The Republican Party of Kentucky’s 4th District ruled that the March and April meetings held by members of the Campbell County Republican Party to vote out their chair and treasurer were invalid.
Following the April meeting, the Republican Party of Kentucky told leaders of the Campbell County GOP that the attempted removal of its chair and treasurer wouldn’t stand because the members who called the meeting didn’t have the authority to do so.
In an email to party leaders, the Director of Local Development, Elizabeth “Hunter” Whitaker, said the vote to remove party leaders on April 13 wouldn’t stand.
“There have been several disputes regarding the meeting minutes submitted, as well as the legitimacy of the meeting held on April 13, 2023,” Whitaker writes. “After review by appropriate parties, it was determined that per RPK Rules 4.02 and 4.03, only the committee chairman has the authority to issue a meeting call. Because the chairman did not call the meeting held on April 13, nor did the chairman conduct the meeting, the business carried out is invalid and cannot be filed with the state party as submitted.”
After that email, the members of the party who participated in the meetings to vote out Zinkhon and Cunningham filed an appeal with the Republican Party of Kentucky’s 4th District against the meeting violation determination.
A hearing was held earlier this month for both sides to argue their case to District 4. The special committee comprised the Fourth District Executive Committee: Chairman Jon Park, Member at Large Janet Cuthrell, Secretary Corey Thomas, Youth Chairman Casmir Thornberry, and Treasurer Justin Vanderglas. Fourth District Vice Chair Sarah Cameron was a former CCRP Chair and recused herself and did not sit for any consideration of the appeal.
“After extensive discussion, the special committee has determined that the appeal is without merit and affirms that Chair Anna Zinkhon and CCRP Treasurer Stephen Cunningham are still properly in their respective positions with the CCRP,” the 4th District Special Committee’s recommendation read.
The recommendation further explained that the removal petition process was not correctly followed by Campbell County Republican Party Committee members and precinct captains based on Robert’s Rules of Order and therefore were not official meetings.
“The special committee denies this appeal and affirms the determination that CCRP Chair Anna Zinkhon and Treasurer Stephan Cunningham are still properly in their respective positions,” the recommendation read.
Succeeding the verdict from District 4, five members of the CCRP signed a petition on June 19 calling for a special meeting, this time ensuring to do the process correct. The petition calls for Zinkhon to call a special session “to address the business of a 30-day removal notice for both Chairman Anna Zinkhon and Treasurer Stephen Cunningham.”
“I signed the petition because we want Anna Zinkhon to call a meeting,” CCRP Precinct Captain and one of the petition signers, Mirna Eads, said. “And we need a special meeting in order to have her and Steve Cunningham removed. And we are not willing to give up or give in, and we’re going to continue until she does her job.”
According to Campbell County Republican Party Election Integrity Chair Tammy Nolan, after the five precinct captains called for a special session, Zinkhon had 10 business days to respond. If Zinkhon does not call a meeting, she said they will file a complaint with District 4.
“We have not had a meeting in six months,” Nolan said. “She’s supposed to have a meeting once every three months. We have not had a meeting since December. We are waiting for the chair to do her job. It is the chair’s job to call this meeting. It has now been requested by five precinct captains, as RPK rules state—five precinct captains can call a special session. But Anna has to call it at a reasonable time and place, and that’s what we’re waiting for.”
Zinkhon told LINK nky she would work with parliamentarians to “create an appropriate agenda to run a good meeting.”
“For the next meeting, finding a location and time is a concern because there are a lot of people gone and out of town,” Zinkhon said. “It’s not fair to have a meeting with only one-half of the problem. That’s the concern, making sure we have fair representation from all people.”
Eads shared Nolan’s frustration with not having a meeting called since last year.
“We haven’t had a meeting since last December,” Eads said. “Anna knows that if she calls a meeting, we’re going to have her removed. But we still have to have meetings.”
Last month Zinkhon sent out a letter to nine party members involved in the March and April meetings asking them to resign.
The letter said the meetings resulted in “malfeasance and harmed the good name of the party” and continued that it is in the “best interest” of the party to resolve the violation promptly, asking the members to resign within 10 days of the notice.
Those asked to resign included the party’s Secretary Martie Bessler, Youth Chair Jessica Neal, Election Integrity Chair Tammy Nolan, Jerry Gearding, and the five committee members that signed the March meeting agenda, Virgil Manzione, Art Kunath, Harriet Arrasmith, Jerry Olson, and Kim Zimmerman.
Members who received those letters told LINK nky last month that they had no intention of resigning.
Nolan said the members who called the meeting did not realize they were doing it incorrectly.
“To have malfeasance, it has to be done purposely,” she said. “Nobody knew what they were doing. This was not being done purposely.”
Nolan said that of the 80-90 party members, they have roughly 40 people who want to vote Zinkhon out as chair.
“We as a party have decided that we’ve had enough,” Nolan said. “Under her leadership, we do not think it’s best, and we would like to have new leadership. We’re at a critical time right now with the governor’s race. Last time Andy Beshear won our county. We’re at a critical time where we should be working.”
Zinkhon told LINK nky that she ran for the chair to help voters.
“I got involved in this because I wanted to help get voters’ information and help voters,” Zinkhon said. “I didn’t get into this because I wanted to use it for my voice or activism; I didn’t do it to better myself or move myself in any way. I did it to help voters and be a good patriot.”