(Find background information about this issue at THE EL PASO FIASCO.🔗)
January 1, 2023
To whom it may concern,
It has come to my attention that the “Peak Republicans” (PRs) in El Paso County want to request a special State Central Committee (SCC) meeting in January 2023 instead of waiting for the normal meeting in the spring. The purpose of this requested meeting is to remove Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins from her position as Chair in El Paso County and appoint the PRs to represent the El Paso County Republican Party.
I got involved in local politics because I love my county, state, and nation. I am currently a Precinct Leader and Bonus Member in El Paso County. I sit on the El Paso County Central Committee (EPCCC) and El Paso County Executive Committee (EPCEC), as well as the State Central Committee (SCC). I take the responsibility of representing my neighbors very seriously because I work for them; not myself. I am new to the inner workings of the Republican Party in El Paso County and heard that the “establishment” was difficult to deal with and wanted to keep the local party small and under their control. What I heard was a gross understatement compared to what I have observed for myself.
It is important for people to understand the progression of events that has led to this request by the “Peak Republicans”. In order to keep truth seekers from being bamboozled, I will lay out the facts, being a first-hand witness.
At the first EPCCC meeting I attended in February 2021; the meeting was interrupted repeatedly by members of the now “Peak Republicans”. For the last 2 years, I have witnessed constant obstruction, interruption, unfounded allegations of unspecified Bylaws violations and slanderous/libelous accusations in the media by these same people. Every meeting has been a repeat of the first meeting I attended. The vitriol and vicious attacks against Chair Tonkins’ character and reputation has been shocking and appalling. A weaker individual would have quit a long time ago.
Chair Tonkins has not violated the Bylaws. The PRs have created that narrative from the beginning, to slander her because she will not submit to them. She does not use her position to profit financially or personally, instead it has cost her dearly. They project what they have been doing onto her.
The “infighting” going on within the party in El Paso County is because they cannot control her. She stands for the Constitution, Republican Platform and the rule of law (State Law, State Bylaws and County Bylaws). This is the reason We The People support her.
The “Peak Republicans” started their organization in the spring of 2022 without the knowledge of Chair Tonkins. She found out about the organization in late summer. Although she was unaware of the organization, State GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown was fully aware and attended their Grand Opening. Chair Tonkins received many calls from Republican voters confused because the media, under the direction of the PRs was telling voters to go to the “Peak Republicans Headquarters” NOT the El Paso County GOP headquarters.
Chair Tonkins attempted to get the State Party to address the situation in a timely manner at the October State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting, but she was put off, until the December meeting. Chair Tonkins followed the County Bylaws and called a special meeting of the County Central Committee to address the issue locally.
The meeting was held on November 5, 2022. After the EPCCC members reviewed the evidence, a motion was brought forth from the floor, requesting the State Party deal with “Peak Republicans” and the use of the Republican name. Additional motions were brought forth to censure the members of the EPCCC who are promoting the “PRs” and abdicating their responsibilities as members of the EPCCC and EPCEC. They refused to assist in the office or donate to the local party. Fundraising/volunteering for the local GOP is stated as a responsibility for EPCEC members in our County Bylaws. The EPCCC in attendance, overwhelmingly voted for censure of these individuals after a few rounds of discussion. Chair Tonkins did not vote, she only conducted the meeting.
After the meeting, PRs who attended the meeting, contacted the media to complain about the censure. Chair Tonkins did not disclose anything about the meeting until 2 days after the election was over when she sent out a press release. This censure had no negative impact on the election. If anyone says it did, it would be because the PRs disclosed the information to the media.
Our Chair has been accused of “actively opposing” Republican candidates. This is a lie! She did support GOP candidates. She had volunteers (not paid canvassers), walking precincts for Republican candidates. She also spent approximately $7,000 on “get out the vote” ads like she did during the 2020 election. The local GOP office is not obligated to give funds to individual campaigns. This precedent originated with previous El Paso County Chairs not the current Chair. Members of the EPCEC have heard the PRs state that they would NOT support/vote for any “grassroots” candidates. This is another violation of the County Bylaws by the PRs. These accusations against Chair Tonkins is another example of them accusing her of what they do.
