All Politics is Local

Rumors and the Republican Party

As is the case with any contentious group, the Oct. 17 Clark County Republican Party special meeting resulted in a flood of rumors. The meeting was especially charged as it concluded with the removal of State Committeeman Joe Wagner, State Committeewoman Katja Delevar and Treasurer Suzanne Gerhardt.

Shortly thereafter, the rumors began. Some alleged Chair David Gellatly called the police on attendees he barred from the meeting. Others, including Wagner, alleged the ballots were marked to identify how each Precinct Committee Officer voted. And perhaps the most provoking allegation: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler provided pizza and beer for the meeting, a meeting which was restricted from on-site alcohol.

I decided to clear up the rumors.

To the police presence, the Clark County Sheriff’s office did respond before the meeting started. Gellatly said the private security hired to work the event and protect the venue from damage and rowdy protestors called the sheriff when some visitors were out of control.

“Some of the people that are agitators in all this were demanding to be let in and throwing some big fits,” Gellatly said. “They didn’t want it to get physical, so they said let’s call the sheriff and let them come in. It kind of snapped people into shape.”

It should be noted visitors were allowed to attend the meeting after the PCOs voted to allow outsiders inside to witness the proceedings. Police responded before that vote occurred.

As to Wagner’s claim, Gellatly said the ballots were in fact numbered. But not to track how PCOs voted. He said ballots were marked to keep track of how many ballots were distributed.

“If anybody was concerned, (they) could rip the corner off,” Gellatly said.

He said most did before voting took place.

The final claim is multi-faceted.

Because of the presence of beer, the building owner told the party he would fine them $2,255. The event contract for the Square Dance Center did not allow alcohol.

Gellatly said the issue was resolved the next day and a fine was never issued. The CCRP board was able to host its regular meeting Oct. 21 at the same facility without issue.

The only truth to the rumors? Herrera Beutler did provide pizza and beer for the meeting.

Angeline Riesterer, Herrera Beutler’s spokesperson, said the congresswoman “thought everyone could use a snack.” That snack just happened to violate the terms of the rental agreement.

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