats, and those who do not vote in every election.

Re-package – We have an image problem in Mecklenburg County as it relates to Republicans and the Republican Party. So, it is time to take a step back and re-package our message and our approach.  This will result in the MECK GOP standing proudly and vocally on our core principles and ideals.  We have got to work hard to convince people that our party is not a bunch of privileged elitists that don’t care about making our party the party of inclusion.  As I talk to people all around the county, a common theme I hear is that the party is an exclusive club and if you are not part of the club you are not welcome.  That is not entirely true as I have learned firsthand, but perception is reality and where there is smoke, there is fire.  So, we have a lot of work to do to earn back the trust of tens of thousands of residents of Mecklenburg County who believe in the 5 Principles of Republicanism but who perceive that the MECK GOP does not want them to join the party.

Re-brand – While we have a perception problem in the community, we also have a branding problem in the community.  We must work diligently to repair and re-build the Republican brand.  We do that by returning to our core governing ideals, the 5 Principles of Republicanism.  We also do that more in what we do than in what we say.  We must get out in the community and PROVE to people that our ways are the right ways for the county and city.  We must return to community service, and under my leadership we will create and participate in community service projects that take us out into the community in ways that show our compassion and our faith in the promise of every human being.  We must also hold our own elected officials accountable and take them to task if they vote in opposition to The 5 Principles of Republicanism.

I am putting together a team of highly talented and motivated people from all aspects of the Republican Party to join me on this journey to return our county and city governing bodies to the control of the Republican Party.  We are terribly behind in this race, and we cannot afford even two more years of the status quo.  The time for real, meaningful and focused reform is upon us.  And while I am seeking out people to join the team, I also want you, if you have the desire, to contact me directly so that we can meet one on one and talk about how you can help and become part of the MECK GOP reform movement.  You can contact me at scott.babbidge@gmail.com

Now, let me discuss The 5 Principles of Republicanism and how I came to believe in them as the key to party growth and victory for the people.

During the summer of 2008, after becoming disgusted that the best our party could do was to nominate Senator John McCain as our side’s choice to run for President, my good friend Bob Bowles and I had many conversations and I subsequently founded a grass roots organization called “Take Back The Republican Party”. (TBTRP)  We officially launched TBTRP on April 15, 2009 and quickly grew to over 3500 members.

The foundation of TBTRP was what I call the 5 Principles of Republicanism.  My unwavering belief in these 5 governing principles is the basis for everything that I and my team will use to drive reform through the MECK GOP.  Here’s an explanation of the 5 Principles of Republicanism:

1.        Low Taxes – Today, taxes are simply too high.  Individuals and businesses pay too much of what they earn to the government.  Our high tax rates continue to inhibit economic growth and are indicative of government that operates too often and too expensively outside of its role and responsibility.  Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have the highest taxes in the 9 southern states.  This is completely unacceptable.

2.        Limited Government – Simply put, government is too big and too intrusive in our lives.  As Republicans, we believe that the role and responsibilities of government are limited.  A perfect example of this is the fact that while the population of Charlotte increased 60% from 1995 – 2009, the City Budget increased by a whopping 150%.  This is completely unacceptable and we intend to get this fixed.

3.        Promote Free Enterprise – We hold that the private sector is the ONLY segment of our society that creates real jobs and real wealth for Americans.  The private sector, operating under free enterprise principles is the ONLY way that our country creates the opportunity that give Americans a pathway to prosperity.  Anything that inhibits free enterprise is unacceptable.

4.        Individual Liberty and Personal Freedom – Since the American Revolution, generations of Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice to promote, preserve, protect and defend the things that we hold as most sacred – freedom and liberty.  We must stop taking these things for granted and return liberty and freedom to the forefront of our message.

5.        Constitutional Ideals and Values – The Constitution lays out for us in amazing detail the ideals and values upon which this country, the greatest country in the history of humankind, was built.  We are against any and every thing that is not in accordance with the United States Constitution. 

Further, we hold that EVERY elected Republican must start voting in accordance with the 5 Principles of Republicanism on every issue and without condition.

