March 14, 2013
The REC Holds its Monthly Meeting
The Republican Executive Committee (REC) held its monthly meeting in St. Augustine, Florida. Sean Mulhall, Chairman, opened the meeting. The agenda provided for two speakers. The first speaker, Gary Hollis, from the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), made an appeal to the REC members to get involved in their precincts promoting Gov. Scott’s reelection. Some members speculated that this early effort was due to the Governor’s poor showing in the polls. It is well known that many of the Tea Party supporters have been disenfranchised because of the Governor’s failure to protect the State and its people, from the onslaught of Obamacare.
The second speaker was John Sauer. Mr. Sauer represents the 103rd precinct as a precinct captain. Mr. Sauer spoke about the failure of Mitt Romney’s election campaign. He provided the REC members with insightful analysis of the Romney campaign’s failure. During a question and answer session that accompanied Mr. Sauer’s presentation, James Arpaia, a 302nd precinct captain pictured above, rose to address the members. Mr. Arpaia identified himself as a conservative Republican and announced that he considered himself a Tea Party member. He then pointed to a group of Saint Augustine Tea Party members present at the meeting and claimed that he felt uncomfortable with their presence in the REC. In particular, the presence of the editor and publisher of Town Crier Committee Report was of particular concern to him. He cited the "Town Crier Committee Report" as contributing to the failure of Republican candidates, including Mr. Romney. At a previous REC meeting in December of 2012, Mr. Arpaia challenged the "Town Crier Committee Report" editor at this public meeting stating, “You do not belong here. I will do anything I can in my power to have you removed as a member of the REC.”
The Saint Augustine Tea Party members, some who are also precinct captains, could not explain Mr. Arpaia’s motives regarding the attack today.
According to public records, Mr. Arpaia is a board member of the St. Johns County Tea Party (SJCTP). The SJCTP was formed when, at the time, REC board members, Eric West and Randy Covington, failed at their attempted takeover of the Saint Augustine Tea Party. Eric West has since ceased his Tea Party leadership activities and Randy Covington, who is still a board member of the SJCTP, has been removed from the REC for undisclosed reasons. The records show that Mr. Arpaia replaced Eric West as a director of the SJCTP. Together Mr. Covington and Mr. Arpaia have controlling interest of the SJCTP. The SJCTP has a history of membership by invitation only, with most of its members being REC members.
The Saint Augustine Tea Party members reported that they thought a recent settlement of a legal matter between West and Covington and others had put the matter to rest. Perhaps, Mr. Arpaia feels differently.
The Saint Augustine Tea Party, a ‘grass roots’ completely independent Tea Party, was welcomed to the REC by former Chairman Harlan Mason and has been extended every courtesy by its current Chairman, Sean Mulhall. The members, who were attacked, expressed hope that continued cooperation on common interests between the REC and the Tea Party movement would prevail.