Louisiana GOP sees infighting ahead of leadership elections

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Republican Party of Louisiana faces infighting and accusations of vote manipulation tactics ahead of next year’s party leadership elections.

Michael Bayham, the state GOP secretary, sent an email Tuesday to the party’s governing body members accusing Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich of mishandling the election plans. Bayham said it was improper for Gurvich to be campaigning for a third term in his leadership job before setting an election date.

“Officers should not be politicking for reelection before we even know when the election is,” Bayham wrote in the email, which also was posted on his Facebook page. “An Executive Committee meeting should be called this week to promptly establish these details as we have members already campaigning for offices while others considering running are waiting for a date to be announced.”

Gurvich said suggestions he was deliberately stalling the election date were “ridiculous.” He said the leadership elections must be held by March 31, and an election would be called to meet that timeline.

“We plan on getting it done well within the necessary time for people to make arrangements,” he said.

The Republican State Central Committee, the party’s governing body, chooses the GOP leadership. Whoever is selected for the next two-year term as chairman will be leading the party during the 2023 statewide and legislative elections.

Gurvich, owner of a private security business, has held the chairman’s job since 2018. He has received criticism for management of the party’s finances and for the loss of the 2019 governor’s race in which Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards was elected to a second term. But Gurvich successfully fought back efforts to unseat him earlier this year.

Republicans hold all statewide elected offices in Louisiana beside the governor’s seat.

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