Yesterday, I was sent this text of a recent facebook post from a Very Respected Member of the local Republican party. It was, of course, not the first time I had heard rumblings about the Grand Paulbot Scheme, but I thought it was so articulate and specific in terms of laying out the secret plan, that it deserved a re-post:
“This needs to be said and the time is now. The current Clark County Republican Party leadership consists of at least 99.9 per cent Paulbot activists. Having acquired the vast majority of PCOs (by any means necessary), they now control the dispensation of funds and the ability to enhance the prospects of their chosen candidates in the upcoming primary election. BE WARNED!!! These people who call themselves Republicans support ONLY other Paulbots.”
Naturally, I was alarmed upon reading that our Executive board was only supporting their friends to the detriment of everyone else. We had, after all, taken great pains to pass new by-laws forbidding party participation in primaries after years of the old CCRP using their resources against us, e.g. paying $5000 of party funds to support certain PCO candidates over others, allowing only their candidates to speak at Lincoln Day Dinners, shutting down conventions and refusing to fill incomplete delegations when their anointed Presidential candidate wasn’t winning, etc. I would really hate to have done all of that work with the PCO Liberty Alliance, only to find that our new board was doing the same things as the old board.
I decided to investigate this claim. Having received secret information from my mole at CCRP headquarters (she made me take out the garbage first), I can now confirm what many have suspected, that the Paulbots (and the other board members who, as it turns out, never voted for Ron Paul) are giving away alarming amounts of party money to candidates. Some of this info is very recent, the Executive Board having voted to distribute funds only a few days ago. What follows is the entire list of CCRP donations year-to-date:
1. Jeanne Stewart (County Commissioner): $8500
2. Lynda Wilson (17th LD Representative): $7000
3. Anson Service (49th LD Representative): $3500
4. Liz Pike (18th LD Representative): $1000
5. Scott Weber (Clark County Clerk): $1000
6. Lauren Colas (Clark County Treasurer): $1000
7. Peter Van Nortwick (Clark County Assessor): $500
8. Josie Townsend (Clark County Prosecutor): $500
Now, I know what you are thinking as you read these names: “Wait a minute, none of those people who received money have ever voted for Ron Paul!” That was my thought as well. In trying to uncover the Secret Paulbot Agenda, it seems like this part didn’t fit. Not only did the board give $23,000 to candidates, significantly more than the $14,850 that the old board did in all of 2012, but they didn’t give a cent to anyone in a contested primary, even to the lone Paul supporter running as a Republican for office in Clark County. So what gives? Is the Secret Paulbot Agenda so nefarious that it is undetectable to the naked eye? Are they using invisible ink and disks that self-destruct in five seconds? I mean, we know the people telling us about the plot are credible, right? They would never just make things up out of thin air would they?
As I continued my investigation, looking for clues about the Grand Paulbot Scheme, I was able to come up with some possible signs that the new leadership is ruining the party. For example, they are sending increasing numbers of PCOs out into neighborhoods to bother people about politics and they litter neighborhoods with more signs and literature from candidates. They even abandoned the old headquarters, the party’s only contact with the at-risk population at Highway 99 and Hazel Dell, in favor of a newer office in the middle of the county, so that more of these ‘Republicans’ might actually use it. I also hear they are secretly planning on having a convention in 2016 that elects all of the delegates, but that may be just wild speculation. So there is evidence of change that even people like Rep. Jim Moeller have noticed and have every right to publicly condemn. As we already established in a previous post, Moeller would like the Republican party to go back to the way it was before, and apparently, some Very Respected Republicans agree with him. Perhaps this is what Moeller means when he talks about his efforts to “reach across the aisle”?
This year’s election cycle may have more turbulance than usual as three local Republican incumbents have drawn grassroots-oriented primary opponents. In the 3rd Congressional district, Michael Delavar (R-Washougal) is running against Jaime Herrera-Beutler. In the 18th Legislative district, John Ley (R-Camas) is challenging Brandon Vick for the State Representative seat, and in the 17th, Chris Rockhold (L-Vancouver) squares off against Representative Paul Harris. While each candidate brings a slightly different approach to their campaigns, they all have one interesting thing in common; they are all airline pilots.
