Just in time for the endorsement meeting of the Clark County Republican Central Committee, the Columbian has devoted print space to spinning a yarn full of half-truths and innuendos, the goal of which is apparently to cut any legs out from under the write-in campaign for Liz Pike that is being brought before the PCOs tonight. It appears that Lou Brancaccio, who always reads like the Devil whispering in the corner, can’t get enough of the Republican party and the PCOs. One can imagine him giggling with glee after every post, as if to say, “I can’t believe an actual newspaper pays me to write this stuff!” Admit it, for a liberal hack, there are worse gigs than Lou’s. To write total partisan-based speculation and to be able to circulate it to a county-wide (albeit dwindling) audience in a one-way conversation – it is every politically-oriented narcissist’s dream, and Lou gets to do it every day. I have spoken to a Columbian reporter who even admits that they get a ‘bump’ in readership whenever they mention the PCOs and the Republican party. Mission accomplished!
There is something out there in the political world called the precinct committee officer. Virtually no one knows who they are or what they do. You’ll occasionally see them on your ballot. Sometimes just a handful of votes can elect a PCO. To most of us — honestly — who cares? But in the inner workings of political parties, they can be a force.
And while most people weren’t paying attention, the Republican PCO positions were being filled with people who think like Madore. One such PCO is Christian Berrigan.
Berrigan is best known for trying to rig PCO elections. He came up with this idea that the PCO candidates who thought like him should call PCO candidates who didn’t think like him and essentially say this …
“Hey, maybe if you really aren’t all that interested in running for PCO, you should kinda, sorta just step aside.”
So this character was part of the cabal — along with Madore — to get Pike to run as a write-in. He will introduce this idea tonight at a PCO meeting.
On one level, this says something about the dearth of qualified candidates in the Republican stable. Why in the world would the party run someone who isn’t interested?
The answer may be found in big money.
It is interesting to see Lou pretend he has never heard of PCOs, or that they are normally not newsworthy. This blog is filled with links to articles he and his cohorts have written about us, and there are rumors that he is even sending a reporter to our meeting tonight. Oh, and apparently, suggesting that competing candidates should talk to each other before battling it out in public is a Brancaccio no-no. I guess that makes sense, particularly in light of the recent County Councilor Chairman race. Lou definitely likes the result when candidates don’t communicate.
Now, you need to understand that Lou doesn’t travel in the circles that you and I travel in. He doesn’t talk every day to people who were desperate to write in someone, ANYONE, rather than a couple of big-spending, CRC-supporting tools of the downtown establishment. It would never occur to him that this could simply be a popular uprising of folks who watched three Republicans all inexplicably run against each other and cancel each other out, while possibly the two least popular stand-alone candidates took advantage of the state’s notorious ‘Top Two’ rule. Watching this unfold reminded me of this speed skating race from the 2002 Winter Olympics:
So now, while some of the more politically opportunistic Republicans have switched their allegiance to Marc Boldt, the rest of us are looking at one of the more important races in the entire county and finding nobody to vote for. Much like the Boldt/Madore race in 2012 was for Democrats, Republicans this time were preparing for a very significant undervote. Unlike those Democrats, however, we resolved to do something about it.
The campaign to write-in Liz Pike is not the result of rich donors yielding decisions from on high. It started just after the primary election among several of us after listening to friends, people at the fair, people on social media, all thinking the same thing: What just happened? How can this be our choice? Can we still write in Madore? After all, the guy only lost by a few hundred votes in a primary that three quarters of the voters didn’t even pay attention to.
Over time, as we realized the rules and that those votes would never be counted, we began looking for the right candidate who might actually stand a chance in a write-in situation. The requirements:
- Above all, someone we could trust for competent, conservative leadership to keep the County from becoming a more rural version of the pot-hole-ridden, CRC/Light Rail loving Vancouver City Council. We like no park fees and less taxes, thank you very much. We also like our transportation money actually being spent on roads rather than $200 million ‘plans’ for bridges that never get built while our cars go ‘bump, bump’ over holes in the streets on our way to work. People in the City know what I am talking about.
- Someone who could attract at least a small level of funding. With the Democrats pouring hundreds of thousands of union dollars into county politics every election cycle, word of mouth isn’t going to get it done. We needed a candidate that donors could get behind.
- We needed a recognizable name that was easy to write in. We cycled through several friends, family members, (a few even suggest a well-known mouse). Finally, someone suggested Liz Pike. Liz freaking Pike! Perfect! Loved by Republicans everywhere, not a shrinking violet who drives miles out of her way to avoid the media, not even afraid to call her own legislative caucus to task when necessary. L-I-Z P-I-K-E. Seven power-packed letters. Our Liz. As soon as it was mentioned, all other options sort of melted away.
The Columbian predictably tries to tie this all with David Madore, and he has certainly been a voice in the process, as have a number of other people with smaller profiles that don’t fit into the Columbian narrative well. I happen to think Madore has done a fantastic job, but I had barely heard of him when we ran our PCO Liberty Alliance campaign, and he was never the impetus of our involvement in the party as Brancaccio attempts to suggest. Actually, that impetus is pretty well detailed on this very blog, for inquiring minds. The larger issue is that Lou and others sense that the crushing defeat his party suffered in last year’s elections (minus the Charter that many thought had to do with school choice) might be reversed if enough conservatives can be scared into standing down. Please note this one quote however:
“…make no mistake, (Liz) could win. She’s very popular to many in the county. And if Dalesandro and Boldt split the moderate vote Pike could squeak out a victory.”
Do you think Lou would spend so much time on this if it had no chance of winning? If there is a Republican candidate in all of the county who could pull a write-in campaign off, it is Liz Pike. See you tonight.