HILLSDALE, Mich. — More than 60 Hillsdale County precinct delegates were denied entry to Thursday night's meeting at Sozo Church after each allegedly received a letter from the Hillsdale County Republican Party's Executive Committee.
"Many of us who were elected as precinct delegates, or who were won primary races on the Republican ballot, received a electronic email notification yesterday that the Hillsdale County Republican Executive Committee had this about us as members of the Republican party," Brent Leininger, Hillsdale County delegate, said. "And in the email, we were notified that if we were to appear at their location for the convention this evening that we would all be charged with criminal trespassing.”
FOX 47 obtained a copy of the letter allegedly sent to one of the disavowed delegates by the executive committee, and it says in part "The local Republican party is the guardian and protector of the values of the party, most notable local as well as state and national it is conceivable that forces wishing to dilute or destroy those values would act alone or in unison to obtain positions within the party to destroy it from within."
As a result of receiving that letter, The delegates were met by armed guards outside the church. Hillsdale Republican precinct delegates like Bud Vear where surprised that their entry was denied.
"I asked him, how is it possible that I was elected to be a delegate, and yet I can't attend the delegates meeting? I don't understand this,” Vear said.
So instead, the group met outside in the parking lot across the street and conducted the same matters of business that were happening inside Sozo Church.
“I will fill out an affidavit and submit those names to the Michigan Republican party to be the delegates and alternates representing Hillsdale County to the Michigan Republican nominating convention on Aug. 27,” said Brent Leininger.
The purpose of Thursday's convention was to compile a list of 13 delegate names to attend the Michigan Republican Convention later this month, but since two competing meetings were held, that now means two competing lists of names are headed to the state GOP party.
Vear explained that the group still carried out the business that was designed for the delegates meeting and was done very efficiently.
Despite the party's disconnect, The disavowed delegates are still hopeful for change in the county.
"We will continue to reach across the aisle and to work with the republicans that are inside the church and those that are not even here with us to further the cause of the republican and the conservative party,” Leininger stated.
The Michigan GOP will hold a meeting with the credentials committee to decide which slate will be chosen to be state convention delegates on Aug. 27.
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