Ambrose and several other county GOP officials were sworn in by County Judge Dean Fowler on the south steps of the Upshur County Courthouse Saturday morning. When those being sworn in arrived for the ceremony from the first part of the meeting--which was held across the street at The Furniture Store--some indicated the gathering had been tumultuous.
"We're going to swear in everybody that supports the Republican Party and the new chairman...(then) go back and deal with the angry mob afterwards," Ambrose was heard saying before Fowler administered the oath. (Other than the ceremony, the judge did not attend the meeting, which wasn't open to the general public or press except for the swearing-in. Ambrose said the meeting continued after the ceremony).
Saturday afternoon, Pct. 5 Chairwoman Madaline Barber emailed a news release to a representative of The Mirror announcing that she and eight other precinct chairmen "have forwarded our request for invalidation of this Organizational Meeting to Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin."
The two-paragraph press release said "The majority of the Upshur County Republican Party Executive Committee wishes to express its grave disappointment in the lack of professional behavior by Mr. Ken Ambrose during the party's called Organizational Meeting..."
The statement added, "Our position is due to Mr. Ambrose's lack of adherence to RPT (Republican Party of Texas) rules and parliamentary procedure as prescribed by Robert's Rules of Order. We are deeply saddened by his refusal to acknowledge the statutory rights of nine duly elected Precinct Chairs, who represent the voters of Upshur County.
"Mr. Ambrose's divisive conduct exploited the rights and responsibilities the RPT reserves for elected precinct chairs."
In reply, Ambrose sent this statement to The Mirror's representative by facsimile machine Tuesday morning.
"I have promised the Republican voters of Upshur County that I would, when elected, clean up the mess that the party has become over the past five years under the failed leadership of my predecessor (Brenda Patterson) and I fully intend to do exactly that. Of course, in the short term, it won't be pretty, but the good news is that we have a lot of people stepping forward to help."
Ambrose ousted Mrs. Patterson by only 25 votes out of 1,945 cast in an April 13 runoff election for the chairmanship. Some of her supporters had taken out paid advertising criticizing his business and financial affairs, and the election was not settled until a controversial recount was completed May 4.
Mrs. Patterson was seen walking downtown near the meeting site, apparently talking on a cell phone, around the time of the swearing-in.
One of the nine precinct chairs seeking to overturn Saturday's meeting is her husband, Ken Patterson. Besides Mrs. Barber, the others whose names were listed in the email to The Mirror were Cynthia Ridgeway, Troy (Cotton) Jones, Blanton Dawson, Jed Hefner, Joe Dodd, Matt Byrd and Bill Stenger.