By Tessa Roy, WPRO News
Citing a number of practices she calls “lawful but awful,” State Representative Moira Walsh announced her last-minute bid for Chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.
“I’ve been actively fighting for rules reform, transparency, democracy, and equity within the State House, so it should come as no surprise that I expect the same from my party,” she said.
Walsh said she didn’t want her run to look like a “personal” or “petty” jab at current party Chairman Joseph McNamara. Though she acknowledged it as an issue, she said the party’s endorsement of her Trump supporting, ex-Republican opponent Michael Earnheart in the last primary election was not the main factor behind her decision.
“As we got closer and closer to the election and I saw that nobody was going to challenge [McNamara], I started getting more and more confident that somebody needed to, and as more and more Democratic Committeemen and women came out and asked me to run, I realized that it was in the best interest of my community and my party,” she said.
Walsh said she sees issues within the party that reflect problems at the State House. She said too much power is concentrated to the chair, and that the party’s election process is unfair.
“The incumbents have access to information that us newcomers do not. The incumbents have for weeks been able to call, send mailers, and email members of the Democratic Party because they have access to those lists. People like myself do not,” she said. “One of the many reasons that I called this press conference today is because it is one of the only ways that I can actively advocate for myself to run for this seat because they have made it incredibly difficult to unseat any incumbent in this party.”
The election for party chair is Sunday, when Walsh said she’ll be also asking members to censure McNamara for “violating the endorsement bylaws of our party.” WPRO has reached out to McNamara for comment.