Some grumbles about D.C. GOP chair’s dual role


Kabel is about to wrap up an eight-year run as local party chairman. (Faegre Baker Daniels)

The smaller-but-usually-better-organized D.C. Republican Committee is facing a spot of dissension in its ranks, over the current party chairman Bob Kabel’s new party leadership role.

Kabel, party chair since 2004, also became the District’s national Republican committeeman on Sept. 1, thus entitling him to a pair of votes on the Republican National Committee.

This, said party member Jim DeMartino in an e-mail to DCRC members today, is unfair and unwise.

“This would seem to be a tactic tolerated in the Democrat Party but we cannot support this tactic as Republicans,” he wrote. “We must stand for good ethical government and set the example in local politics.”

Kabel said in an e-mail that DeMartino, a candidate in 2010 for the Ward 6 D.C. Council seat, “is entitled to his own personal opinions” but he’ll be staying on as party chairman until his term ends in January, thank you very much.

“My focus is to work with our members to elect Mary Brooks Beatty, Ron Moten and Nelson Rimensnyder to office and continue to grow the party,” he said, referring to the party’s nominees for at-large D.C. Council member, Wad 7 council member and shadow representative, respectively. “The election is 60 days away, we need to remain focused on what’s at stake for our city.”

DeMartino said his e-mail has garnered a mixed response from party members, some of whom question why he was making a stink. But he said he needed to speak out.

“To me it’s not good political behavior,” he said. “If we have, to me, what are unethical practices in our party, how we can we expect us to be considered any different from the D.C. Democrats who have a lot of ethical questions in their practices.”

Kabel said it’s unlikely that the RNC will actually conduct any business requiring a vote before he steps down as party chair in April.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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