So, how do we know what the right way to vote is….it is simple, by applying the 5 Principles of Republicanism!!  To do so, we must ask of EVERY issue:

1.        Does it reduce taxes?

2.        Does it reduce the size and scope of government?

3.        Does it promote and encourage free enterprise?

4.        Does it promote and uphold our individual liberty and personal freedom?

5.        Is it in line with the ideals and values established by the Constitution?

Simply put, if the issue in question results in a YES answer to ALL 5 questions, then our elected officials are to vote YES.  If ANY of the questions returns a NO answer, then our elected officials vote is to be a NO vote.

It is time to return the 5 Principles of Republicanism into the Republican Party.  And, it is time for us to proudly, confidently and humbly take these principles out to the people of Mecklenburg County and promise to them that we will operate our party by these principles and that we will hold our candidates and elected officials to living these principles without condition.

Party Growth – The Grass Roots Way

As mentioned previously, we are in serious trouble in Mecklenburg County.  As a result of not holding true to the 5 Principles of Republicanism, the Republican Party in Mecklenburg County is 90,000 registered voters behind the Democrats.  This is absolutely unacceptable!  And frankly, I am tired of hearing that our “only hope is to get out the Republican vote”.  And that “they” are not going to vote for us, so why bother?  That’s hogwash, to be blunt.

Blacks, Independents, Women  and Conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats WILL vote for us, but we have to change the way we operate in this county.  The change I am talking about is actually quite simple.  We have to start acting like Republicans again!  The days of giving our elected leaders a pass because they say they are Republican while their track record is anything but Republican are over. 

However, even more than walking the walk, we must make a concerted effort to actively recruit people to join the Republican Party and we must work cooperatively with the many different Republican clubs/groups that are active in our community.  That is why, when I am elected Chairman of the MECK GOP, we will form a special “Grass Roots Advisory Panel” made up of members of the various Republican organizations around the County.  Each of these groups will have 1 member of their organization on this advisory panel – this will give each group a say in how we grow the party going forward.  Additionally, the MECK GOP will act as facilitator and will work cooperatively with the leadership of each grass roots organization to lay out individual plans to help each grass roots group to grow their membership.  Under my leadership, we will also work to co-produce and co-promote fund raising events throughout the year with each of the grass roots organizations.

Here’s a partial list of the grass roots organizations in Mecklenburg County:

1.        CAUTION

2.        Campaign for Liberty

3.        Frederick Douglass Foundation

4.        Mecklenburg Young Republicans

5.        North Mecklenburg Republican Women

6.        Southern Mecklenburg Republican Club

7.        Charlotte Mecklenburg Republican Women’s Club

8.        Mecklenburg Evening Republican Women’s Club

9.        Davidson College Republicans

10.     TEA Party

Working cooperatively with these active groups, while also working to help establish and grow other groups like Young Americans for Liberty as well as getting Republican clubs active and growing at UNCC and at area high schools we will continue to grow the numbers of Republicans and close the 90,000 voter gap that plagues us today.

We are WAY behind the Democrats in this county.  We have already wasted too many years ignoring the growth of our party, and we have hurt our own cause by supporting and making excuses for those who say they are Republican (i.e. those who talk the talk) but do not  act like they are Republicans (i.e. ensuring they walk the walk).

Voters all across the country have sent the message….it is well overdue for the MECK GOP to listen and return our party to the principles upon which it was founded. (The 5 Principles of Republicanism) 

Fundraising, Fundraising, Fundraising 

Much is made, and rightly so, about the importance of fundraising as part of the job description of the party chairman.  

Let me make one important item very clear – People will not give to the party when they do not have faith that the party’s leadership is out front and leading the party in ways that are in line with true Republican principles and ideals.  Given that we are down by 90,000 registered voters and given that people who are fiscally conservative have left the party in droves (140,000 Independents in Mecklenburg County), it is quite clear that the path we have been on has alienated a lot of people and those people are definitely not going to contribute money to the party.  Additionally, and I have had dozens upon dozens of conversations on this very topic with people who do not give to the party, there are a lot of disenfranchised Republicans who have kept their party registration, yet do not and will not give to the party until the party returns to a methodology that is founded on our actual governing principles (The 5 Principles of Republicanism). 

