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Controversial O.C. politician loses local GOP leadership post

Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly is removed as first vice chair of the county's Republican Party. She sparked outrage last year over her protest outside an Islamic charity event.

May 24, 2012|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times

Deborah Pauly, the outspoken Villa Park councilwoman who drew community ire when she protested outside an Islamic charity event, was removed this week from a leadership position with the Orange County Republican Party's central committee.

Party officials said Pauly, who is running for county supervisor, has been a divisive figure.

Her removal comes a month after Orange businessman Bob Walters mailed out letters supporting Pauly's candidacy on a "George Wallace for President" letterhead. The stationery appeared to have been left over from Walters' stint as chairman of Wallace's failed campaign for president in 1967.

The mailer urged citizens to vote for Pauly, who is in a heated race for a supervisor's seat, and was the subject of a complaint to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

Pauly previously told The Times that she did not know of Walters' ties to the former Alabama governor, who was a staunch segregationist during the civil rights era.

The councilwoman sparked outrage last year for her comments outside the Islamic charity event in Yorba Linda. "I know quite a few Marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise," Pauly said at the time.

In 2010, Pauly was taken to task after writing on her Facebook page that applauding President Obama's healthcare bill was "like applauding a mugging or a rape."

On Monday, she was removed as first vice chair of the county's Republican Party on a motion by Chairman Scott Baugh.

Baugh said Pauly is a divisive force in the party at a time when unity is needed. "These are not just my opinions, they've been brought to me by dozens and dozens of people who share my concerns," he said at the meeting.

"She makes statements out there that I'm constantly having to defend," he said.

Neither Pauly nor Baugh returned a request for comment.

At the meeting, which was videotaped, Pauly said that she is being criticized because she is not an "establishment status-quo Republican."

She accused Baugh of attempting to taint her supervisorial campaign against Todd Spitzer, a former state assemblyman and supervisor. "You are being used as political pawns in a game," she told committee members.

Emily Sanford, a longtime Orange County member of the party, said in a letter to the committee that over the years she has seen many officers come and go but that Pauly's behavior stands out.

Pauly, Sanford wrote, seems to "enjoy being unnecessarily provocative."

She said that Pauly's statements only make the Republican Party appear "insensitive."

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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