The Massachusetts Republican Party has disqualified 17 Massachusetts Republicans from representing the state at the national convention for refusing to sign an affidavit pledging to support to Mitt Romney at the national convention.
One of them is 18-year-old Wakefield resident Evan Kenney.
Kenney, who was driven to become politically active at a young age, rushed to meet the deadline for delegates which was only 10 days after his 18th birthday. He worked up the nerve to present his speech to hundreds of the most influential Republicans in Massachusetts, including former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker. When others at Wakefield High School were worried about picking out a tuxedo for prom or finishing up finals for graduation, Kenney was focused on recruiting libertarians from across the state to attend the Massachusetts sixth district's caucus at Lynnfield High School in April.
And it was all worth it to Kenney, because he won a seat as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, beating out some big names like Baker and Healey, and also beating out the Romney campaign's list of preferred delegates to win.
Except he was disqualified. Unjustly, he might add.
"Fast forward to May 25th, I got an affadavit in the mail," he said. "It was a poorly written thing that was totally legally invalid, but it said that I would affirm under penalty of perjury to vote for Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention."
That type of affidavit had never been required to be signed before, and is not in the Republican party's rules, according to an article in the Boston Globe.
Kenney said his problem with the affidavit was not that he would be required to vote for Romney. He was already required to do so by Massachusetts law. He said he couldn't sign under the penalty of perjury to swear to an action he would undertake in the future.
Kenney eventually turned in the affidavit, along with several others who initially refused to sign. But he, and16 other delegates from the Liberty Caucus were still disqualified from representing the party at the national convention, he said.
"There’s been a lot of disappointment, a lot of disheartening, some anger that I realized I had to control it because if I get angry and lash out, those few elite Republicans win," he said. "I feel I've been cheated."
Kenney said he's still a proud member of the Republican party, but considers the leadership of the party to be the problem.
"I'm angry at Ed McGrath and the corrupt leadership," he said. "I do not dismiss all Republicans because of this elite group of weasels. I told him I was not going to be an issue, I gave him a notarized affidavit and he didn’t say anything to me until he sent me a letter that said we’re going to kick you out because we believe you’re going to be a problem."
Kenney said the Republican party dismissed 17 delegates, all of them Liberty delegates, because they are "worried about people embarrassing Romney."
"If Ron Paul supporters went down and voted for him on the ballot, it's first of all against Massachusetts law, but they would also be discredited and that's not the goal of the Liberty Caucus," he said.
In the Massachusetts Liberty Caucus's official statement, Brad Wyatt said the organization is "disappointed" in the actions of the Republican Allocation Committee.
"The continued arrogant attitudes and clear manipulation of the rules by members of MassGOP leadership are a perfect example of why almost 90% Massachusetts residents refuse to be a Registered Republican and active in the Massachusetts Republican Party."
Despite his issues with the leadership, Kenney said he is still a dedicated member of the party. But he's calling for the Republican State Committee to reinstate the 17 ousted delegates and alternate delegates.
"I want to honor my contract and I want to represent [Massachusetts Republicans] in August," he said. "I would want those who were elected, those 17, to go to Tampa. I want them to have their rightful position and I want [the leadership] to say, 'Sorry guys, we made a mistake.'"