Former GOP staffer complains about ideologues
Posted 8/21/2009 12:20:00 PM
Sergio Garcia also says state party leaders didn’t understand how to reach Hispanics; Yates disputes Garcia’s claims
This article has been updated.
Sergio Garcia, who quit his job as deputy executive director of the state Republican Party earlier this week, says his abrupt resignation came largely because of widely differing views about where the GOP should be headed.
In an interview, he said he was frustrated with ideologues running the party.
“I am not an ideologue. I never wanted to be one. I have always been one who thought it’s about winning elections,” Garcia said.
Garcia also cited as a frustration a lack of understanding among party leaders about how to reach Hispanics, which he said is critical to making the GOP relevant in New Mexico.
“What bothers me is that most of our party leadership at a state level does not understand what Hispanic outreach means... It does not mean pandering to Hispanics. It does not mean trying to buy their votes,” He said. “It’s about messaging to Hispanics. It’s about trying to bring Hispanics home because this is where Hispanics started, in the Republican Party.”
“They didn’t get it,” he said, adding that the resulting disconnect created a climate of suspicion about him.
Garcia resigned abruptly earlier this week in a strongly worded letter to Party Chairman Harvey Yates.
“In the last three months, I have seen the destructive forces that have plagued the Republican Party of New Mexico for years. In particular, I heard the use of fallacious arguments regarding ‘trust’, ‘confidence’ and ‘loyalty’ used upon me as if I were unable to understand these concepts,” he wrote.
“The Republican Party of New Mexico supposedly hired me as a symbol of a new day for a Party that has been plagued with deep divisions that led to historic political loses on 2008,” he wrote. “I was looking forward to re-building a stronger, broader Party but due to unforeseen circumstances, this will not be the case.”
GOP spokeswoman: Garcia didn’t voice concerns
In an e-mail, state GOP spokeswoman Janel Causey said, “Unfortunately, the position didn’t work out… a fact realized (Tuesday) night when the current executive director happened to stop by the party office --only to find Sergio with a packed U-haul dropping off keys and a letter of resignation.”
“We regret that Sergio did not feel comfortable expressing his concerns to the chairman directly before leaving so abruptly. We wish him the best in his future endeavors,” she said.
Garcia had been with the party for three months. Before that, he worked in Nicaragua as the country director for the International Republican Institute. He was a volunteer with the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and 2004.
In a July news release announcing Garcia’s hiring, Yates said his “extensive political experience will prove invaluable as we head into the 2010 election cycle,” and noted Garcia’s “deep commitment to working within the Hispanic community.”
Asked what’s next for him, Garcia said he’s going to enjoy his family, “and we’ll see,” adding that he has lots of opportunities.
Update, 1:25 p.m.
In an interview, Yates said Garcia never expressed concern about ideologues and said that explanation of Garcia’s departure, in his view, is “simply smoke covering (Garcia’s) failure to do his job.”
Garcia’s job, Yates said, was to raise money, “and he maybe raised $500.”
“That may be the climate,” Yates said, referring to the economic situation, “It may be him. I don’t know but, in any case, he didn’t get it done.”
Yates said there were other problems with Garcia, including “a lack of work ethic… He was the first guy out the door every day” and that Garcia was “rather naïve” and “in need of training politically.”
As to Garcia’s claim that party leaders didn’t understand how to reach Hispanics, Yates said there were very few conversations about that involving Garcia because it wasn’t the initial focus of his job. Garcia was supposed to be getting to know the 3rd Congressional District and raising money there, Yates said.
He also said Garcia presented, about two weeks ago, “a rather poorly drafted and rather naïve Hispanic outreach proposal.” Yates said that Garcia’s statement that the party needs to work to “bring Hispanics home because this is where Hispanics started” is “is almost exactly out of a speech I was making.”
Yates said that’s nearly the same thing he recently said on KKOB-AM radio. He also said he has told Garcia in the past that, early in New Mexico’s history, the majority of Hispanics in the state were registered Republicans.
As to Garcia’s claim of a climate of suspicion, Yates said, “Surely if there is a climate of suspicion in an office, a rational person would go to the boss and talk to him, and he did not do that.”
Update, 4:45 p.m.
Garcia provided a copy of his Hispanic outreach proposal.
Labels: Republican Party