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Good job. Thoughtful. Realistic. Honest.

Joe Guarino

Sam, I agree with a fair amount of your post. I think I should point out a couple of things, however.

First, I believe Jeff Hyde when he says that there was an attempt to get him out of the race by threatening to "out" Riddleberger's conviction. But that does not mean that the leadership of the local GOP was involved. It is entirely possible this happened without the knowledge of the party's leadership; and that individuals much farther down the totem pole were primarily responsible. I had independently heard (from a non-C4GC source) of the fact that there was concern growing within the GOP ranks last week about Riddleberger's conviction; and it was only later that Jodi wrote her statement on the C4GC Facebook page.

I spoke with Jeff twice in person about his allegations; and I don't think he is lying about this. It is his decision as to whether he will name the parties who threatened him about this; and either way he chooses, it will have major implications. My belief is that he is between a rock and a hard spot on this point. But those who have accused him of lying have not offered a coherent explanation as to why he would have lied about something of this magnitude.

Moreover, they have no evidence that he lied, and in fact cannot have any evidence. Why? Because no one can know the activities of all the persons within the GOP; and of course it is very difficult to prove a negative. How can you possibly prove that a threat was not made?

Second, I think there is little question that the C4GC crowd, on average, is more conservative than the larger group of "regular Republicans". Of course, there is some overlap between the two groups; but there are some (certainly not all) within the latter camp who possess at least somewhat of a moderate streak, as you have pointed out. There have therefore been some tensions between the two groups. The respective visions and methods and experience levels of the two groups are a bit dissimilar.

As you know, I put up a post earlier this week about this matter, and then took it down a couple of hours later. I did not do this because of concerns regarding the accuracy of the post. Instead, I did this for entirely personal reasons.


Joe, the burden of proof is on Jeff. He made the accusation. If Jeff is accurate, that is disturbing. However, if Jeff is not, his accusation without any evidence is equally disturbing. Why create all of this trouble by "outing" Barrett, yet refrain from "outing" those behind it?

Joe Guarino

My understanding is that the C4GC folks were concerned the "outing" would take place during the annual GOP convention. The problem would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to manage in that environment.

I am not sure we know for sure if anyone is "behind" the GOP threat against Jeff. All we know is that there were two people who delivered it; and it is Jeff's call as to whether he will identify them. Even if he did, it would still be a he said/ she said situation. But I believe Jeff, and found him very credible. Again, why would he lie about something like this if his goal was to become chairman of the local GOP?

One other item. There is another individual who can corroborate Jeff's charge, and who was a witness. That person indicated to me last night, in person, the veracity of Jeff's statement regarding the threat.

Danny Fontanelli

Can I get some background info to clear things up for me?

Did Jeff Hyde run against Don Vaughan in the last election? Is he currently holding any office? When is his planned run for Guilford County chairman?

Another question: Why on earth would Riddleberger's wife proactively release this information? Was she trying to do advance damage control? I don't understand the rationale behind it.


Joe, Barrett wasn't running so I don't understand the fear involved on Jeff's part in terms of it affecting his race.

The whole thing appears ill-considered regardless of who is telling the truth.

I think I also understand your reasons for taking down your post and I respect that. The reason I decided to write this piece is because the narrative was being controlled by outsiders who are hostile to everyone on the Right. The information was out there and so much of it was wrong or analyzed in a logically flawed and ignorant manner.

Joe Guarino

When they were confronted with this threat, there were three choices: allow the issue to get raised at the convention, where it would be very difficult to discuss; withdraw from the chairmanship race; or "go public" about the threat. None of these were clean choices, and each had disadvantages. None of the choices were entirely satisfactory. Jeff and Jodi, as I said above, were between a rock and a hard spot. I can't say for sure why Jodi released the information, and have not discussed it with her.


Joe, this was Barrett's problem, not Jeff's. That's why I don't understand the fear. The reaction by Jeff and Jodi just seems not very well thought out.


There was no upside in doing this. Blaming Nancy Vaughan and then backing off from that caused a lot of damage. Surely they knew that the ONLY way they would gain any supporters in the face of the accusation would be if they could prove it. Otherwise, what do you gain by simply going public with the claim that the threat was being made?

