Former chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party Mark Smiley is seeking to revive the Rhode Island Republican Assembly (RIRA), which is meant to be a home for explicitly conservative Republicans:
Like many individuals and groups in the Republican Party, energy wanes, and groups lose momentum. However, this State and our Party needs an organization directly supporting Conservative Candidates. The Rhode Island Republican Assembly (RIRA) is that organization and we need to bring it back.
Smiley pledges that the group won’t resume its sometimes-contentious relationship with the state party, but I wonder if the possibility of comity is in some small way related to the group’s decline. Back when the party was divided between a Chafee wing and a Carcieri wing, there was a clearer need and interest for a distinct group.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t a need for a conservative Republican group, but that the contention might have kept the group going for longer than generally waning participation might have otherwise allowed. With a relatively conservative Republican Party, those who remain active are more likely to focus their attentions there.
More participation is critical, though, so if the resurrection of RIRA inspires people to do more and bring more people into the fold, that’s a good thing. If you’re interested, head to the state GOP headquarters at 1:00 today.