Durham County Democrats say Republican complaints about hosting partisan Democratic events at government facilities are off-base because nothing prevents Republicans from using public meeting space for their own partisan activities.
The Durham County Republican Party has crossed swords — and prevailed — when city and county governments have allowed organizations favorable to Democratic causes to use public property for thinly veiled campaign purposes.
“It seems to be a pattern of Durham County government and government officials electioneering,” said Theodore Hicks, chairman of the Durham GOP.
“We have to stand up and say we won’t tolerate shenanigans,” Hicks said.
In the past two weeks, two events on county-owned property drew further Republican condemnation.
Doctors for America, “which was formerly known as Doctors for Obama,” held a supportive rally for President Obama’s signature health care reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, at Lincoln Community Health Center, Hicks said.
And Organizing for America, a spinoff of the Democratic National Committee that supports Obama’s legislative agenda, held a voter registration drive at Durham Regional Hospital.
Here is how Durham County Commission Chairman Michael Page responded:
“It does seem sticky,” Durham County Commission chairman Michael Page said of the lack of a clearly written policy on use of government buildings.
“I do think there needs to be a fair process,” Page said. “What that fair practice would be I’m not sure.”
However, he sees no legal problem with “who is registering them to vote,” despite the Republicans’ objections.
“Until they can find justifiable reasons to say that should not happen there is really not a lot we can do,” Page said. If Republicans don’t feel like they are being fairly represented at public events, “they can build a case for that.
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