UPDATE, MAY 19, 7:17 A.M.: The Orange County Republican Party's Executive Committee earlier this month censured GOP Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport for sending out an email with a photo depicting President Barack Obama as being the child of chimpanzees.
The 12-2 vote was not enough to stop the calls for Davenport to resign.
A petition drive has been launched that goes not directly at Davenport or the county GOP Central Committee but their Republican donors. "We're asking them not to donate additional funds until Davenport steps down," writes Change.org organizer Nadra Kareem Nittle of Los Angeles in an email to the Weekly. A link to the petition, which as of Wednesday afternoon had 373 signatures, follows:
From the petition overview:
Marilyn Davenport has a lot of nerve--both figuratively and literally. Not only did Davenport, an official of California's Orange County Republican Party, resist apologizing for mass emailing a photo April 15 of President Obama as a chimp, she's also refused to resign over the controversy, despite calls from the public and fellow GOP reps to step down. On May 4, when the executive committee of the Orange County GOP voted 12-2 to issue an ethics censure to Davenport for her conduct involving the email, Davenport still declined to resign even though O.C. GOP chairman Scott Baugh publicly reiterated his wish for her to do so. The ethics censure is the strongest measure that could be taken against Davenport because she's an elected official and the group's bylaws forbid such an ouster. That means the only way that Davenport will leave the group is on her own accord.
Given this, Change.org is asking the major donors of the Orange County Republican Party not to give the group one more dime until Davenport steps down. That's because Davenport doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of her actions, let alone the hurt the email caused and the history of racial bigotry it recalled.
ORIGINAL REPORT, MAY 4, 2:06 P.M.: The Orange County Republican Party's Executive Committee voted 12-2 this morning to censure Marilyn Davenport, the GOP Central Committee member who last month sent out an email with a photo depicting President Barack Obama as being the child of chimpanzees. First Vice Chairwoman Deborah Pauly and Executive Committee member Zonya Townsend reportedly voted against the censure. .
Davenport violated bylaw provisions that prohibit "intentionally" embarrassing the party, according to the censure, which is the strongest step the county GOP could take under its rules.
"She was censured because she knew the email she was sending out was controversial," OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh reportedly told Wisckol after this morning's vote. "After it went out, she downplayed it as a joke. Instead of owning up to her error, she immediately sought to blame others. That resulted in a three-day barrage of negative media attention."
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But Tim Whitacre, a Davenport ally, Central Committee colleague and fellow teabagger, reportedly dismissed the censure as inconsequential--while also taking a shot at Baugh for misinterpreting GOP bylaws.
"Once again, Baugh and company totally misuse the bylaws to extract their ounce of blood from their target," Whitacre tells Wisckol. "I think he perceives this as sending a message to people to not step out of line and that it deflects criticism of his leadership. But this censure means nothing coming from him."
Whitacre unsuccessfully challenged Baugh for the leadership post in January.