So, first and foremost, returning Republican Principles into the party with a strong and vocal chairman who will work to restore the faith lost will increase the not only the number of registered Republicans, but it will also result in an uptick in party fundraising efforts.  We MUST NOT overlook this VERY important aspect of why people do….and more importantly do not…give to the MECK GOP.

Second, we will work proactively and in cooperation with EVERY grass roots organization around the county to put on a regular schedule of co-sponsored, co-branded, co-marketed events that will add not only to the MECK GOP coffers, but will also help the individual grass roots organizations to raise money which will help them in reaching out to and recruiting people into their groups, and as a result, into the Republican Party.

Next, we will undertake a proactive and aggressive campaign to reach out to every registered Republican, in a one on one manner, to directly solicit their feedback and to directly ask them, in whatever way then can, to support our return to The 5 Principles of Republicanism as the guiding philosophy by which we build and run the party organization.  This will be a daunting and time consuming task and we will need many people to jump in and contribute some time toward this important effort.  At the same time, fundraising is not the ultimate end all and be all of the party.  Given current economic conditions, there are people who want to help and get involved who are not able to afford a monthly contribution.  We WILL, however, ask those people if they can afford even a $5 per month draft from their checking account.  If even that is not attainable, then we will ask for those folks to donate time to our efforts.  We still have much work to do to completely build our out precinct organization and  while there are people who are not able to contribute money, getting a time and effort contribution is also an important piece of the fundraising effort not to be overlooked.

Finally, as it relates to major fundraising events, it is not reasonable to expect one person to do it all.  So, our first action item as it relates to fundraising will be to build a TEAM who we will task with reaching out to county business and civic leaders, as well as elected leaders, to build a calendar of events that will have the following:

1.        Quarterly National Headliner Events – These are events that will bring to Charlotte the major national figures that people want to see.  This group will include 2012 presidential hopefuls as well as targeted dignitaries and entertainers who uphold and believe in true Republican principles and will result in high energy and high levels of excitement among those who are registered Republicans.  Further, while these events will certainly raise large chunks of money from large donors, we will always stagger the way we price these events so that these events are able to be attended by a wider range of those who believe in the 5 Principles of Republicanism.  By including a wide range of attendees we have a better chance of using these headliner events to drive wider ranging excitement among our base….and people who are excited are more inclined to spread the word among their friends and give more time to our efforts.  Again, fundraising needs to be thought of in terms that extend beyond just dollars and cents.

2.        Monthly State and Regional Events – In the months not holding a National Headliner Event, we will hold events that attract regional, state and local leaders.  It is very important to allow Republicans to hear from and have audience with leaders who are working to improve things closer to home.

3.        Special Events – The Fundraising Committee, which will have a minimum of 5 people (but if more want to be involved we will open that TEAM up to as many as want to be part of that TEAM).  Examples of these Special Events are things like golf tournaments and I have confidence that we will attract creative and energetic people to come up with 4 – 6 of these events per year that are fun and different and will generate excitement. 

Reaching out to every Republican in the county is going to be a massive undertaking.  But if we expect people to give us money, we’ve got to do more than just have our hand out.  We have to talk to people, solicit their input, and prove to them in what we say and most importantly in WHAT WE DO, that we are returning our party to WE THE PEOPLE.  We have to provide our donors with a return on their investment.  We MUST be transparent and let our donors know exactly how we are spending the money they are entrusting to us.  And, we MUST generate results.  What are the results we need to deliver?  Simply, we MUST grow the numbers of registered Republicans in Mecklenburg County and most importantly, we have to win elections with candidates who will govern in accordance with the 5 Principles of Republicanism.  Fundraising is vital, especially when thought of in the greater context of how we use the money and how we proactively and aggressively go out and take our message to the people.

In conclusion, I thank you for caring enough to take the time to read this entire article.  Whether you vote for me or not, you now know where I stand, what drives my political philosophy and how I believe we can rescue our city and our county from, quite frankly, the reign of destruction being cast upon us by the Democrat Party.  As Ronald Reagan said, “Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”  Now is our time.  I ask you to join me and thank you for your consideration.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions, or if you would like to get involved with our team and become a part of our reform movement.  My e-mail is scott.babbidge@gmail.com and my campaign website is www.scottbabbidge.com

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