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Kansas Republicans Wrestle with ‘Loyalty’

OLATHE, Kan. (CN) - A Johnson County committeeman sued the Republican Party's Central Committee for barring him from voting at an organizational meeting because he gave $100 to a friend who ran for office as a Democrat. Another committeeman was barred from voting because he contributed to the campaign of his Democratic wife.

Plaintiff Harry McDonald was one of 15 precinct leaders whose votes the Johnson County Republican Party Central Committee refused to count because they had violated party rules on "loyalty," usually by donating money to Democrats.

Committeeman Jim Neighbor was punished for giving an in-kind contribution - soft drinks - to his wife, a Democrat, according to the Kansas City Star. Neighbor told the Star that the money for the drinks came from the couple's joint checking account.

McDonald lost his demand that his vote be counted, but symbolically prevailed anyway. Despite the 15 uncounted votes from "disloyal" members, the Star reported that a "moderate," Ronnie Metsker, was elected chairman of the Johnson County Republican Party's Central Committee.

Kansas Republicans are known for their crusades against teaching evolution in school, demands for private medical records of women who visit clinics that provide abortions, and other "conservative" causes.

McDonald was represented in Johnson County Court by Timothy Pickell of Westwood.


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