“Peak Republicans” state they opened a new office to ensure “Republicans would win”. The candidates at the state level lost their elections. Republican seats were also lost in the House and Senate races. Two of the House Districts that lost, have not been won by Republicans since 2016. With the redistricting, House Districts 17 and 18 became more difficult for a Republican win.
We now have fewer seats in the House and Senate than before the election. They wanted to take credit when they won, but not responsibility when they lost. They want to give this responsibility to our Chair when they took responsibility for the results, when they opened the rogue office. This is hypocrisy.
“Peak Republicans” state they supported ALL Republican candidates, however there were two candidates they did not support. These candidates won. Not only did they win, but they were also actively engaged with the El Paso County Headquarters. Both of these “grassroots” candidates won their elections without the help of the PRs. In many cases, candidates supporting the PRs didn’t provide campaign literature to the El Paso County GOP Headquarters. Statewide candidates were told to go to the “Peak Republicans Headquarters” and didn’t know that it is a rogue Republican office. Once they found out, they provided the campaign literature and signs to the legit GOP Headquarters.
“Peak Republicans” charged exorbitant fees to the candidates’ campaigns in order to have their literature and signs at the renegade office. The official GOP office did not charge any fees. Again, our Chair does not benefit financially or personally from this volunteer position.
On December 1, 2022, Chair Tonkins was on the agenda for the SEC (State Executive Committee) Zoom meeting to address the PRs situation. There were 45+ EPCCC members and Republican citizenry crowded into the small meeting space at the GOP Headquarters supporting her during the meeting.
Chair Tonkins and the PRs representative were told they would each be given 5 minutes to state their case. Chair Tonkins spent the 5 minutes laying out her case and stated that State Statutes and all Bylaws needed to be followed. The PRs representative spent 8 minutes lodging personal attacks against our Chair rather than addressing the issue.
During the discussion time, the PRs representative was allowed to keep her microphone on and interrupted Chair Tonkins while she was speaking. When the representative lied, and Chair Tonkins attempted to address it, on multiple occasions, her microphone was muted and she was prevented unmuting to address the allegations against her. Because of this, the SEC members did not get full understanding of the situation. It was very one-sided. Everyone in the room supporting our Chair saw it clearly. It was unjust.
On December 5, 2022, the SEC censured our Chair for Bylaws violations she never committed. This is just another attack in a long line of assaults against this Chair and retaliation against our EPCCC for censuring the PRs a month earlier. In addition, the State Party Chair and the SEC ignored our plea and granted “Peak Republicans” the opportunity (30 days) to apply to use the Republican name. “Peak Republicans” abused this privilege even after our Chair made them aware they were violating State Statute. The Representative for PRs repeatedly stated to the SEC that they didn’t need permission from the State Party to use the Republican name.
The SEC refused to listen to a large majority of the EPCCC for their decision made on November 5, 2022 and continue to work with PRs to discredit the EPCCC and our leadership team.
If we at the SCC allow the PRs and the sympathetic State Chair to get away with this new attack on our Chair and EPCCC, this sets a precedent to repeat this action in every county in the state. No chair will be safe. The EPCCC voted for Chair Tonkins in 2021 and still supports her. She has successfully grown the party in El Paso County and has been very effective at fundraising because she has so much support despite the refusal of the PRs to donate or assist in the office. She also has a strong volunteer “army” that helps her with canvassing precincts, office help and more. Her strong ethical values and her faith keep her grounded during these unfounded attacks. It would be a travesty of justice and reinforcement of the rogue “Peak Republicans” demanding their way.
What I have laid out above is just the overview of what we have all had to endure with these establishment renegades. The chain of events listed above is just the tip of the iceberg. This systemic problem can be remedied by telling the State Chair and the “Peak Republicans” we will not tolerate this behavior any longer.
Please join with me and our County Central Committee, in standing with our Chair and against this latest scheme and manipulation by the establishment and tell them “WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO GET AWAY WITH THESE SHENANIGANS!”
CALL TO ACTION:
Please DO NOT sign the “Peak Republicans” petition. Contact other members of the SCC to do likewise. El Paso County is the largest county in the state. If they get away with doing this here, YOUR COUNTY WILL BE NEXT.
Sheila S. Lapora, Bonus Member
El Paso County Central Committee Member
El Paso County Executive Committee Member
State Central Committee Member