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Top RNC official hasn’t voted in GOP primary for years
Question of the Day
The Republican National Committee's top outreach official, hired to make help make the party younger and more diverse, hasn't voted in a Republican primary election of any kind since before 2000, The Washington Times has learned.
But longtime Washington lobbyist Angela Sailor, 42, and her political consultant husband, Elroy, 41, did vote in the 2008 Virginia Democratic presidential primary, according to Prince William County election records.
Mr. Steele, who was expected to talk about his own future at the RNC later Monday, raised eyebrows after his election in January 2009 when he announced the creation of an RNC Department of Coalitions and named Mrs. Sailor, a longtime friend, as its director.
The move generated more questions when it was learned that Mr. Steele had the RNC set her salary at $180,000 a year, making her the highest-paid staff person. Her annual salary, not including benefits, is $40,000 more than the elected co-chairman of the RNC receives.
"Angela will be crucial to our efforts to grow our party and spread our message," Mr. Steele said in announcing her appointment and the creation of a new department for her to head.
Reaction was heated in recent days among some RNC members when told about her voting in the 2008 Democratic primary but not voting in any Republican primary in the previous seven years, at the least, according to county voting records.
"It is very disappointing to hear that Ms. Sailor was not voting as a Republican prior to her employment at the RNC coalitions director," said Oklahoma RNC member Carolyn McLarty. "It would be difficult to reason why she would be qualified to take on the high-level, highly paid position of coalitions director, recruiting minorities to the Republican Party, when she had not made that switch herself."
Tennessee RNC member Peggy Lambert expressed "outrage" over Mrs. Sailor's voting record, which she said shows that Mrs. Sailor "is devoid of any sense of honor, loyalty or honesty and should be fired posthaste."
Mrs. Sailor said in an e-mail exchange that information from the the Prince William County elections office was not accurate but did not address the records showing her voting in the Democratic primary. She said she had contacted Prince William County officials, but only seemed to address the matter of when she purchased the house.
She wrote: "Thanks for bringing this to my attention so that we are able to get this information corrected. The contract on my home and deed show that our home and land were built and purchased in 2005 (public record) when we first moved to Prince William County."
Mrs. Sailor and her husband are well-connected political consultants in Washington — a fact that raised more red flags with some grassroots conservatives around the country.
Mrs. McLarty argued that the RNC's process should include a history of the voting records of the applicant along with the background check.
"I would hope that everyone working at the RNC would be a long-time consistently active Republican voter," she said.
"Sailor's participation in the 2008 Democrat primary in Virginia is offensive to me as an RNC member," said Solomon Yue, an Oregon RNC member and co-founder of the Republican National Conservative Caucus the RNC Conservative Steering Committee.
During the 2000 Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, Mrs. Sailor won appointment as director of African-American Affairs for the RNC and the "Victory 2000" program.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
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