So why do pilots feel such an easy transition from their jobs to becoming leaders in the political sphere? It makes intuitive sense: Pilots are often entrusted with the lives of hundreds of passengers every day. They are also skilled in communicating with those passengers in a confident and competent manner. They are trained to deal with crisis-situations with calmness and maturity. Finally, they are accustomed to developing and communicating a flight plan in advance of acting upon it. All of these traits find corresponding activity in politics, and experience in these areas can be a refreshing change. Wouldn’t it be nice, for instance, if all of our elected leaders gave us a ‘flight plan’ before their term started so that we could know for certain what specific direction they intended to take our government? So many politicians give us general platitudes and fluff so that we’re never actually sure who we are electing until well after they are in office, and usually it is an unpleasant surprise to find out who they really are. It would also be nice if our local elected officials were as well-trained as pilots have to be before they can go up in the air.
As always, there is a tendency to default to the incumbent in any race, which gives Delavar, Ley, and Rockhold a tall mountain to climb. Jaime Herrera, for instance, raised just under $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2014 alone. Vick and Harris have also successfully tapped into the corporate donation sources that usually ensure incumbent victory. Corporations are looking for candidates who can provide a tangible ‘return on investment’, like the kind Boeing got last year when a special session of the legislature was called just to give them a huge package of tax breaks. That ROI is usually not to be expected from a principled candidate who votes his conscience and has a strong set of ideals to guide his or her vote. Maybe that principled candidate would vote the same way as the prospective corporate donor, but then again, maybe not. Typically, the ‘Moderate’ faction of both parties is happy to provide that consistently malleable presence in the legislature that can be influenced with campaign funds to vote in favor of the corporate donor. By filling the legislature with such ‘Moderates’, it quite naturally follows that we get the corporate welfare and massive spending that is so typical of the big government paradigm.
Note that I am not saying all corporate donations are a sign that a candidate is a ‘sell-out’. Corporations have the right to participate in the political world too, but having a lot of them usually means that a candidate has something to ‘pay back’ in terms of voting and legislating. When searching for a principled candidate, I like to look in the PDCs and see a healthy percentage of donations coming from private citizens. Note John Ley , for instance, who has done a pretty good job of fundraising from private citizens so far. Quite a few folks were so convinced that he would be a good candidate, they gave to his campaign from their own private funds. That is compelling. Rockhold and Delavar also draw the vast majority of their support from private donors.
It will take a strong grassroots movement, including private individuals volunteering and donating their shekels, in order for any of these aviators to succeed against such strong headwinds. While many challengers are somewhat less than serious about campaigning and even less so about actually being an effective legislator, I know all three of these men, and I consider all three worth the time to check out. Each one has a vision and is asking questions that need to be asked of our often complacent leadership. Each one is also devoted to promoting the principles of small government and personal liberty, which I consider a requirement to win my vote.
Jim Moeller hates the current crop of Republican PCOs so much, he spent a good portion of his CVTV campaign speech talking about us. We’re famous!
(Full Text Below)
“My name is Jim Moeller, and I want to thank you for the great honor of representing the 49th District in Olympia. In this election, we’ve never had a clear choice to make. Throughout my career, I’ve worked diligently to reach across the aisle to make sure that partisan feuds do not block the basic business of the people. Even in stormy political weather, basic bills can get passed. However, I must report to you that the local Republican party and its representatives in Olympia are personally responsible, not only for killing any possibility of replacing the I-5 bridge within the next 10-20 years, but that they also personally blocked needed and vital transportation improvements from Spokane to Seattle in the past two years. The local Republican Party has been taken over at the Precinct Officer level by its most extreme fractions. Now each and every one of our local Republican officeholders is beholden to a very narrow band of people. These folks offer nothing new but ‘no’. In place of a real bridge project, we now have a pretend community…committee, operating as a political fig leaf to cover incompetent and irresponsible actions of some of our country’s Republican delegation. Our County Commission is now viewed statewide as a laughingstock, while our essentially part-time Congresswoman has no economic plan beyond collecting a paycheck and getting re-elected. The proud party of Lincoln is now an organization of zealots, run by ideologues on behalf of bored billionaires, all of whom operate without any accountability. And now, now they favor placing a large, polluting oil terminal in the heart of this district, on our largest river, and support having long oil trains run throughout this community day and night, each one with enough explosive power to level the downtown or any of the communities along the way. These people…the people have opposed this idea in every way they can, and yet my opponents, one of whom has a long political history of claiming to be the people’s voice, still favors this job-killing, community-killing, and river-killing plan. I know we can do better. In this election, lets come together and make a statement. This summer, when our ballots arrive, let’s not put off voting, let’s not pretend it doesn’t really matter. Early…nearly every day, my constituents have to sit in the tie-up in the middle of the day while our Woodrow Wilson-era drawbridge goes up. One of my opponents even said that the drawbridge is “perfectly fine”. It’s not perfectly fine. I need your help; more importantly I need your vote. This election is all about us, because our state government needs to serve us, our needs, our communities, our families. Please join me in this fight.”
