Attorney Harmeet Dhillon was the Republican Party’s grassroots effort last-ditch effort to hold someone accountable for the 2022 midterm calamity. Given the abysmal economic climate, the GOP fell abysmally short in a cycle that should generate a political red tsunami. And yet, every clown on the Hill who oversaw this fiasco got re-elected to their congressional leadership positions. The race for the Republican National Committee chair seemed to be the last redoubt where the establishment could be toppled, even if the effort would be largely symbolic. Something had to change, and with current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel overseeing three consecutive election defeats—she had to go.
McDaniel sought a fourth two-year term when Dhillon got into the race but already had the support to win again. Dhillon’s team thought the support was soft, which turned out to be grossly off the mark. She got boat raced in the first and final tally, as McDaniel clinched more than a majority of the votes. So, while the national party decided to re-elect all their losers, one state decided to boot their chair. In Maine, members there decided to give their state party chair the boot (via Bangor Daily News):
Former Maine Assistant House Minority Leader Joel Stetkis ousted Maine Republican Party Chair Demi Kouzounas on Saturday after a bad 2022 election for the party.
Joe Stetkis on Saturday ousted Maine Republican Party Chair Demi Kouzounas. That follows a bad election year for the party. Stetkis, who lives in Canaan, beat Kouzounas, a Saco dentist, with 57 votes out of 83 members of the Republican state committee in a closed-door election at Le Club Calumet in Augusta.
The upset came after former Gov. Paul LePage was routed by Gov. Janet Mills in the 2022 election, with the party receding in areas, including the Portland suburbs, that were once crucial to their success. He helped Kouzounas hold her seat after Mills and her fellow Democrats swept Augusta in the 2018 election and made calls to Republicans to support her this time.
Kouzounas and the party staff defended their performance in November by saying the losses at the top of the ticket were “influenced by events beyond the control of a state political party,” which was an implicit reference to issues, including abortion rights, that Democrats emphasized.
I get it: it’s Maine. This election result isn’t a national shock to the system. Still, at least at the local level, Republicans are tossing their weak sauce leadership who presided over lackluster election results.