After party tweets about QAnon, Hawaii GOP chair resigns
After a senior party member used an official Twitter account to submit tweets supporting followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, the chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party resigned.
In a statement, Shirlene Ostrov stepped down 'œto allow the party to rebound from the controversy and concentrate on seeking outstanding candidates and fighting for policies that enhance the quality of life for the hard-working families of Hawaii,' the party said. On Sunday, her resignation took effect.
Ostrov said that since President Joe Biden was inaugurated, the party has been 'œredefining itself.'
The statement quoted her as saying, "We have a strong but important choice to make: either we re-dedicate ourselves to our Constitution and continue to defend and uphold our best American institutions and traditions or we are distracted by conspiracy theories and social media wars."
On Jan. 24, one day after publishing the tweets on the Hawaii GOP account, Edwin Boyette, who had served as the state party's vice chairman for communications, resigned.
'We can make it perfectly clear - a genuine and profound love for America was primarily inspired by the people who subscribed to the Q fiction. County (sic) patriotism and love can never be mocked,' said one of the tweets, which were later removed.
QAnon advocates endorse a theory of deception rooted in the false conviction that former President Donald Trump was battling deep state adversaries and a group of cannibals adoring Satan running a web of child sex slavery. Some QAnon adherents were among the crowd that invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as lawmakers counted votes from Electoral College validating the victory of Biden.
Ostrov served for four years as chairman. In 2016, in the special election to fill the remaining term of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai after his death, the retired Air Force colonel was defeated by former Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
She had mixed results as chairperson, seeking to increase the number of Republicans in the Democrats-dominated state legislature.
Rep. Val Okimoto, a Republican who represents Mililani's Honolulu suburb in the state house, said the resignation of Ostrov was important for the party's future and'œa critical part " of her taking responsibility for what happened on the social media account of the party.
It is high time that we become Lincoln's party and not a fringe party. Hawaii deserves more than that. It deserves a two-party system that works,' Okimoto said in an emailed statement. "It deserves a Republican Party that fights for the people's best interests instead of fighting between themselves."
Ostrov worked hard and did a decent job, Republican State Rep. Bob McDermott said, but she made the right decision to get a fresh start.
On Monday, neither Ostrov nor Boyette returned messages requesting comment to The Associated Press.
In the November general election, Republicans lost one of their five seats in the state House, leaving them with just four out of the 51 seats in the chamber. The party retains one of the state Senate's 25 seats.
Boyd Ready, the first vice chairman of the party, will serve as acting chairman. A new chairman and executive committee will be elected by the party in May.
Ostrov invigorated the Hawaiian GOP, brought in national resources to assist candidates and presided over a 60% rise in party members in 2020, the party's statement said.
As immediate past chairman, Ostrov will continue to serve on the party's executive committee and will support party efforts to elect more Republicans.