The newly elected chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party told his board members Monday not to speak to the media or schedule speaking engagements without talking to him or a paid staffer first – ruffling some feathers in the process.
Chairman Ira Sabin characterized the admonition as a request, but many on his board took it as a demand.
Several sources told BizPac Review that Sabin’s comments seemed primarily aimed at board Vice Chairman Michael Barnett, an outspoken conservative elected without opposition in December. Sabin, by contrast, won the chairman post by only two votes.
Barnett is one of the lawyers litigating the True the Vote lawsuit against St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker over the irregularities in Allen West’s loss to Patrick Murphy, and that’s one of the banned topics.
“We have to have one message,” Sabin told me. “I don’t want side issues brought up.”
The county party’s vice chairman, treasurer and secretary are elected by local Republican Executive Committee members, and while it is customary to follow the chairman’s lead, there is no rule binding them to his orders. The two state committee members on the board, Cindy Tindell and Peter Feaman, were elected by Republicans in a countywide contest and do not answer to the local chairman at all.
Sabin told me he doesn’t want his board members to publicly discuss “voter fraud, birtherism, the St. Lucie County voter fraud suit” or any other “oddball issues” he deems off message.
Strangely enough, one of Sabin’s own unelected appointees to the board of directors is vocal birther Bonnie Re of Boca Raton, but Sabin has taken care of her, he said.
“Bonnie’s been told not to talk about it anymore, and if she does, she and I will have a problem,” Sabin said.