Archive for November, 2014

The late votes have been counted. Like Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, they came out of the hills and turned the tide of the battle. Like a cleansing rain on sidewalk chalk, they have washed away any ideas the Democrats might have had about taking over the county government. As we survey the political landscape in the wake of the 2014 elections, it is time to recognize that the Clark County Republicans are a revitalized bunch.

Of course the 18th District Republicans won handily, as they usually do, but you have to go back to the turn of the century to find the last time the 17th District delegation was completely Republican, back in the days when Marc Boldt was still considered a conservative. Yes, it was that long ago.

Then, of course, there are the County Commissioners. All three are now Republicans, or what the C-Tran board might refer to as a ‘block veto’. I couldn’t even find the last time this was the case, probably back in the days when Doug Lasher was considered ‘cutting edge’ and Betty Sue Morris was still using current photos of herself in press releases. We traded a Stuart for a Stewart, and the collective maturity level of the Commissioner board just increased tenfold. Are you like me? Would you pay to have a good seat the first time Jeanne Stewart walks back into a C-Tran meeting as a board member? It almost makes me want to bring a gavel in case anyone needs it.

Don’t look now, but even the 49th LD is back in play. At last count, Lisa Ross was pushing 45%, a total not seen by Republicans since 2010. Just imagine what Lisa and Anson Service might have done if their funding had been competitive. While Democrat Jim Moeller raised almost $100,000 for his race, Lisa Ross had only $20000 to work with. The disparity between Sharon Wylie and Anson Service was even more pronounced, with Wylie at $72,000 and Service at $9200. No word on whether the Columbian considers the Democrats to have bought the elections in the 49th.

So to what shall we attribute this across-the-board historical improvement in results? The Columbian offered this take on the difference:

They micro-targeted voters and then made sure to get their message across.

“Republicans got better at their ground game this election,” said Carolyn Long, a political scientist at WSU Vancouver.

You see, the Columbian has noticed something different about this Republican party. Instead of just hanging 50 signs per square mile and writing a lot of comments on Facebook and blogs that only preach to a very small choir, this version of the CCRP is employing a ‘ground game’. They are combining updated technology with greater energy and organization, and the resulting presence in elections is being marked, and leading to results that even WSU Vancouver professors can identify. This is a scenario that was difficult to imagine for anyone who attended the caucus or convention in 2012, but there has been a changing of the guard since then, and a lot more hands are pitching in than ever before, even while most of the old leadership largely sits on the sidelines (with a few exceptions). Better candidates are rising up from the ranks of a more open party, better ideas, and more empowered leaders from among ordinary folks. The goals that the PCO Liberty Alliance campaigned on are being put into practice with noticeable results.

This is what it looks like when the PCOs lead the party.

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File this under one of the more ironic stories of the 2014 campaign season.

Back in September, an incident occurred in front of the new Clark County Republican office in which a volunteer for the Wilson campaign picked up a Monica Stonier yard sign which had been placed directly in front of the Wilson sign he had planted a few days earlier in the median in front of CCRP headquarters – an obvious troll attempt by the Stonier campaign. While he later admitted his rookie mistake in touching another candidate’s sign, the volunteer rightly identified that the Stonier campaign had broken the unwritten rule that you don’t put signs down that obstruct the view of signs already there. As he put it, there is supposed to be a ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ not to interfere with the view of competing signs. Unfortunately, before he had a chance to decide what to do with the removed sign, he was spotted by former LD 49 Rep candidate Carolyn Crain and her friend Penny Ross who were parked in the CCRP office parking lot nearby. Ms. Ross indignantly confronted him about removing signs and then stomped off, not in time to see the man replace Stonier’s sign a few feet away from where he had taken it. I saw it there myself a few days later.

The Republican volunteer thought this incident was over until an email blast was sent out soon thereafter in which Ross had publicly upbraided him to every PCO in the 49th district, every elected Republican official in Clark County, the entire CCRP executive board, and a few bloggers for good measure. Among the indignant words she offered up:

How is integrity fed if a PCO can with no thought of repercussion tear out an opponents’ sign and replace it with his choice in broad daylight on a busy road in Clark County? The action I witnessed where beyond understanding. We have a right to be heard, the signs are a form of speech. I was appalled and can not understand the blatant disregard to other’s rights. Saddened and hurt to see anyone do such action caused me to write this to you.”

Ross and Crain then contacted the Stonier campaign to let them know their version of what had happened, and eventually the story ended up in the Columbian , whose writers were only too happy to frame it as part of a larger ‘campaign war’ and tie it to other missing Stonier signs all over the district. Lauren Dake, the Columbian political beat writer even suggested that the Wilson campaign should pay Stonier for forty missing signs at $4 each. All this over one yard sign that got moved over a few feet. Welcome to politics; thanks for volunteering.