So, to recap:
1. A multi-billion-dollar light rail project that gets most of its funding via extreme tolling of Vancouver residents who work in Oregon qualifies as ‘basic business of the people’ in Jim Moeller’s economy. Of course, this is the same Jim Moeller who thought jacking up the gas tax to record levels was a good idea, as well as the man who bilks the taxpayers for the highest per diem claims of any legislator in Washington.
2. When a bunch of regular citizens dare to notice what Moeller and his pro-light rail buddies are doing and interrupt their busy lives to stand up to this cronyism, they are called ‘zealots’, and, perhaps worse, ‘extreme fractions’. I’m not exactly sure what he means by the latter comment, but it may refer to the fact that we were in favor of a bridge solution that was an extreme fraction of the cost of implementing a light rail system that nobody was going to use. After reviewing the last few votes on the light rail issue in Clark County and the resounding defeats it has suffered at the hands of two thirds of Clark County residents, one wonders if he understands at all the concept of ‘fractions’ and which side of the median his position is on. Perhaps a remedial math course would not go amiss for Rep. Moeller?
3. While the numbers of Republican PCOs continues to set records after each new election cycle, Jim Moeller sees them as a ‘narrow band of people’ compared to the salad days of yore when there were far less PCOs, but they were more to Moeller’s liking. Meanwhile, Republican PCOs continue to outnumber their Democrat counterparts by nearly a 3-to-1 margin. So I guess Moeller, who is himself a Democrat PCO, knows something about narrow bands of people, since he has doubtless been to a few Democrat party meetings.
4. According to Moeller, Republican PCOs want to explode everything: communities, rivers, and kittens. Apparently this rhetoric is part of his efforts to ‘reach across the aisle’ and avoid ‘partisan feuds’. He’s just so genuine, isn’t he?
The hope is that the 49th District will see through this crook and vote for Lisa Ross, who, by virtue of being a C.P.A. is at a minimum able to understand fractions, and how large the fraction of incomes in Clark County already go to taxes. Please consider voting for Lisa if you live in the 49th District.
After weeks of searching, the Clark County Republican Party has found a new home.
Today, CCRP Chairman Kenny Smith and Vice-Chairman Brenda Poletti signed papers on a new headquarters at 9401 NE Covington, in the Five Corners neighborhood. The location is near the center of the county, and about 4.6 miles due east from the old headquarters on Hazel Dell Avenue. In addition to being a closer drive for the majority of Republicans in the county, the newer and better-maintained structure is an upgrade in terms of visibility and aesthetics. The Five Corners neighborhood is also deemed among the safer neighborhoods in the area, and hopefully the new headquarters will not be subject to the same vandalism that plagued the old location. The fact that there are no retail stores in the building should also improve the parking situation for evening meetings.
In keeping with their commitment to reach out to the community, the CCRP plans to have staff available during business hours. Chairman Smith believes that all meetings except for the quarterly central committee PCO gatherings will be held in the new building. He also looks forward to taking advantage of the sign space and high-traffic location to make a strong presence for the Republic Party in the county, which has been a concern for many Republicans since the lease with the old location was discontinued in 2013.
Having visited the site yesterday, it appears to this writer that the executive board hit a home run, and just in time to be a support for campaigns throughout the county. While there were concerns that the old building was not being used enough to justify the cost, the greater accessibility, particularly for volunteers from the 17th Legislative District (where a lot of the campaign action is) should increase the utility for the party as a whole. Many thanks are due to all of the folks who donated to make this building a reality.
On Monday, May 19th, we discovered that at least three candidates for PCO had been filed against their will by a third party and a number of others had been filed without being present and without swearing their oath to uphold the Constitution. While much is known in Clark County about the source of those names, Former 18th LD Republican District Chair Mary Graham, the identity and origin of the one doing the filing has been less definitive, given that he hails from King County. So who is this fellow, and why would he take an interest in PCO races several counties away?
While our information is still limited, and he recently took his facebook page down shortly after our original post on Monday, we have been able to gather a few facts of interest (with a hat tip to Roberta Stephani and Doug Parris of The Reagan Wing ).
Richard ‘Apollo’ Fuhriman is a 45-year-old lawyer from Bothell, WA. He has been to two Republican National Conventions, most recently in 2012 as an elected delegate from CD1. Given that there are only three elected delegates for an entire Congressional District, we can assume that he is very well known in Snohomish and King County.
