After over a week of intense media scrutiny and public outcry over her comments, Duval County GOP Secretary Kim Crenier has decided to not seek re-election to office this month, according to The Folio Weekly.
However, serious doubts about the Duval County GOP’s ability to have an adult conversation about race relations and civil rights remain. AG Gancarski, a journalist who first wrote about the incident and has been pressuring the GOP to have a frank, honest conversation about improving race relations, explains the resistance he’s been met with:
I’ve called for the party to explain her comments and to take a position on them and her; I’ve also called for Crenier to resign. In the wake of my original blog post, the story went national, taking off with outfits as disparate as the Washington Times and Daily Kos.
And with good reason. Her comments on the Jax GOP feed were questionable; the ones on her private feed were unconscionable. Her call for law enforcement to “turn the fire hoses” on Ferguson protesters who “probly need a shower” was a throwback to the Bull Connor era. When I asked her about it, she replied that “the civil rights implication never even entered my head” and that “water seemed to be less severe than mace,” which apparently was the chosen crowd dispersal agent of some of her fellow tea partiers in her Twitterverse. (She also had some choice statements about “President Racebaiter” Barack Obama, “our race-baiting, America hating President.”)
Time passed, and the Ferguson riots ran their course. Hands Up Don’t Shoot, replaced by I Can’t Breathe. Another week; another black man executed with extreme prejudice by a white cop. And she was still in her spot.
Crenier, who has been pressured by moderate Republicans to step down, said she made the decision to not seek re-election because so many people had “been calling for my head and calling for me to step down,” she said. “[Local party chair Rick Hartley] doesn’t need to fire me. My term has expired. Leave Rick Hartley alone.”
She said she was leaving because she didn’t want to be a “distraction.”
Gancarsky and other locals want to know what this means for the Duval County GOP, whose leadership chose not only to avoid condemnation, but practically pretended it didn’t happen at all:
Are they really so incompatible? Hartley played dumb when I asked him about the statements, even refusing to confirm initially that Crenier was the tweeter. The normally outspoken Lenny Curry did not return requests for comment.
The local GOP clearly needs to have a discussion about race, about the police state, and all the related issues. Crenier’s departure allows the party elders to delay that debate, but fails to allay real questions that independents and Democrats have. Primary among them: Is what Kim Crenier said actually representative of what people in the party think but are generally too careful to say, at least in public?
Gancarsky, who has written for conservative publications and apparently leans right, is asking all the right questions about this incident.
It’s a damn shame that the Duval County GOP thinks he doesn’t deserve any answers.