Fast forward two months to November 4th, election day morning, and Carolyn Crain and her friend Penny Ross are spotted at the corner of NE Van Mall and Andreson. Two eyewitnesses saw them taking down a 4′ by 8′ Jeanne Stewart sign. Next to it, a Democrat operative had placed an unauthorized flag sign with the words ‘Endorsed by Madore’. These signs had been situated next to Republican signs all over Clark County, apparently with the idea that associating Republicans in general with Commissioner Madore would be considered a reason not to vote for them (some of the signs were actually screwed on to the Republican sign, which gives us an idea how much respect they have for free speech, etc). Penny Ross promptly pulled the flag sign up and walked over and placed it next to a nearby Lisa Ross sign. Lisa (no relation to Penny) was Crain’s opponent in the primary and had prevailed handily, much to Carolyn’s surprise and dismay. Carolyn has been seen in a number of places in social media trashing Lisa’s campaign and publicly congratulating Moeller in advance for his victory, as well as promising to run again in 2016.

The witnesses, who just happened to also have an interest in the signs at that intersection, took pictures. This is what the signs looked like before Crain and Ross got there:

Stewart_Ross Before

One can just make out the ‘Endorsed by Madore’ flag sign at the base of the 4 X 8 Stewart sign, several feet from the sign for Lisa Ross. The witnesses came back later, just in time to catch Crain and Penny Ross in the act:
Crain_RossCrain_Ross2

And here is the result of Penny Ross’s sign rearrangement:

Endorsed_By_Madore

Finally, this is the scene an hour or so later, with the Stewart sign completely uprooted (note the empty space to the right of the LifePac sign:

Where_is_Stewart

Jeanne Stewart, who is in the thick of a tight race with Democrat Craig Pridemore, was asked if she had given the go-ahead to remove her signs on election day, with many hours to go before voting ended. She responded emphatically in the negative – she gave no such permission. Crain did not immediately respond to my attempts to question her on the matter.

My questions:

1. What explanation could Carolyn possibly have for taking down and rearranging these signs?

2. If the ‘Endorsed by Madore’ signs were seen as a negative for 49th voters, why would Penny Ross want to place that sign near the Republican running in the 49th?

3. How is this not a complete contradiction of the sanctimonious words Ms. Ross trumpeted in September?

4. Is Carolyn still expecting help from Republicans in the future?

In the wake of numerous complaints from anti-Charter activists regarding Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey’s decision to publish two pages of what they consider pro-Charter literature in the county voter’s pamphlet, the executive board of the Clark County Republican Party tonight has filed a request that Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik investigate possible violations of Washington campaign law. Included in the allegations detailed in the request is that Kimsey, as an elected official, used the “facilities of a public office” in the promotion of a ballot proposition. RCW 42.17A.555 defines, among other things, the “facilities of the office” to include publications of the office. The written request details two alleged violations of the same section of law.

This action by the CCRP is in keeping with the new ‘Core Principles’ that were passed by a super-majority of the Republican Precinct Committee Officers in August. Specifically, the ‘Accountability’ core principle reads “Public officials should be held accountable to their oath of office, regardless of party affiliation.”

The request reads in part:

Greg Kimsey actively campaigned for the passage of Proposition 1, and while doing so used copies of pages 58-59 of the 2014 Voter’s Pamphlet as his primary campaign literature in support of his promotion of the aforementioned proposition.

a. He attached copies of pages 58-59 in promotional emails distributed to large lists in which he advocated for Proposition 1 and referenced the attached pages as his primary literature in support of the proposition.

b. He attended political and community events, including neighborhood association meetings and town-hall style meetings for the purpose of promoting passage of Proposition 1, using as his primary supportive campaign literature pages 58-59 of the Voter’s Pamphlet.

c. In an Op-Ed he wrote in the October 22, 2014 edition of The Reflector newspaper, the sole purpose of which was to advocate for yes votes for Proposition 1, he closed his article with the statement “Pages 58 and 59 of the voters’ pamphlet provide information describing the Charter. This information is in addition to the statements from the “Pro” and “Con” committees”. This is further indication that the information he put into the Voter’s Pamphlet is perceived by him to be advocacy of Proposition 1, and, is another example of his use of the publication itself in his advocacy of Proposition 1

…Greg Kimsey fully believed the content of pages 58-59 to be in support of Proposition 1 as evidenced by his decision to employ their use as the primary promotional literature of his Proposition 1 campaign efforts.

The full text can be read here:

LetterToGolik_20141104

The prosecutor has up to 45 days to decide what action, if any, to take, after which, upon 10 days written notice, a citizen’s petition could be filed. This particular petition involves appealing to the court to intercede (as opposed to the signature-gathering variety). Updates to follow.