The State Executive Committee of the Hawaii Republican Party has voted to remove Tito Montes “for cause” from the office of chair of House District 40 (Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Iroquois Point). 

According to a press release yesterday from the local GOP, “Montes, as president of another organization, published or approved the publication of appeals to members of the Party and others to refrain from making monetary contributions to the Party.”

District 40 is one of only seven House districts represented by a Republican, Bob McDermott. Montes is president of the Hawaii Republican Assembly, a conservative faction that also includes Willes Lee, a former chair of the Hawaii Republican Party and a harsh critic of its recent leadership.

Tito Montes.
Tito Montes. HIRA

The party said in a statement, “The Hawaii Republican Party values diversity and differences of opinion on issues and on the direction of the Party expressed constructively with aloha in appropriate forums. Elected officers of the Party are expected to support the Party’s success and to refrain from actively hindering its activities.”

The Hawaii Republican Assembly, or HIRA, as it’s called, has been highly critical of the Hawaii Republican Party, also known as the HRP. That criticism has increased significantly in recent weeks.

On Aug. 20, Montes sent out an email blast titled “HRP’S Major $120,000+ Financial Scandal: New Party Chairman Rohlfing Lavishes Big Buck$$ On Political Nephyte.”

The “neophyte” in question is Marcia Tagavilla, who is the executive director of the Hawaii GOP. Fritz Rohlfing is the party’s chair.

Tagavilla told Civil Beat that it was this email that prompted the removal of Montes from this district post. In the email, Montes states, “Don’t Contribute A Penny To The Scandal-Ridden HRP” until Tagavilla is removed from her post.

In another email blast today, Montes fired back, defending his position on campaign donations and saying in part, “Here’s the awful truth: The empty shell of a political organization which calls itself the Hawaii Republican Party is now merely pretending to exist.”

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