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Waldo County GOP attempts to ban former senators from office

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Feb 16, 2021
Roger Katz, left, and Kevin Raye, both former state senators, were the targets of a resolution by the Waldo County Republican Committee that was made public in January.

In December 2020, the Waldo County Republican Committee passed a resolution prohibiting two former state legislators, both Republicans, from running for office as members of the Republican party. It was posted on the committee's Facebook page Jan. 15. Some time after that, former State Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta received a text from a friend that contained a picture of the post.

The resolution against Katz and former state Sen. Kevin Raye of Eastport was in response to an opinion piece coauthored by the two men in the Bangor Daily News last September supporting Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president. The resolution says, in part, "Roger Katz and Kevin Raye, publicly and willfully allowed their personal opinions to support the Democrat Joe Biden for president in the 2020 election, thereby giving the impression that their support was a creditable decision for other Republicans to follow their belief."

It goes on to say that Katz and Raye "shall be prohibited/banned from running for any civil or public office as a Committee Member or Official of the Maine Republican Party."

Katrina Smith, chair of the Waldo County GOP, replied by email to our request for comment, saying, "We are going to let the resolution speak for itself."

Reached Feb. 15 at his Augusta office, Katz, an attorney, who has also served as mayor of the capital city, said he was "baffled" by the resolution when he learned of it, adding that he did not know any of the Waldo County committee members. "I didn't know being a member of a political party carried a blood oath never to vote for another candidate."

Raye also spoke to The Republican Journal Feb. 15, saying that many of the Republicans he admires across the country have also come in for censure for "putting country above party," and he feels he is in good company. He called the Waldo County GOP's action "ridiculous and small-minded and meaningless." He has no plans to run for public office.

Katz lamented the fact that his party was no longer the "big tent" it used to aspire to be, noting that actions similar to the one taken against him and Raye have occurred all over the country. He said he feels the Republican Party has become the party of Donald Trump, and added that requiring absolute loyalty to Trump or to other party candidates was not a recipe for attracting new members.

"I'm not going to support someone just because they're a Republican if they don't have honesty and integrity," Raye said. He added that he felt some members of his party would not be satisfied until it was "as small as it can be."

As far as the practical effect of the resolution, Katz confirmed that there is none. The Waldo County committee's effort to ban him from seeking office "is almost comical," he said, though he is not planning to run for office now.

Efforts to contact the Maine Republican Party for comment were unsuccessful as of press time.

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Cindy L Frost | Feb 18, 2021 17:45

Thank you for reporting this action taken by the Waldo County Republicans. It is telling how far toward fascism this local group is leaning. I hope many voters will consider their options carefully at each election and resist fascism.


Cindy Frost

Liberty, Maine

Posted by: Jennifer Hill | Feb 18, 2021 14:09

The Waldo County Republicans? I'd love to know who voted for this, because I can't imagine upstanding Republicans I know doing such an unprincipled thing. While local Republicans have not spoken out publicly about the horrors of our last President, I can't believe they would stoop this low. Must be a new tribe inhabiting the party.

Posted by: Seth Thayer | Feb 18, 2021 06:08

I am so thrilled that Maine voters saw Ms. Smith for the partisan hack that she is and voted to keep her from elected office.  Funny that the GOP then voted her in as its regional head.  Fealty to a one term ex-President is probably not in our state's best interest.

Posted by: from the kitchen | Feb 17, 2021 05:18

Why am I not surprised?

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