Fuhriman has also served as a paid employee of the King County Republican Party from 2010 to 2011, and the Mitt Romney campaign in 2012. He also was involved in PCO recruiting during 2012 when he sent this email which I found interesting:
-——- Original Message ——–
Subject: **Republican PCO sign up deadline today at 4 pm***
Date: Fri, 18 May 2012 15:02:48 -0700
I am looking for someone to run as PCO (precinct committee officer—your neighborhood leader) in your precinct, and I hope that you will be able to do it. It would be a very big help to the Republican Party if you would do so. To sign up, it only takes about 2 minutes, and it is very needed at this time as we try to build on the recent conservative election successes we have been having around the country.
(If you remember the district convention and the people creating all the disturbances* one of those delegates may have filed to run as PCO in your precinct.)
The minimum that a PCO needs to do is get elected and then attend one meeting in December to elect party leadership. It also provides an opportunity to become a part of the grass-roots efforts to help win our local, state and federal races with tools and data, as well as training.
The party (and I) could really use your help with this.
Mitt Romney for President
Aside from his obvious reference to Paul delegates that everyone should watch out for, Fuhriman also uses the same recruiting pitch we have seen among the Establishment here in Clark County, that one need only go to ‘one meeting in December’ to elect leadership. Apparently, back then he was still appealing to the recruits themselves to file for candidacy, rather than doing it for them.
In 2014, this is a sample email he sent to recruits in Clark County:
> From: “Vote GOP” email@example.com
> Date: May 18, 2014 at 9:11:41 PM PDT
> Subject: PCO
> Good evening!
> There is a group that does not want different voices within the Republican party. OUR Party. It appears that they are trying underhanded tactics just to win power and control.
> I find their intentional tactics deplorable. I hope that you will not bow to the pressure and please do not sign their withdrawal form.
> If you have any questions, please ask. We want your voice, we need good Republicans like you to continue to be a PCO.
> Thank you!
> I look forward to working with you in the future!
The phrase, “I find their intentional tactics deplorable” is, of course, fraught with irony, but the most interesting thing about this email is the address, firstname.lastname@example.org, which is also the email address given for a local Clark County PCO candidate for whom Apollo filed. So now, every transmission having to do with being a PCO is being sent, not to the candidate, but to Apollo in King County. If the CCRP doesn’t change it, they will also be sending call-to-meeting and other PCO-related information to Apollo.
We caught some flak from members of the WSRP after we asked if Apollo was actually a WSRP operative. While it may be true that he is not doing these PCO filings at the behest of the WSRP, the above email from 2012 seems to indicate that he was working on their behalf. “The party (and I) could really use your help with this.” He seems also to be speaking for the Party in the more recent email.
So what is a recent King County Republican Party employee doing recruiting PCOs in Clark County and then filing them whether they wanted to run or not? Why are all of his recruits of a certain ‘moderate’ political hue? Who sent him, and who were his contacts here in Clark County? Is the State Party trying to re-shape a Clark County party that has grown too liberty-oriented, or is someone trying to pave the way for a moderate Presidential candidate like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush?
In the midst of the PCO tussle in social media, a great story has been altered unrecognizably by a couple of local bloggers. The original intent of the idea for PCO candidates in contested precincts to contact their counterparts was so that either one who really didn’t want to run would yield to the more enthusiastic candidate, or two willing volunteers in the precinct might come to a meeting of the minds and find common ground, since one would end up being the other’s PCO eventually anyway. In my own precinct, my PCO stepped down as a gesture of goodwill so that I could run and assume the responsibilities of the office while he took a position on another committee. He and I have helped each other canvass and distribute literature in our precinct while he was PCO, and will continue to do so as friends and fellow Republicans now that I have the job. Rather than having a race against each other, we have chosen to unite to help great candidates in the 17th LD. It can work this way, despite the rampant cynicism that has been on display all over the internet.
Another instance of this successful collaboration is from a friend of mine, David Hedrick. David is a former Congressional candidate, and once did the political community a great service by catching a sign thief in the act as he attempted to take a PCO sign. More recently, he has been a made a focal point for the local debate about soliciting opponent withdrawals. Rather than listen to the agenda-driven words of political partisans, Here is his story in his own words:
Because I do not wish to further malign the name of the innocent, for the purposes of this statement I’m going to refer to my former PCO opponent simply as my neighbor.
