On June 28th the Chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party endorsed Michael Earnheart, a known supporter of Donald Trump, against an incumbent female, Moira Walsh, for state representative in House District 3.

RI NOW condemns the actions of the Democratic Party State Chair, Representative Joe McNamara, who appears to have acted unilaterally in the absence of a Representative District Committee in House District 3. We know that this endorsement was made so last minute that Earnheart’s name was handwritten on the otherwise typed letter submitted to the Secretary of State’s office. In so doing McNamara gave the false impression that this candidate shares the beliefs and values of the Democratic Party.

In Rhode Island candidates are meant to be endorsed by elected District Committees, who run in the previous election cycle (so those running in 2018 will endorse 2020 candidates). If a full District Committee does not exist—for either party—the Chair of the specific party is able, but not required, to make an official endorsement. In not properly vetting candidates seeking endorsement, McNamara displayed a failure of leadership.

On July 4th, when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, we should remember some of the less well-known words of the document, that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In order to preserve the consent of the Party, Chair McNamara should formally renounce all endorsements made in the absence of a District Committee without delay.