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County GOP Is United Against Charges of Division in the Party

November 09, 2003

Re "Attack of Long Knives for GOP Chairman," Oct. 27:

Times writer Jean Pasco seeks to stir divisions in the GOP. She fails to tell that the Republican Party of Orange County is strong, vital and successful as we prepare to do our part to reelect President Bush.

Please judge our county party by what it delivers, not by personalities or minor differences.

Our party had no endorsed candidate until 10 days before the recent recall election. That reality prevented the use of any party resources for any candidate until the board of directors of the California Republican Party officially endorsed the man we now are proud to call our governor-elect.

I take very seriously the prohibition against a county party's involvement for a candidate until there is a nominee or endorsed candidate.

Once the California Republican Party endorsed Arnold for governor, the full resources of our county party were put at the disposal of his campaign, and were effectively and successfully utilized. To say otherwise is to insult the generous efforts of countless local Republican volunteers who worked on election day.

Thomas A. Fuentes

Chairman,

Republican Party

of Orange County

*

For nearly 20 years, Orange County Republican Party Chairman Tom Fuentes has selflessly led our party and forged it into the dominant political power here in Orange County. Fuentes has succeeded in a way that few other party chairman have: He, and the grass-roots activists, have built a party that not only wins elections but also adheres to its convictions. Fuentes has been a leader for change, making the O.C. GOP accessible to minorities and the youth of Orange County.

If reporter Jean Pasco or Fuentes' critics in the so-called New Majority (which, coincidentally, could not even win a meaningful number of seats on the O.C. GOP central committee in the 2000 election despite spending over half a million dollars) were to actually attend a central committee meeting, they would witness a diversity of opinion, nationality, age and creed, all due in no small part to Fuentes' vision, hard work and devotion.

Few of Fuentes' critics have been active in the county party long enough to remember that it was his able leadership that transformed the O.C. GOP into the resounding success that it is. Few in the so-called New Majority have the activist background and real-world campaign experience to understand that the very minority groups needed to provide victory in many parts of Orange County have little taste or use for the economic policies favoring country-club Republicans at the expense of ignoring the moral issues that guide the party.

Most appalling, however, is the fact that several conservative legislators are now trying to pin their own fund-raising failures on a person who has united and led the grass-roots activists in our party.

Michael R.W. Houston

State board member,

California Republican

Lawyers Assn.

Orange

*

I wish I could say that I was shocked to read the recent story in The Times trying to portray the GOP in Orange County as divided.

Frankly, I expect nothing less from the paper that tried to torpedo the candidacy of Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger by releasing stories of anonymous allegations of sexual harassment in the final days of the campaign.

The overwhelming vote that Schwarzenegger received in the recall election demonstrates that your questionably timed article likely had the opposite effect -- unifying support for the GOP front-runner.

Your attack on the Orange County GOP will have a similar effect -- when The Times tries to divide us, it only makes us stronger and more unified.

Jon Fleischman

Irvine

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