There are two primary reasons an individual would voluntarily run for Republican PCO. One, the person has a sincere desire to represent their precinct to the Republican Party. Two, the person is willing to step up to the plate and make sure the job gets done when an individual in the former camp has not volunteered. Both of these reasons are honorable justifications to throw one’s hat into the race. Arguably, the latter demonstrates a more transparently selfless sense of duty than the former.
Around the middle of last week, I filed as a candidate for Republican PCO seeking to represent my fellow Republicans from Precinct #681. Shortly after filing, I found that another individual from my precinct had also filed around the same time that I had.
After discovering this, I decided that I would introduce myself to my opponent and attempt to find out “which” of the reasons above, had led her to seek the position. I assumed that a person in the second group would likely be happy to hand over the seat. Of course, if she was in the first group, I would have a great opportunity to wish her luck and promise for my part, a clean, fair race.
On Friday night, I set out to do just that. I had the pleasure of meeting my neighbor and her husband at their home. As you can imagine, we talked politics. We discussed political issues, gave an abbreviated synopsis of our respective political histories and shared our opinions of various local political races. It quickly became clear, that we had much more in common than otherwise. It also became apparent that my neighbor was primarily in the second group, willing to unselfishly sacrifice her time and do the heavy lifting if necessary for the benefit of our political party, but with no great desire to hold the position for the sake of commanding the grandiose title of Republican PCO. At the beginning of our conversation, she was not aware that she had an opponent and stated as much.
It was important to me that I wasn’t convincing her to make a decision that she was not prepared to make. In fact, on multiple occasions I asked my neighbor if she was sure that she wanted to withdraw. I believe I made it quite clear, that while I was prepared to accept the position, I would rather face an election than have her regret her decision to withdraw.
She was very clear about her choice. She even graciously offered to help me campaign, presumably if I had another challenger.
The next day at an event, I expressed my excitement at how the former evening had worked out. Because I do not have to focus on my own PCO seat, I will be able to devote more of my time and efforts to getting Republican’s into office and sending choice liberal Democrats packing in the process. I had also met a new Republican ally who seemed keen to assist good candidates for office. I looked at the whole thing as a big win for the Republican Party.
It wasn’t until tonight that I was informed that some kind of created controversy had come out of this.
Those who actually know me, know that I do not make it a practice to respond to the spiteful blogging crowd. Since the moment I first took that mic, I have faced attacks from the extreme left wing of both parties by individuals where the truth is more irrelevant than an oath of office to a Democrat. To be honest, the attacks have always bothered my friends and family much more than they have ever bothered me. Of course, I’m not talking about everyone out there with a blog. Instead, I’m referring specifically to the intellectually dishonest keyboard warriors who are so quick to dismantle the efforts of others, always prepared to unleash their venom on those who are out there in our community endeavoring to change a world that their critics do nothing more than blog about. What great political courage it must take when carpal tunnel is the largest hazard.
The problem here is that there is an implication that’s being suggested by default, and this implication is the very reason I elected to respond. If I somehow tricked my opponent into relinquishing her competitive bid, she was stupid enough to fall for it. This position is as insulting as it is wrong. The intelligence my neighbor displayed during our conversation was transparently clear and anyone who spends two minutes speaking with her would know this. She was in no way politically naive. Implicitly accusing a fellow Republican of stupidity or naiveté when you have no evidence to support such an accusation is something that should not be tolerated by any Republican no matter which side of the isle he or she finds themselves on.
From here, I’m going to go back to campaigning to elect Republicans to office. I can only assume that my neighbor still plans to do the same and I look forward to working with her in the future.
And for the critics, you can go back to typing about how nothing I say or do can be trusted anyway, making up facts of your choice as you go. Just please, for your own sake, don’t forget to stretch those hands and arms before you start.
David William Hedrick
It appears that a Washington State Republican Party operative has been caught filing at least 20 online PCO applications on behalf of Clark County residents, some of whom had no intention of filing and gave no permission to use their names. Richard ‘Apollo’ Fuhriman, a lawyer and former Bothell City Council candidate who is no stranger to filing for office from outside of his voting district has apparently expanded his operations to include PCO filings way down here in Clark County. On a day when the local chatter among establishment sympathizers has been on an email sent by Christian Berrigan urging PCO candidates to call their opponents in order to assess their level of enthusiasm, the real news story is that there was a very good reason for making those phone calls, namely, that several of those candidates never wanted to file in the first place.
Our search began with a funny message from a PCO who had never shown up for a meeting in two years who we questioned regarding whether or not she was serious about running again. The fact that this perpetually-absent PCO had filed on the first day possible, along with a number of other ‘Spectator PCOs’ had made us wonder why they were so prompt in refiling. In following up with her, she told us that she had never filed, nor wanted to file. What follows is the chronology of events that led to the discovery of what may be election fraud.