I don't see how that helps Jeff anymore than the accusation was supposed to hurt him.

Joe Guarino

Sam, blaming Nancy Vaughan was perhaps an error; but many of us remember that line of thinking might have originated with Fec's post way back when.

As I indicated above, there were no clean choices with respect to what they should have done. Each choice had major downsides. It would have been a very messy situation at the convention if that was going to be the context in which Bret's conviction was first announced publicly; and that scenario would have been very difficult to manage. And I'm sure it seemed unsatisfactory to them to be forced out of the chairmanship race due to a threat of this nature.


If Vaughn did not have anything to do with this then it is far more than "perhaps an error".
Anybody who puts any weight on anything from Fec is asking for trouble. Even I know that.

Spag is right. Spill it or zip it.


Joe, if he claims to know who it was, and it wasn't Nancy, why was she blamed?

This disaster has diminished Jeff's chances more than the revelation about Barrett ever could- unless Jeff can prove his allegation.

That really is the bottom line.

Joe Guarino

Sam, my interest is not in "Jeff's chances" nearly as much as the issue of relating the truth about what happened, as much as I can. With respect to your first statement about Jeff knowing "who it was", I was referring to the people who directly made the threat to him. He knows, because he was physically present and met with them when it happened.

The allegation about Nancy Vaughan was with regard to whether she had been engaged in finding and/or spreading the information about Bret. That is a separate issue.


The Vaughan angle was always a non-starter for me. If you were to believe, and I don't, that she came across this information while investigating Hyde during his race against her husband, why did she sit on it until now? She or husband could have found a way to disclose it, when it might have benefitted them, by trying to damage the C4gc movement. That didn't happen. Instead she decides to involved herself in the GOP Chair race.(?) Even to the most paranoid, does that make sense?

She immediately went to record saying that Hyde and Riddleberger's statements were false, but they remain silent.

I agree it's time for Hyde to name names

Joe Guarino

Grayson, if her statement was that their charges are false about being threatened, she does not have any way to know that. She is not even any longer within the party.

But if she is saying the statements about her finding and spreading the information were false, then we must take her at her word about that, and assume Fec published something about her that was incorrect.


Come on Joe, you know this story well enough that Jodi stated (and then erased) "...Nancy Vaughan spent time at the courthouse during the election cycle trying to find dirt on Jeff's associations and she came across an incident involving my husband...". (HT Ed). Jodi stated it as fact, she didn't qualify it

My post was not addressing the alleged threat, it was addressing Vaughan's role in uncovering the information.

To your statement "assume Fec published something about her that was incorrect". Imagine that! Has everything he ever said about you been factual? Are you comfortable using him as a reference?

Joe Guarino

No, I am not. The C4GC folks do not necessarily know Fec as well as many of us do in the blogosphere. I do not know whether they had any other basis for suspecting Nancy Vaughan's involvement.

But the Nancy Vaughan angle is a side issue. She is not even a Republican. The main issue is that there was apparently a threat from a couple of folks within the local GOP to expose Riddleberger if Hyde did not withdraw from the chairmanship race.


I believe Riddleberger's first name is Barrett.
You may try to make Vaughn's role (or apparently lack thereof) as a side issue but it apparently is somewhat more than that to many others, including myself.

Hyde has no chice. His credibility is on the line. I think C4GC's credibility is on the line as well. It may be too little, too late anyway.

I still care far less about Riddleberger's past than about all this other crap. This is a cluster.

Joe Guarino

The only reason Vaughan was mentioned in the first place was because of the threat to expose Bret (which is what some actually call him).

While I have some concern about how this will affect the local conservative movement, I think something needs to be pointed out. Last night, I attended the county commissioners' meeting, and the group had several speakers from the floor ready to speak, and the team was in attendance. This happened in spite of the events of the last week. It appears many of the folks affiliated with C4GC see the cause as larger and more important than any individuals' frailties -- and rest assured, we all have our frailties.


"The only reason Vaughan was mentioned in the first place was because of the threat to expose Bret.... " I dont even understand that statement, Joe.

I get the Bret v Barrett thing. Some folks call me Mitch. After awhile I got tired of correcting them and it just stuck.

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