County's GOP chair announces resignation

-A A +A
By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

After a tumultuous year marked by dozens of letters to the editor defending and discrediting her leadership, Oldham County GOP Chair Anne Gernstein has resigned amid allegations of malfeasance.

Gernstein announced her plans to resign during a GOP meeting Wednesday night in Crestwood, just a week after a local official requested she be removed from office.

Her resignation is effective Friday, according to a letter she read to the crowd.

Pewee Valley resident JD Sparks, a Republican recently elected to serve as an Oldham County magistrate, requested that Gernstein be removed from office Feb. 10.

In a letter filed with the 4th District Republican Party Chair and the State Republican Party, Sparks said Gernstein has acted in malfeasance in her capacity as the county chair and has severely damaged the reputation of the county’s Republican party.

Despite rumors of the contrary, Gernstein told The Oldham Era repeatedly in recent weeks that she had no plans to resign.

Sparks said the party has experienced a mass withdrawal of support and participation as non-partisan political clubs are growing in strength, and has asked that Gernstein be replaced by the GOP’s vice chair.

Gernstein’s leadership has been in question publicly since July when she and other GOP leaders selected La Grange attorney John Carter to fill a void on the November ballot. Longtime county attorney John Fendley, who won the Republican primary in May, died following a farm accident in June.

Voters across the county criticized Gernstein and her committee for a hasty decision in selecting Carter - a decision that some say was improperly influenced by Gernstein.

Carter later won the county attorney’s race.

GOP supporters fired back and forth in The Era’s letters to the editor, both defending and discrediting Gernstein’s character.

In a November letter to the editor about Gernstein’s leadership, Pewee Valley resident Don Helton said integrity and character aren’t flip words.

“I believe it is better to have a person with integrity and character as county party chair who may not give as many hours to the Republican Party than having to justify keeping Gernstein in the position,” he said.

But others say Gernstein is credited for the county’s all-Republican fiscal court elected in November.

La Grange resident Tom White wrote to The Era in November in support of Gernstein, describing her as “a loyal conservative” who has kept an office for Republican headquarters for years.

“If one would notice, and apparently some have ignored, that she has done a yeoman’s job of building conservatism in this county,” he said.

The county's GOP is expected to reorganize in the coming weeks and elect new officers.

E-mail us about this story at: editor@oldhamera.com.