* (PCO 1) alerted us that she had sent an email last week stating that she did not want to file. She stated that she never gave anyone permission to file for her. She provided an email from someone named ‘Apollo’ (later traced to King County) who had solicited her application for PCO.
* The email address for ‘Apollo’, email@example.com, was used as the file email address for another PCO candidate (PCO2). That email still appears in the PCO rolls that can be found here . Upon being called by the elections office, PCO2 indicated that he had given permission to ‘Apollo’ to file because he wasn’t technically savvy enough to do it himself. He also mentioned that Ryan Hart, Jaime Herrera’s District Director and former CCRP Chairman, had also been involved with Apollo’s efforts.
*Christian Berrigan requested that the elections division determine if IP logs are available and he requested those logs. That request is pending.
*Elections emailed Apollo, and he returned their call. According to elections division, Apollo admitted that he had filed around 20 applications online and that he remembered filing for PCO1 specifically. He apologized profusely for mistakenly entering her information without permission.
*Christian Berrigan requested a data file of all PCO filings, including whether or not they were paper or online applications, and including the time stamp for each application.
*Upon receipt of that file, Christian sorted it by time stamp and discovered a series of PCO applications entered online within 1-2 minutes of each other in a regular sequence. These names all happened to be associated with prior leadership in the CCRP, including Stephanie McClintock, Mary Graham, Dan Barnes, Marc Boldt, and Mike Gaston, nearly all of whom have been absent from every meeting not having to do with electing a new board in the last two years. The elapsed time of the sequence clearly indicated that the names were entered in a batch. This means that none of these candidates were able to individually affirm or swear the required oath in the final step of the application process.
*Upon returning to the elections division, we were informed that another PCO (PCO3) in that sequence had written an angry email demanding any and all information associated with his application, which he had not authorized anyone to file. He had never told anyone he wanted to be a PCO, and was irritated that he was forced to withdraw in order not to be on the ballot. His information request is still pending.
*Christian Berrigan then began calling candidates in the sequence to verify that they had given permission to a third party to file on their behalf. The first name on the list, (PCO4) stated that he was upset that the position had been misrepresented to him. When Christian asked him if he had given anyone permission to file for him, he said no. He had merely inquired as to the particulars of the position months earlier and decided not to run. He learned that he had been filed when he received the confirmation from the County Elections Office.
*Further calls in the sequence indicated that several others had been asked by Mary Graham if they wanted to be a PCO, they had responded in the affirmative, and Mary told them, “I’ll take care of it”. No further action was taken on the part of the individual candidates, including no filling out of the oath to uphold the Constitution, which is a requirement at the end of every Declaration of Candidacy.
*Apollo called the Elections Division again, and indicated that the online filing he had done in Clark County was with names provided to him by Mary Graham, including PCO1, who he mentioned by name. PCOs 3 and 4 were in the same sequence that Apollo admitted entering. Ryan Hart’s name was not mentioned.
In conclusion, it appears that elements of the WSRP collaborated with local Establishment operatives in an attempt to defeat or undermine the rise of the conservative grassroots activists that have been manifested over the last two years. In so doing, they filed applications for several people without their permission, bypassed the oath and affirmation process for approximately 20 or more PCO candidates in Clark County, and generally violated the good faith that is supposed to govern the online filing process. Cathie Garber, Clark County Elections Supervisor, intends to change the process, which may include requiring a credit card payment of $1 to file online in order to tie an identification to each filing. She concludes, “This is abuse of the system, and we can’t have that.”
*Edit* To correct an earlier mistake, only the legislature can change the process by which online filings are governed. Ms. Garber suggested a possible alteration, to charge a $1 fee for online PCO filings.
Recently, a local politician was appointed by his political allies to a high-paying administrative position for which he had only marginal qualifications outside of his political experience. It has been rumored for some time that this politician, who is notorious for petulant and childish behavior while serving in his capacity as an elected official, would not run for reelection because over the last decade he has made a lot of enemies and with many years worth of baggage, he would have a difficult time mustering up the necessary support from the general population to win against a strong challenger. So rather than face large groups of demonstrators and a very negative campaign, this fellow has chosen to rely on the kindness of his friends and take one of those fat government gigs that seem perpetually to await ex-politicians who are being put out to pasture.
