Just like the RINO establishment in D.C. has been seeking to attack, destroy and undermine Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and other Tea Partiers who dare to speak for the people, there has been a similar establishment attack going on in Oregon. In the interest of keeping Reagan’s 11th commandment, and not wanting to distract from our ultimate goal – fighting for limited government, fiscal responsibility and liberty – we have deliberately chosen not to respond to these attacks as of late, but now it appears we must respond to prevent further confusion.
Geoff Ludt originally organized the first Tea Party event in Oregon in 2009. As the movement grew and he began to face some personal and financial troubles as well as personal attacks, Ludt decided to resign as leader of the Oregon Tea Party and asked John Kuzmanich to take the reins. Kuzmanich was democratically and unanimously elected by a board of directors, of which Ludt was one, before he chose to resign from that, as well. Kuzmanich has remained the duly elected chair of Oregon Tea Party ever since.
Under John Kuzmanich’s leadership, Oregon Tea Party has grown into a successful PAC with a team of dedicated volunteers, none of whom receive financial compensation, including Kuzmanich. Our website, newsletters, Facebook page, Twitter account, bus campaign and events are organized and maintained by these patriots, who are passionate about keeping Oregonians informed and equipped to defend liberty, both locally and nationally.
In the past few months, a campaign was organized by several disgruntled former Republican leaders and others who wanted to harness the success of the Oregon Tea Party for their own political purposes. If they couldn’t take over, they sought to discredit and destroy it completely, and start a new “Oregon Tea Party” which they could control.
Their first strategy was to go after OTP Chair John Kuzmanich, following Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”
A whispering campaign was begun in person and on social media. When that proved ineffective, they dug into John’s personal life and leaked a hit piece to the Willamette Week, full of half-truths and outright lies. The purpose was to destroy John’s credibility so that their attempt to take over the Oregon Tea Party would seem legitimate.
This week, they took down the Oregon Tea Party website and replaced it with a statement claiming that Geoff Ludt was now in charge, even though he resigned four years ago, has not been re-elected by the board, and has not contributed to organizing, planning, or even volunteering for any Oregon Tea Party effort in over 4 years, whether online or in person. Geoff backpedaled on his written agreement to hand ownership of the web domain over to the new Oregon Tea Party leadership when he resigned, and it is this power that he has abused to destroy the hard work of many dedicated patriots who took the reins when he left. It is saddening and disheartening to know that we have been betrayed in such a way by someone we trusted and considered a friend.
Despite this coup attempt, the Oregon Tea Party Board of Directors is proud to continue to serve you, the decent, principled, dedicated patriots of Oregon. We know that the worst attacks come when one is over the right target. They’ve tried to smear us as “radicals” and “extremists,” They’ve tried to claim that the Tea Party is dead and irrelevant. They’ve tried the politics of personal destruction, and now they’re trying to divide and conquer…to get us to destroy ourselves from the inside by turning on one another. We will not take the bait. We will not be distracted. We will continue to fight with you, to give the patriots of Oregon a conduit for their voices to be heard from Salem to D.C.