The California Republican Party is being roiled by a controversy stemming from allegations about the private life of chairman Ron Nehring.
Last night, the San Diego GOP voted by 44-1 to boot one of its members from the county’s central committee, citing “inappropriate behavior.” The member, Michael Crimmins, who was the party’s nominee in 2008 against incumbent Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis, had sent an email to state party leaders, raising concerns about the behavior of Nehring and San Diego County chair Tony Krvaric.
A statement from the party about Crimmins’s ouster did not directly reference his email about Nehring, but said, “It is unfortunate when a situation like this occurs, but the Republican Party of San Diego County has zero tolerance for racial, discriminatory, harassing and other inappropriate behavior.”
In his email, Crimmins, who is gearing up for another run for Congress, referenced another email, sent anonymously to party leaders and the media shortly before, which had alleged that Nehring, a protege of Grover Norquist, physically abused Michaelene Mansour, a former resort manager he met on Match.com — allegations Nehring denies. That email also alleged that Nehring and Krvaric had then pressured Mansour’s employer, the Sycuan Resort near San Diego, to fire her. Mansour left her job late last year. Crimmins said those alleged acts by Nehring and Krvaric were “atrociously abusive of their power.”
The Sacramento Bee looked at photographs showing bruises on Mansour’s body, that she said were caused by Nehring. She said the alleged abuse happened after he became incensed when she quizzed him about suspected infidelities. (The Bee spoke to several woman who said they were involved with Nehring during the period when he was dating Mansour.) She said she considered going to the cops but never followed through, still hoping the relationship could be repaired.
But Nehring denies abusing Mansour. “Truth is always the best defense and there is absolutely no truth to any of this,” he said in a statement. “I have never assaulted anyone in my life and I deeply resent these libelous allegations.” The Bee found no evidence of charges filed against Nehring in connection with the alleged abuse. And another of Nehring’s former girlfriends told the paper: “Ron was 100 percent a gentleman with me.”
But Crimmins doesn’t seem to be the only person who’s using the allegations to go after Nehring. In response to Crimmins’s email, an anonymous email sent Thursday to party activists and reporters announced a news conference of San Diego party leaders, who would call for the resignations of Nehring and Krvaric. The email alleged that the two men had harassed Mansour when she considered taking her allegations to legal authorities. It’s not clear whether that news conference has occurred.
Nehring already has provoked opposition within the party during his tenure as chairman. He hired as party staffers two men, one from Austria and one from Canada, with immigration problems. He has been accused of overusing his expense account, and fundraising for the party has been anemic lately.