Judge steps into Watts-GOP spat

Longtime Fayette Republican Party mainstay and current member of the Fayette County Board of Elections Marilyn Watts had her say in Fayette County Superior Court June 28 and came away with a temporary restraining order that prevented the Fayette County Commission from honoring the request of the Fayette County Republican Party that she be removed from the elections board.

Watts’ court filing indicated that she had been improperly removed from the elections board by the Republican Party and that the move to do so should have been “for cause.”

A hearing to determine the validity of the Fayette Republican Party’s position on wanting Watts removed as its representative on the elections board, and Watts’ contention that she can continue to serve out her term, is expected this month.

Watts was re-appointed to the elections board in 2012 to serve a four-year term. Fayette County Republican Party Chairman Scott Fabricius on June 12 sent a notice to the County Commission noting a June 11 vote by the executive committee resulting in Watts being removed as the party’s representative. Fabricius in the letter also stated that the party’s executive committee voted unanimously to have Claudia Eisenburg replace Watts on the elections board and requested that commissioners ratify that vote.

For his part, commission Chairman Steve Brown on June 27 said the role of the commission is to certify the choices for the Democrat and Republican parties.

“It is what it is. When Judge Hankinson hears the case we’ll be ready to respond in kind,” Brown said, noting that the agenda item at the June 27 commission meeting was being tabled.