Election Summary: Party Reform Leads to Victories

Posted: November 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

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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