No, I am not talking about Don Benton. This time, it’s Clark County Commissioner and CRC proponent Steve Stuart who has availed himself of the privileges associated with government, and is now the new Ridgefield City Manager at a salary range of between $105,000 and $125,000 annually. Why is he different than Don Benton, whose appointment to a county job with almost an identical salary drew the ire of so many sanctimonious Democrats only 10 months ago? Why, because he went through a ‘normal hiring process’ of course. Unlike the evil Benton hiring, in this case everyone can feel good that Stuart was chosen as the best candidate from among a field of qualified applicants, and those other applicants can also feel good that they left whatever they were doing and spent all of those hours to go through the interviewing process, only to wind up not getting the job. They lost fair and square, and that’s all that matters, right?
Most people see this for what it is: yet another blatant example of political cronyism. The major difference is that the Democrats do it better. They line all levels of administration with sympathizers and make sure that their friends are the gatekeepers in the ‘normal hiring process’ who can ensure the desired result. They are experts in the art of government bureaucracy, and of putting a galvanized public face on their decisions. David Madore, despite his vast business experience in the private sector, had no chance to come out looking good in this environment. The gatekeepers were against him and anyone he might have wanted to hire as an administrator. This is why, although I disagreed with the decision to appoint Benton, I find the objections that the hire was made unfairly because the gatekeepers were bypassed to be as laughable as the assertions today that Stuart was hired via a fair process. I doubt that many people are fooled by the attempt to legitimize what amounts to a backroom deal between C-Tran committee buddies. The only question going forward is how in the world any of the local lefties are going to be able to continue using Benton’s hire as a rallying cry, now that one of their own just executed the exact same maneuver.
Last night, the Clark County Republican Party held a special election to replace Lynda Wilson and Steve Nelson for their Chairman and Vice-Chairman. In the chairman race, Kenny Smith, the current 18th Legislative District Chair, was opposed by Thomas Hann, a former candidate for freeholder in last November’s election. The Vice-Chairman race featured current board member Brenda Poletti and Tani Zarelli, the wife of former LD 18 State Senator Joe Zarelli.
Hann is well known in the party, having been on the executive board with Brandon Vick during the last presidential election cycle and again under Stephanie McClintock’s short tenure as party chairwoman, where he served under the title ‘Political Director’. He has also recently been on the board of the local chapter of ‘We the People’, although it is unclear whether this group is still operating, having apparently disbanded for lack of participation shortly after Lynda Wilson and Steve Nelson left to head up the CCRP.
Leading up to the election, it had been rumored that Jaime Herrera’s District Director, Ryan Hart, was searching frantically for an establishment-friendly candidate to replace Lynda Wilson, making inquries about current PCO lists and contact information. Given the CCRP executive board’s open letter in October chiding Herrera for her willingness to vote against the majority of Republicans and raise the debt ceiling yet again, Team Herrera apparently sensed in Wilson’s departure an opportunity to realign the board in their own image. Phone calls went all over the county asking PCOs who had not been to a meeting since 2012 to show up and vote for the Hann/Zarelli slate in order to achieve ‘Party Unity’. For some reason, ‘Party Unity’ always seems to involve shutting out Liberty folks and letting the Establishment moderates take control of stuff.
Some observations from a very interesting evening:
1. In his speech, Tom Hann spoke about how the recent city council results were ‘unacceptable’, a common sentiment among Republicans, and one that those who are no longer in control of the party have used to criticize the current board. On the other hand, Tani Zarelli told anyone who would listen that the local Republican party should stay completely out of nonpartisan races. Her nominator, Micheline Doan, happily accepted $500 from the local party in her failed bid for Vancouver City Council. The impression from this observer was that perhaps Hann and Zarelli were not completely on the same page in terms of approach or leadership philosophy.
2. Interesting to see the stark contrast in speeches. Tani Zarelli dropped the names of as many local luminaries as possible in her five allotted minutes, even letting the audience know that she used to live next to Linda Smith. She also mentioned having met Kings in Israel who think that the Republican party is all screwed up. She referred to her own strategic abilities, having worked on campaigns for her husband and others. Brenda Poletti, on the other hand, spoke primarily about her work at the grass roots level, how her team had vastly increased the number of convention delegates and PCOs in the county in the last two years, which in turn led to more participation and higher returns at the Lincoln Day Dinner and other fundraisers, and more candidates from among the PCO ranks than had been seen in previous elections, even citing a quote from the Columbian to that effect. Both spoke about bringing people together and the important work that PCOs had to do, but Brenda underscored developing relationships with PCOs and other volunteers and keeping them involved, and Tani focused more on ‘getting into the minds of legislators and how they operate’. The clear difference between the ‘Top-Down’ and ‘Bottom-Up’ models was made readily manifest. Unfortunately for Tani, over half the voting body at the meeting were PCO Liberty Alliance participants who had campaigned for months on the importance of giving power to the PCOs.
