Mrs. Ridgeway and Ambrose had presided over competing county conventions of the party April 21 in Gilmer, leaving the state convention’s Credentials Committee to decide which delegation to recommend for approval.
The State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) accepted the Credentials Committee’s recommendation to seat the Ridgeway delegation, she said.
During an about 2-hour hearing, “they (Credentials Committee members) determined that our (county) convention was the legitimate convention and his was not because it was improperly called,” said Mrs. Ridgeway.
Several members of the Upshur County GOP Executive Committee recognize her as the local party’s vice chairman, though Ambrose had continually insisted she is not.
Molly Cummings, a member of the Upshur County GOP, represented Ambrose, who didn’t attend the hearing, Mrs. Ridgeway added.
Mrs. Ridgeway and Chuck Mears—who was also included in the delegation that was seated—are in a July 31 runoff for county chairman, having finished ahead of Ambrose, causing him to lose his bid for reelection in the May 29 primary.
Other members of the Upshur delegation who served one or more days as delegates during the 3-day convention Thursday-Saturday, said Mrs. Ridgeway, included Brenda Patterson, Pct. 1 County Comm. James Crittenden, Madaline Barber, Blanton Dawson, Jackie Oliver, Ken Patterson, John Melvin Dodd, Richard Ridgeway, Jesse Loffer, Michael (Mickey) Denton, Porter Click, Richard Lloyd, Sandra Click, Leslie Cathcart, and one alternate who became a delegate, Carrie Fulsom.
Mrs. Ridgeway said the “astounding part” of the delegation controversy occurred as the Credentials Committee was voting to approve her group. With it “already clear that the majority is on our side. . . there was a huge clap of thunder that literally shook the building.”
She said she gasped and said “Hallelujah!’ And everybody was just dying laughing.”
“I said, ‘That’s our Lord. . . He gave us favor, and all the credit is to Him.’”
Ambrose had predicted his delegation would be seated. He said Wednesday he talked to an attorney who attended the Credentials Committee hearing, and who told Ambrose that “procedurally,” the committee’s decision “seemed to be correct, but morally, he (the attorney) said, it was reprehensible.”
Mrs. Ridgeway said that a member of an “organized Ron Paul campaign that is attempting to infiltrate the Texas Republican Party” attempted on the convention floor to have the Credentials Committee and SREC overruled by seating two members of Ambrose’s delegation, Avon Bateman and Doug Fennell. However, that motion was ruled out of order, she said.
For about a year and a half, Mrs. Ridgeway and Ambrose have presided over separate quarterly meetings of the Upshur GOP Executive Committee, with each refusing to recognize the other’s meetings as legitimate because of a disagreement on who is supposed to call them. Ambrose said that was his job, but his foes maintained Madaline Barber was supposed to in her capacity as committee secretary.
Although most of the SREC recognized Mrs. Barber as the secretary, Ambrose refused to, saying it was Denice McDonald.
Mrs. Ridgeway said the Credentials Committee finally settled an argument between the Upshur GOP’s warring segments over whether the party legitimately adopted bylaws at a raucous June 5, 2010, organizational meeting held shortly after Ambrose’s election as chairman.
“Mr. Ambrose claimed that we had illegitimately adopted bylaws during a recess,” Mrs. Ridgeway said. But at last week’s hearing, the committee members looked up portions of Robert’s Rules of Order related to the controversy, determined the recess wasn’t properly called, and upheld the bylaws as properly adopted, she said.
The committee’s action verified Mrs. Barber’s election as county secretary, Mrs. Ridgeway said, and the committee found that meetings called by Ambrose “were not proper because of what was contained in the bylaws.
“He has blended the 2008 (Upshur GOP) bylaws that expired the day he took office with the bylaws that were adopted in that June 5 organizational meeting when he left the room, and he keeps saying those (2008) bylaws were improperly amended. They were not amended”—instead, new ones were adopted, Mrs. Ridgeway told The Mirror.
“Thank the Lord somebody finally set the record straight. . . ,” she said.
Mrs. Ridgeway, who was making her debut as a state GOP convention delegate, said she missed the part of the gathering where Gov. Rick Perry was booed for expressing support for U.S. Senate candidate David Dewhurst. She said her group was still obtaining its credentials then for the conclave at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
But she said the convention speech by Dewhurst’s opponent in the July 31 runoff, Ted Cruz, was “absolutely invigorating. I mean, you could feel the electricity in the crowd. It was very evident that. . . (the delegates were) supporting Ted Cruz.”
Cruz’s address “was so patriotic and really uplifting and made you restore your faith. . . that there are still people who can go to Washington without being sucked into the elite cronyism.”
Mrs. Ridgeway said she and some other members of the Upshur delegation did not attend Dewhurst’s speech to the convention. “After that Ted Cruz speech, nothing could compare,” she said.
She also expressed delight at having run into former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a former candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination. He was there to speak at a gala dinner, which Ridgeway said she did not attend because it cost $200 a plate.
In an e-mail, Mrs. Ridgeway’s opponent for county chairman, Mears, said “There were three major factions doing battle to influence the party’s direction and platform. One was the TEA Party conservatives, the other was the moderate establishment, and last but not least were the liberal Libertarians who did their best to inject Ron Paulism into the affairs of the party.”