by Lonnie Brennan
Apparently, there are some interesting Republicans in Gloucester, Mass., and, led by Clayton SOVA, they’ve attempted all kinds of things to oust the sitting chair of the Gloucester Republican City Committee.
Finding themselves outnumbered, and not getting their way at multiple meetings, Clayton called his own meeting of the group, voted the chair out, and had his followers appoint him as the new chair. They also made sure they voted in some new members to the committee, oh, and for good measure, pushed the need to have Irene SOVA take a position on the Gloucester board of registrars.
Meanwhile, we received a press release days after Clayton’s actions that along with co-coup member Nicole Coles, the pair has formed a “Gloucester PAC,” (a Political Action Committee apparently dedicated to raise funds to support Clayton and Nicole’s candidates…most likely for MassGOP state committee, but more on that later).
And, if you’re still trying to connect the dots, well, as the line goes: the plot thickens. Clayton and Nicole’s new PAC came about with the “help” from a western Massachusetts PAC which put out a press release on behalf of Clayton, but more on that later. For now, we would suggest you give this whole Clayton PAC a good leave-alone for a bit.
Manifesto of Nits?
You see, Clayton might be a bright – or at least think he’s a bright, educated individual – but nasty is nasty, and dirty is dirty. And just because you can do something, or attempt to do something, doesn’t make it right. But in a 1,287-word e-mail (manifesto?), Clayton not only asserts he’s in the right, but “challenges” the authority of the governing board of the Republican Party in Massachusetts, and its chair.
When the chair of the MassGOP issued a letter that acknowledged the apparent disputes in Gloucester and clearly stated who was in charge (hint: not Clayton), and that no meeting would occur before July 26th, Clayton walked right through it. Actually, Clayton did more than walk through the letter and the MassGOP chair, he essentially told the MassGOP chair to mind her own business, that she’s wrong, and she is all wet; he doesn’t recognize the chair of the MassGOP’s authority in this matter.
Here’s the letter from the MassGOP chair issued days before Clayton’s coup:
Now, to be fair to Clayton, there was apparently a desire to have a cooling-off period after months of pure chaos in Gloucester Republican meetings (see timeline below) – in an attempt to bring calm to disorder (Clayton’s gang’s actions), news floated that July and August meetings would be cancelled to give the multi-month saga a chance to cool down, allow folks to consult with the governing board (the MassGOP), and see if all could somehow work together. Clayton apparently took that note as a green light to call his own meeting, one where he could have the votes to bounce the current chair and install himself as chair. And, that’s exaclty what he did.
Here are the signers of an e-mail sent to all, brandishing the Gloucester Republican City Committee’s name and logo which Clayton’s gang now apparently claim authority to use:
Clayton Sova – newly appointed chair
Robin Hubbard –
Ralph Hobbs Jr. – [“Bud” – Maker of the motion to remove the chair]
Nicole Coles – treasurer of Claytons’ new Gloucester PAC
Mary Pat DeRosa
Cynthia Bjorle – [second the motion to remove the chair]
The interesting thing? The meeting occurred on SUNDAY, July 2, 2023, called to order at 10:14 a.m. at the Mortillaro Lobster Company, 60 Commercial Street, Gloucester, MA 01930, just two days after the MassGOP chair specifically stated in writing that the next official meeting of the Gloucester Republicans would take place on July 26th. (See letter above.)
Looking at this from a distance, you might be tempted to write it off as just a local coup of a local committee and a crazy incident. But, what would happen if this occurred at any group you may be a member of – an action where a small group who couldn’t get their way, decided to take matters into their own hands, find a loophole to call a Sunday morning meeting on the July 4th weekend and oust the sitting committee’s chair, and install their own officers?
More seriously, The Gang Clayton has grabbed the Gloucester Republican City Committee’s logo, e-mail accounts, and may have repeatedly misrepresented themselves to duly elected members of the committee (those elected officials who names appeared on ballots in the city’s elections).
We don’t see this ending well.
TIMELINE: Clayton and friends attempt to oust Gloucester Republican chair at committee meetings. Clayton and friends get outvoted repeatedly. Clayton and friends cause outbursts and chaos at multiple meetings. Clayton and friends finally get Clayton installed as vice chair as a “compromise” to end the feud. From his new position of power, Clayton and his friends cite one line a bylaw and call a special meeting, advertised to oust the sitting chair. This prompts the MassGOP to issue a letter reaffirming the chair, citing MassGOP and Mass. General Laws which govern the actions of the MassGOP and informs Clayton and his gang that the MassGOP trumps any of his would-be coup actions. Clayton walks through the letter from the MassGOP, states the MassGOP has no authority in this matter, and challenges them to prove otherwise. Clayton’s gang then holds a special meeting on Sunday morning, of the July 4th weekend – and on July 2, at 10:14 a.m., Clayton’s gang installs Clayton as chair of the committee.