3. The vote totals were slightly closer in this election than at the Organization meeting, both races tallying an 84-55 vote. The Wilson and Nelson team prevailed against Dan Barnes and Stephanie McClintock by a margin of 102-59. The small difference may be attributed to more aggressive phone calling by Hart, Barnes, and Co. this time around (even Sheriff Gary Lucas showed up for the first time since he was elected PCO), as well as the choice of a bonafide Tea Party candidate to run against a former leader in the Ron Paul presidential campaign. Ultimately, the team that had actually spent the hours working with the PCOs prevailed over the team that hadn’t. A great example of the advantage of following a grass-roots-oriented model.
4. Contrary to the opinions expressed elsewhere these elections did not fundamentally change the orientation of the board, since both of the victors were already board members, and each board member only gets one vote. Based on their speeches, I suspect that Hann and Zarelli themselves were unaware that even had they won, they would not have controlled the direction of the executive board, any more than Steve Stuart controlled the County Commissioner board as the minority vote. The openings that have now been created for LD 18 and LD 49 chairs will be more significant in that regard, but again, the PCOs in those districts are likely to choose someone who has put in some time with them rather than taking on a plant from Team Herrera. The bottom line is that if you like the direction that the old board was going in, there isn’t likely to be much change. The idea that has been advanced by local bloggers that somehow Lynda and Steve were like Nehemiah, building the wall with one hand and warding off the Samaritan ‘Paulbots’ on the board with the other is patently ridiculous. This board was elected together for a common goal. They ran as a team, supported each other, and that support continues even as Lynda leaves, as evidenced by her enthusiastic nomination speech on Brenda Poletti’s behalf at last night’s election. There is no ‘grand Paulbot conspiracy’, Lew.
Ultimately, the election was good for the party as it provided legitimacy to the newly elected officers, and the comfortable margin of victory will also help Kenny and Brenda move forward with the clear will of the PCOs behind them. As Kenny pointed out in his speech, the term before the next election is only 11 months long, and they will be a busy 11 months that should pass by quickly. Godspeed to the new board, and to Lynda Wilson as she attempts to gain a seat that has been in Democrat hands since 2008.
Lew Waters appears to have taken the post down in which he bemoaned the fact that a former Ron Paul supporter was now the party chairman shortly after I linked it. Apologies for the dead link. The irrational hatred of Liberty supporters continues…
…And now the post is back up again.
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Lynda Wilson would step down today as Chairwoman of the Clark County Republican Party in order to focus her attention on a run for 17th LD State Representative. Per the party’s bylaws, Vice-Chairman Steve Nelson becomes the chairman and a special meeting must be called in order to fill the new opening at Vice-Chair. Apparently, due to circumstances involving work, family, and not being able to fit in a full-time, unpaid volunteer position into an already busy life, Steve will not be serving as chairman. It is an unfortunate result of the new bylaws that instead of losing only the chairman, there will now be two vacancies at the head of the Executive board that will have to be filled at the meeting on February 11th.
The sudden necessity for a new chairman and vice-chairman, who must be of opposite genders per RCW 29A.80.030 (although this law may technically only apply to the bi-annual Organization meetings), has caused a lot of candidate searching within the local party ranks. Finding a person who is both qualified to continue the work begun by Wilson in spearheading a resurgent county party, and available for hours upon hours of volunteer work can be a difficult task. Finding one who presents a measured and wise face for the party is even more challenging. Thankfully, a man who has the admiration and respect of many, including this writer, has agreed to run.
Kenny Smith, who currently serves as the Republican 18th Legislative District Chairman, is something of a rarity in politics. He is thoughtful, wise, slow to speak, and completely lacking in ego or pretension. His greatest enjoyment is enabling others to grow in experience and abilities. He has probably spent more time with PCOs than anyone in Clark County, teaching, organizing, and lending his wisdom and experience. He is a one of the best human beings I know, in an arena that often feels bereft of human beings. Kenny Smith will make the Clark County Republican party better. I could wish that the national Republican party was led by more people like Kenny Smith, rather than the egomaniacal sociopaths that are currently in charge, who stamp out the grass roots wherever they find them.
It is unknown at this time if other candidates will enter the race for chairman, or who the vice-chair candidate will be (several names are being mentioned, but nobody has been nominated to date). More info will be posted here as it is made public.