Saturday PCO Meeting in Review

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Who knew that creating a couple of new committees to educate PCOs could cause all of this fuss?

It was the subject of no less than four articles in the Columbian as well as numerous pre-meeting meetings, mass email blasts, and even a couple of press releases from a congresswoman and a state party chairwoman, and last Saturday’s first quarterly meeting in 2015 of the Clark County Republican PCOs did not disappoint. 128 PCOs and a number of guests turned out to watch parliamentary delay tactics, multiple one-vote margins, amendments to amendments, and even petitions to get rid of popular leaders who were elected without opposition less than two months ago. For fans of spirited political functions (or dysfunctions) this meeting had something for everyone.

From the outset of the meeting, it was clear that twice-failed LD 49 State Rep candidate Carolyn Crain was out for blood. In the days leading up to the meeting, she and a friend had authored resolutions calling for the ouster of newly re-elected CCRP chairman Kenny Smith and State Committeeman Christian Berrigan. Upon finding out that such actions could not be raised via resolution, she then authored a petition which requires the signature of 94 PCOs in order to call a special meeting to elect new officers. She and a few friends were circulating this petition at the meeting, but other than a few of the disgruntled old guard, she was mostly being rebuffed as she approached people about it.

Of course, never one to internalize rejection, Crain plowed ahead, starting the meeting off with obviously  pre-planned delay tactics. Before the meeting had begun and the roll was still being called, she flew into a rage over a name that had been included in the roll even though the gentleman was no longer a PCO. She launched into a tirade, challenging everything from the PCO list on the website (which apparently is not yet up to date), to the roll at the previous Organization meeting. From the back of the room, former 18th LD Chairwoman Mary Graham joined in, accusing leadership of including up to 30 PCOs who were not elected, although she was unable to name any specifically who had illegally voted for the unopposed slate of candidates at the previous meeting. This was, of course, particularly ironic, since Mrs. Graham had only recently been involved in signing up unwilling PCOs with the help of a King County lawyer and ex-King County GOP employee named Apollo Fuhriman. The objections from Crain and Graham were eventually dismissed for lack of anything remotely resembling evidence. The man who had been called in the roll was actually sitting in the back of the room with a guest badge and had not been seated with the PCOs. The previous Organization meeting had also followed the list from the County website, certified by County Auditor Greg Kimsey himself.

In addition to challenging the roll call, Crain and Co. also put in a motion forcing a vote on whether the motion from the last meeting would even be heard (which lost 58-67), and later, they also forced a vote on postponing the motion indefinitely (which lost 50-66). While none of these motions were successful, the delay did cause the meeting to go well over the scheduled time, such that nine PCOs in the roll had to leave before the voting on the main issue of the day took place. I was seated next to a PCO who had to leave to go to work and was very disappointed that he didn’t get to vote on the main issue of the morning, the censure/amendment.

Eventually, after every attempt to delay was exhausted, the voting commenced. As has been reported elsewhere, the censure motion was bypassed in favor of a motion to set up two committees to watch and report on legislative voting records of local elected officials. Of note was the fact that despite the sincere efforts of the authors of the original motion to avoid more party dysfunction through the censuring of a sitting Congresswoman, the formation of the committees was vehemently opposed by most of the old guard as well as every elected official that I could see. Apparently, the politicians were not in favor of committees following their votes and making other PCOs aware of them. One such official, Battle Ground Mayor Shane Bowman, even suggested that those who didn’t like particular votes were probably in the wrong party.

The discussion surrounding the votes on establishing these committees including some interesting arguments from some of the older crowd. One gentleman scolded the PCOs for abandoning their proper abode, which was, in his mind, limited solely to helping Republican candidates get elected. Another suggested that the only proper time to bring up bad votes by Republicans was during a primary election. In general, I got the impression that the lessons from the past three years of empowering PCOs to lead the Republican party were completely lost on some of the older crowd, and that we will probably never see eye-to-eye with the folks who believe that PCOs should be seen during campaigns and not heard the rest of the time. It is small wonder that these folks only met once a year before 2013, and that most of them only show up now when an election is happening (or an establishment Republican might get censured).

One of the main moments of clarity in the meeting was provided by State Committeeman Christian Berrigan who gave a rousing speech about his experiences at the state Organization meeting in which he and others had attempted to change the state party bylaws to reflect a more grass-roots-centered approach. The speech had been preceded by one in which our state committeewoman had recounted instances in which Berrigan had been told by State Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison to ‘sit down and shut-up’ during the interim between meetings, as well as Hutchison’s instructions to the county chairmen prior to Jaime Herrera’s speech demanding that all in attendance clap for Herrera, or risk being thrown out of the event. Of course, these tyrannical acts are pretty consistent with the press release she sent out regarding her opinions of the Clark County PCOs. More on Ms. Hutchison’s leadership in an upcoming post.

Berrigan also warned that organizations of liberal Republicans such as the Mainstream Republicans of Washington State have the CCRP in their crosshairs. Much like John McCain who raised $300,000 to replace party leadership in Arizona after they voted to censure him, Berrigan expects that money will soon be spent in Clark County PCO races in an attempt to reclaim the local party for the Chamber of Commerce progressives. Dissenting voices must not be allowed. While former party chairman and current Jaime Herrera employee Ryan Hart spent over $5000 in CCRP funds in 2008 to create the party in his own image, and he, Graham and Fuhriman did their best in 2014 to stack empty precincts with candidates (some willing and some not), introducing state organization money into local PCO races would set a new standard for Establishment stifling of the grass roots.

Meanwhile, we are here for at least two more years, with apologies to Crain’s petition efforts, and we will continue to work to make the voices of common, ordinary conservative Republicans heard. As we watch Republican leadership sell out their base again and again, the only road to reform is to stay involved and continue to apply pressure to local elected officials to keep their campaign promises. Last Saturday’s meeting was a step in that direction, and this writer looks forward to seeing what these new committees can accomplish in terms of informing and educating the larger body of PCOs.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. M Kirby Ware says:

    Thanks for your excellent analysis. I was there until noon as a visitor and found it a great demonstration of democracy in action although I was greatly disappointed to see a well deserved censure motion dropped. Our Rep is a spineless RINO. Chairman Smith was a delightful lion tamer and is well suited to his role.

    I whole heartedly concur with your assessment and role of the grass roots. The old guard who rubbered stamped the looting of our children’s future need to go. We need smaller federal government and more local control. Reagan is right: Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.

    On Susan Hutchinson, last week I got a call from our WA State Republican Party requesting a renewal of my support for 2015. I told them I was one of those Clark County people she insulted and had made quite clear she did not want any money from Clark County patriotic citizens.

    Michael Ware

    Augustine of Hippo (354-430): “Put no faith in salvation through the political order.”

    >

    • Michael, thank you for coming to the meeting, and for your great comment, including the quote from St. Augustine, which I will be stealing at the earliest opportunity. I seem to recall Hutchison insisting in her press release that those PCOs in Clark County who brought up the censure option did not speak for donors and voters in the county, which makes your comment doubly interesting. Good to hear that she is getting some feedback where it counts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s