Chairman, Vice Chairwoman of Maine Republican Party Resign

By Long, Robert | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), July 3, 2013 | Go to article overview

Chairman, Vice Chairwoman of Maine Republican Party Resign


Long, Robert, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


AUGUSTA, Maine -- Maine Republican Party Chairman Rich Cebra and Vice Chairwoman Beth O'Connor have resigned, a little more than seven months after being elected to the party's top two leadership positions.

Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Cebra resigned "for personal reasons" within the past 24 hours. O'Connor submitted her resignation letter about a week ago, Savage said.

"The day-to-day party operations will continue while the state committee works to elect a new chairman," Savage said by phone Wednesday.

Party leaders plan to release details about the process for replacing Cebra and O'Connor later this week or early next week, according to Savage. The party chairman must be elected by the Republican State Committee, he said.

Soon after Cebra took over, Republicans affiliated with the party's libertarian wing began expressing dissatisfaction with him. While they shared his conservative values, they questioned his leadership.

"Cebra has been a big disappointment," Vic Berardelli, a Republican state committee member from Penobscot County and chairman of the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus, said by phone Wednesday. "I stuck my neck out and lost some good friendships in my efforts to get Rich Cebra elected as Maine Republican Party chairman. He did not have the management and fundraising ability or people skills to bring factions together."

Berardelli said Cebra stopped returning phone calls more than a month ago and that he was not forthright with state committee members about the party's operating budget. That caused dissatisfaction among an increasing number of committee members, according to Berardelli.

An email Wednesday about Cebra's resignation from Maine Republican Party Secretary Charles Mahaleris represented "the first I've heard in more than a month" from or about Cebra, Berardelli said.

In a resignation letter dated June 28, O'Connor wrote that she was disappointed by Republican legislators' failure to support Gov. Paul LePage's veto of the Legislature's biennial budget compromise.

"After Wednesday's performance of our Republican Caucus in Augusta on LD 1509, The Budget, I am certain I cannot refrain from violating 'Reagan's rules' in other words, not say anything bad about a fellow Republican," O'Connor wrote. "In fact, I am sure I already have."

O'Connor said she would focus her political energies as chairwoman of Maine Taxpayers United.

One of Cebra's last acts as Maine Republican Party chairman was to announce a July 13 fundraiser at the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine headquarters in Augusta "to celebrate Republican success in protecting the privacy of Maine concealed carry permit holders. …

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