It seems that the last thing anybody would need right now is for there to be more tension involving race, inequality and politics. But by simply sharing a social media post, Nueces County GOP Chair and former Sheriff Jim Kaelin added to the problem.
Kaelin shared a controversial social media post that lent to the conspiracy theory of George Floyd’s death having been staged by Democrats to sway votes away from President Trump and other GOP candidates in November.
The post which was shared all over Facebook, was even shared by Bexar County GOP Chair Cynthia Brehm, who GOP leaders from around the state called on to resign. Then late on Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for Kaelin to resign after learning that he had also shared the post on Facebook.
Local party leaders have been held up silent Thursday evening and they have good reason for it. Kaelin, who was a former Sheriff and the person largely charged with righting an already sinking ship here in Nueces county, just opened a flood gate.
Sources with the Republican Party of Texas confirmed that the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC), will be holding an emergency meeting on Friday to hear from both Kaelin and Brehm and decided the best course of action.
“These two people have done so much more harm than good for the party and for Texas,” said John Halverstrom, a Republican from San Antonio, who has been working San Antonio Police Chief McManus on developing new policing strategies. “These two people deserve whatever the party throws at them for just sharing random crap.”
That “crap” could have seriously hurt the Republican Party, which is a dominating force in Texas politics.
At the local level here in Nueces County, there has been very little comment from the party as of Thursday night.
“We need to hear from these leaders and here from them now,” says Angela Rodriguez, who has been keenly watching the candidates. “I don’t know if I am Republican or Democrat, but I feel like their silence is saying a lot.”
Rodriguez, who is in her second year at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has only recently gotten involved in politics, but now she feels even more confused.
“I don’t like the meanness and fake love for the people that the Democrats show,” she said. “But I also do not like these Republicans and their ‘Holier than thou’ attitudes either.”
Texas Democrats are taking notice of this situation, too. But oddly enough, at the local level they have been almost silent on the situation, as well.
“We are at fault for not being aggressive against these kind of blatant attacks on humanity,” said Linda Villarreal of Corpus Christi. “We trusted this arrogant man for years and only now we are seeing his real colors come out. I understand he only shared a post but that itself says something.”
“This is not only the most un-American thing that he could have done,” says Villarreal. “It is just making us all look like we are ignorant for allowing this to happen without condemning him. Well, this Democrat is condemning him right here and now.”
Kaelin was thought to be the savior of the party here locally, after large amounts of money came up missing and record keeping was found to be in shambles. It was Kaelin, a former trusted law enforcement officer, that was going to bring integrity back to the Nueces County GOP after former Chair Mike Bergsma did a pretty good job of butchering the entire office. Many within the party were questioning the way that things were going anyway, and now they are seriously asking questions.
Repeatedly, members of the media have asked to see the check record of the Nueces County GOP for a proper forensic audit of the books, after GOP members appointed an ad hoc “audit committee” to review the books. To date, they have still not presented a full accounting for their books, nor have they taken any official action into having a proper forensic audit completed. Tonight’s call from the Governor and others for the former Sheriff and Party Chair to resign are now calling everything within the local party into question.
Kaelin has not returned emails or phone calls as of post.
A comment is expected from Republican James Hernandez on Friday regarding the situation. Hernandez is the only Latino Conservative Republican on the ballot this cycle. Hernandez is running against incumbent Democrat Abel Herrero for the Texas House of Representatives District 34, which Republicans feel that they have a chance to flip.