EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Vanderburgh County GOP Chair Wayne Parke tells 14 News he made a request to Alex Schmitt to drop out of the race for City Council At-Large.
Parke tells us he wanted to call a Republican caucus to replace Schmitt on the ballot.
He confirms Schmitt has denied that request.
Parke says a formal complaint has been filed against Schmitt by a third party with the County Election Board.
Schmitt won the primary with about 30% of the vote.
Parke made his request to Schmitt via a letter, which Parke provided to 14 News.
I believe it is the best interest of the Republican Party, your family and yourself, for you to withdrawal from being a City Council-at-large candidate.
Election Rule Deadline:
Monday, July 15, 2019 DEADLINE, by noon, for any candidate to voluntarily withdraw from the municipal election ballot.
Please give my withdrawal request serious consideration. I believe it is the right thing to do for everyone.
Please advise me ASAP of your decision regarding this matter so I can call a caucus to fill the ballot vacancy if you choose to withdraw.
The State Election Office withdrawal form to use is CAN-46 if you decide to withdraw.
Schmitt’s response was also by letter. 14 News received the the following statement from Friends of Alex Schmitt on Thursday.
Requesting that I withdraw my candidacy for City Council At-Large is an odd stance to take given that I received the most votes for any Republican Primary candidate not named Lloyd Winnecke; out of the paltry voter turnout of 2,226 Republican votes, I received 70% of the vote. I won my Primary race with the widest margin of victory of any City Council race of either party and single-handedly raised more than double the funds of any City Council candidate. Not only have I received an outpouring of support from the Vanderburgh County Republican Party (the Precinct Committeemen that actually make up the County Committee) but also from actual Republican voters who nominated me as their top candidate for this office.
One would assume a Chairman, whose primary function is to support winning Republican candidates, would be able to recognize my value to the organization you represent and its goals. It is obvious that you do not possess the mental faculties to make the best decisions on behalf of the Party, and thus lack the capacity to serve as Chairman. As such, pursuant to Indiana Republican Party Rules 1-18 and 1-36, I encourage you to resign as Chairman. Further, by not supporting my candidacy, you are in violation of Rules 1-25, 1-24, and 4-11; thus falling out of good standing as a Party Officer. For your violation of those rules, I further encourage your resignation as Chairman. Not only would it be in the best interest of the local party, but in the best interests of the citizens of the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County as a whole.
Finally, Indiana law requires that my candidacy for party affiliation is based on my voting in the last primary election, and the voters of Evansville are the ones who chose me as their candidate. Therefore, you have absolutely no authority in this matter and I decline your request. I look forward to my campaign producing another strong victory in November so that Evansville can continue to move forward. In the meantime, please do not contact me.