Members of the Republican party are angry after a flyer went out in the mail this week in Sebastian suggesting they endorsed Damien H. Gilliams for City Council. The flyer showed the names of Gilliams and three other candidates with a “checkmark” next to it, for the nonpartisan election.
Sebastian Daily received numerous phone calls and emails about the flyer from local citizens.
A member of the Republican Party of Indian River County told Sebastian Daily that it wasn’t an endorsement. Instead, they are only informing voters which candidates are a party member.
Written at the top of the flyer are the words “Official Republican Voter Guide 2022.” Local Republicans don’t believe their party should give Gilliams any mention after what he put the City of Sebastian through in 2020 as well as filing multiple lawsuits against city officials and others.
Gilliams is eligible to run for Sebastian City Council, and he’s on the ballot. Still, he’s also out on bond following a jury conviction for crimes he committed while serving as a councilman in 2020. His criminal case is now pending appeal.
Voters in Sebastian removed Gilliams and two other former council members (Charles Mauti and Pamela Parris) during the Sebastian Recall. The three only served the council for less than a year.
Gilliams is a registered Republican, which is why his name appeared on the flyer. It’s also common for the Republican and Democrat parties to send these flyers out before the election.
The argument comes when many residents don’t believe national political parties should influence local nonpartisan elections. The term “nonpartisan” describes a group or individual that does not expressly support one political party or candidate over another.
In addition, nonpartisan may broadly describe a group or individual that does not promote a particular political ideology.
Nonpartisan is used to describe elections in which the candidates do not run with partisan labels. Nonpartisan elections are generally held for municipal and county positions such as school board and judges.
But some citizens only vote on political party lines, whether Republican or Democrat. They want to see what party a candidate stands with, even if it’s a nonpartisan election.
Should national political parties influence local government and politics? It’s up to the voters to decide.
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