Competition for Vick, Peter Silliman Throws his Hat into the Ring

Posted: June 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

By now, most people who follow politics in Clark County have heard the yarn about how Brandon Vick came to be unopposed in his race for LD 18 State Representative position 1. There are probably a few versions , but most of them involve Brandon finding out from Paul Harris that Ann Rivers was leaving the race to run for Senate. Brandon then rushes down to the elections office a half-hour before the filing deadline at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 18th in such haste that he forgets to bring the filing fee.  Amazingly, Dale Smith, who had been stumping for months for the other representative seat against Liz Pike, is on hand and agrees to give Brandon his own filing fee. Some versions have them agreeing that whomever can get to the elections office first gets to run, although apparently Brandon would still need Dale to get there eventually, since he had no filing fee himself. Our lucky Mr. Vick is eventually even further blessed when the only other candidate in the race (there is no Democrat running), Battle Ground City Councilman Adrian Cortes, suddenly bows out, citing family concerns, and a lack of desire to run in a primary race against another Republican.

This story is apocryphal on many levels, and smells to most like a backroom deal in which Joe Zarelli gives his Senate seat to Ann Rivers without opportunity for competition from other Republicans, and a few party bosses decide that Brandon can have the Rep seat.  It is very difficult to believe that all of this was decided in the minutes leading up to the deadline. Even if it is true that Zarelli suddenly had an epiphany on deadline day, was able to contact Rivers to replace him, and then she was able to go through the necessary soul-searching, and then hurriedly contact Harris, who then contacted Brandon Vick and Dale Smith, who then did their soul-searching and raced down to the elections office a half-hour before it closed…even if all of this is accurate, it is a pretty underhanded way to choose candidates via insider information. No competitors outside of the little establishment circle were allowed notice, and now a failed party chair is being given the CCRP’s version of a golden parachute.

As an aside, a friend and I were at the elections office on May 18th the last ten minutes before closing. Brandon strolled in at 5 p.m., presumably checking to make sure nobody had filed at the last second and thrown a monkey-wrench into the plan. He even asked us in the hall if we were running for office (we were actually there to turn in a last-second PCO application). No doubt he was relieved to find that we had not filed for the office that had been willed to him.

Since then, Brandon has made a good show of running a campaign, even daring to speak before the local We the People group that was not exactly his base of support. He got an earful from a few people at that meeting regarding his poor oversight of the convention and the chair position in general, but he patiently bore it, knowing that he was going to be a representative, whether the audience liked it or not. Afterwards, someone mentioned that his likelihood of going to Olympia looked pretty high, and he agreed, saying that only the possibility of a write-in campaign a la Linda Smith could derail his chances. He thought that very unlikely and said that he was “pretty much in” with a smile.

Another man in the audience listened to all of this with regret. Pete Silliman, fresh off his election as a state delegate for Ron Paul, had considered running for that seat, but was not confident enough in his resources and name recognition to pull the trigger, deciding instead to prepare more and run in two years. As soon as the news of the establishment dominoes falling came out, Pete instantly regretted allowing the filing deadline to pass, and now he had to listen to Brandon crow about the certainty of assuming that position. Knowing what a fine representative Pete would make, several of us approached him about doing a write-in campaign. Finally, after praying about it for another week, he decided to do it. The thought of Brandon getting promoted to representative with no competition after doing such a terrible job as party chair was too much to bear for anyone with any sense of fair play and a fair choice for the folks in the 18th LD. We are all very glad that Pete has decided to strike a blow for representative government, and we look forward to supporting him however possible in his admittedly uphill battle. Please consider donating to his campaign; it is doubtful that he will have the same party interests behind him that Brandon has. He will need the support of we the people instead.

  1. Mark Engleman says:

    Well done Dan.

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