Having been re-elected as Washington State Republican Party Chairwoman in neighboring Skamania County only last weekend, Susan Hutchison broke in her new administration by immediately sending out a press release blasting the PCOs from Clark County and the 3rd Congressional District for daring to discuss the voting record of Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. Following is the full text of the press release (hat tip to Lauren Dake of the Columbian).
BELLEVUE, WA, January 20 – The Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, Susan Hutchison, has released this statement:
“I am deeply dismayed that a small number of discontents in Clark County have issued plans to censure a sitting Republican Congresswoman, misrepresenting themselves as speaking for the Republican Party.
“Jaime Herrera Beutler is a highly respected 3-term congresswoman from the 3rd district, winning re-election in November 2014 with a decisive 61.5% of the vote. She was the first Hispanic American elected to represent Washington in the U.S. House; a solid conservative who serves her constituents well on the powerful House Appropriations Committee; and a member of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, where she is the Co-Chair of the Women and the Economy/Business Task Force.
“In addition, she is deeply admired for being the devoted mother of a special needs child, Abigail, born without kidneys in 2013. The family’s courageous journey has been an inspiration to me and millions of others who have followed their story. Abigail is thriving despite the dire medical prognosis.
“The action of those who threaten censure is in violation of the Washington State Republican Party Policy Statements which support our incumbent elected officials. This vocal and unrepresentative group from the 3rd Congressional District does not speak for the majority of voters, supporters or donors of the party, but in fact represents those who supported Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s 2014 Primary challenger.
“The Washington State Republican Party welcomes people of varied views and we proudly stand with the decision of voters when they elect our candidates. Sometimes our elected officials also take votes that some disagree with. This does not constitute a reason for censure. Furthermore, many of the reasons for censure stated in documents provided to the press are false or misleading. For example, because Congresswoman Herrera Beutler voted for a Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running does not mean she supports Obamacare.
“The Washington State Republican Party is proud to support Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler and we condemn the actions of a few that claim to speak for Republicans in Clark County.“
First of all, this will not be news to most readers, but there has been no vote to censure, a fact which is still apparently lost on our state party chairwoman. She violently responds in public to a mere suggestion that we discuss a motion brought up by one PCO at our next meeting. She launches into an hysterical outburst without even talking to the Clark County Republican chairman first to get an explanation of the details, which she mangles beyond recognition. Being an outsider in terms of state party politics, it would seem reasonable to me that she contact county leadership first, but when I asked Chairman Kenny Smith, he told me that she only contacted him AFTER the press release was sent. Amazing leadership skills!
I do not believe this particular censure motion will ever pass. For one thing, it lists the wrong objections. While it calls attention to some questionable votes, many of which were waved away by the condescending letter Herrera sent to PCOs last week, most people who follow national politics give Congress a 75% disapproval rating because of the out-of-control spending that Jaime and her cohorts in Congress have been engaged in, topped off by her recent vote on the Cromnibus bill, which funded every pork-seeking crony capitalist under the sun and received widespread criticism by Democrats and Republicans throughout the country. To tell us that she is and has always been a ‘conservative’ is to attempt to redefine the word to mean something other than the accepted definition. ‘Conservative’ means one who is loathe to make massive expenditures. Jaime’s voting record indicates the opposite; the woman never met a debt-ceiling increase she didn’t like.
While Hutchison and Team Herrera have done their level best to marginalize and cast aspersions on the majority of PCOs in Clark County (joining Jim Moeller and the Columbian), a common refrain has been that one ought not to question a Congresswoman who just won with 62% of the vote. While the argument on its face reeks of Establishment hackery of the first degree, it isn’t even based on sound numbers. First of all, the vote tally in Clark County in November’s election had Jaime with 72,877, or 59.26% of those who bothered to vote. With no one but a weak socialist running against her, most Republicans didn’t have a choice, except, perhaps, not to vote at all, which they did in large numbers. Of the nearly 250,000 registered voters in the county, Jaime’s total only reflects 29.2%. Or, to put it another way, 70.8% of voters in Clark County did NOT vote for Jaime Herrera, even though they were sent a ballot and given the easy opportunity to do so. Not exactly results to trumpet from the rooftops. It is interesting to note that many of the same folks who are publicly lambasting the conservative PCOs for not supporting the ‘overwhelmingly popular’ Herrera also tell us again and again about the serious undervote in David Madore’s election in 2012. His vote total was 84,370.
84,370 > 72,877
I wonder how we might incorporate that difference into Greg Jayne’s tennis anology? If the PCOs are foolish for calling Herrera’s votes into question because of her amazing election total, how does that principle apply to the Columbian’s daily attacks on Councilor Madore?
The most interesting criticism of all from Hutchison, however, is the idea she puts forth that the PCOs in Clark County are “misrepresenting themselves as speaking for the Republican Party” and “do not speak for the majority of voters, supporters or donors of the party.” So the county party and the elected representatives of each precinct don’t represent Republicans in Clark County and the 3rd Congressional District, but some failed King County Executive candidate who only recently admitted to being a Republican in public does? How many people in our county, if you stopped them on the street, would know who on earth Susan Hutchison is? I’ll take the under on that bet.
If there is anything certain in all of this, it is that Susan Hutchison and Jaime Herrera are awful representatives of the people that voted for them. Rather than the mature and leaderly approach, which might have involved sitting down and discussing differences like adults in anticipation of the upcoming vote, these two fine examples of Establishment Republicanism have chosen the Mitt Romney “crush the opposition via character assassination” approach. We were looking for better.