May 22, 2018
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Why Lee special election was flawed

By Phil Merletti, Special to the BDN

Iam writing in response to the Feb. 17 column by David Farmer, former deputy chief of staff and communications director for Gov. John Baldacci (“Was District 11 hopeful ‘boxed out’ or did he just lose?”).

Mr. Farmer contacted me two weeks into my campaign noting that he thought that a “write-in candidate story” might be interesting to the public and asked if I would be willing to address his questions. Shame on Mr. Farmer. What he wrote did not give justice to the facts that I e-mailed to him to prove my allegations of the violations of federal constitutional law and the violations of GOP rules. These facts also were sent to the secretary of the state, the attorney general, the Maine elections department and to appropriate Republican officials.

Why were none of these allegations noted in his column, yet there were quotations from GOP Chairman Charlie Webster, that were taken as gospel truth? Are empty factual quotes more important than facts?

First of all, the residents of Lee were prevented from voting because of a glitch in papers that were submitted and held by the GOP. Mr. Webster, the secretary of state, and Andre Cushing claimed that Lee residents could not vote because of a law that allows political rules to override the constitutional rights of the people. I protested the arguments three times during the heated debate from the crowd.

The election went on against my protest for the Lee residents. There were also three violations of GOP protocol that took place that day, which made that election invalid anyway.

Now, I will address the quotes from Mr. Webster: I do not make false allegations, I place them in writing and I submitted the proof by certified mail; where is Mr. Webster’s proof? The race is not lost by anyone until March 1, so there is no “sore loser.” I can prove my allegiance to the party, just Google me and you will see my work for the people and the party.

It is peculiar, I was not a fringe candidate when I went to work locally and statewide for Gov. Paul LePage, Mr. Levesque and other Republicans and now that I have filed the allegations, I am on the fringe? If the Republicans at the convention unanimously accepted the Republican platform, then how can my support of the accepted platform be called radical, unless it is in the eye of the beholder.

Reading between the lines, I now think that some do not believe in the new platform that clearly holds all Republicans (including elected officials like Mr. Webster) to honor the state and federal constitutions. The truth will prevail and Mr. Webster should resign now before he does any more harm.

Mr. Webster does, however, agree with me that the rules and laws around the outdated nomination process should be changed, and he said that I had a point. His recognition comes too late; he knew these laws were in existence, why were they not changed ahead of time? My point is clear: There was a violation of the Constitution and the GOP rules, and the Lee caucus election needs to be called null and void before an illegal candidate is voted for, who eventually cannot hold office.

The U.S. Constitution reads in Article IV, Section 2: “The Citizens of each state shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” And Amendment XIV, Section 1: “No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Violation of GOP regulations concerning special elections. All five potential candidates were not nominated or seconded as required by GOP rules.

Phil Merletti, who lives in Lee, is a spokesman for Take America Back and its local chapter, Take Maine Back.

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