Political Beat

Updated: Herrera Beutler, charter spurned by Republican PCOs

Here’s an updated dispatch from county beat reporter Tyler Graf:

Sometimes in politics, silence speaks louder than words.

And if that’s the case, then Thursday’s meeting of Republican precinct committee officers laid several volumes on U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. At least according to precinct committee officer Joseph Wagner, who has been waging a campaign against the Republicans’ endorsement of her.

On the heels of her primary win over Michael Delavar, someone perceived to be “more conservative,” Herrera Beutler did not receive the local Republicans’ endorsement. What did she get?

Silence.

At the meeting, Wagner said he was handing out pamphlets arguing that the PCOs shouldn’t endorse Herrera Beutler.

At the end of the meeting, he said, not one of the 97 or so PCOs in attendance made so much as a motion for Herrera Beutler’s endorsement despite having time to do so, something Wagner chalked up to a growing dissatisfaction with the congresswoman’s conservative principles — or, in his opinion, her lack thereof.

“What it means is that it’s not enough for you to win your primary to get our endorsement,” said Wagner, who led efforts not to endorse Herrera Beutler.

He said there were several reasons why he couldn’t support her endorsement.

“I think the fact that there was not an effort to get her endorsement means silence is acceptance,” he said.

No Republican candidate was endorsed at the meeting, however. Casey Bowman, Herrera Beutler’s spokesman, questioned the significance of her not receiving the local party’s nod. “Neither Linda Wilson, Paul Harris, Santa Claus, Ronald Reagan nor anyone else got endorsed,” he wrote in an email.

Although, Harris and Wilson were endorsed at an earlier meeting, according to sources.

And the important thing to point out here is that out of that list of actual candidates — Wilson or Harris — neither was pitted against a fellow Republican in the primary the way Herrera Beutler was.

Regardless of the posturing, and its significance, it will be interesting to see how the local Republican Party, as an entity, supports Herrera Beutler moving forward. Will they eventually endorse her?

But there was one thing precinct committee officers couldn’t hold their tongues about.

That was the proposed home rule charter, which will appear on ballots this November.
They passed a resolution against the charter with an overwhelming voice vote.

The resolution had been floating in the political tides for a few weeks, dismissed by some as an attempt by a handful of Republicans to quash the charter. But Thursday’s vote shows that, among the party faithful, the home rule charter has scant support.

County Auditor Greg Kimsey, a Republican, was at the meeting to champion the charter. But his support didn’t rub off on the rest of the PCO’s.

Kenny Smith, chairman of the Clark County Republicans, said he now expects grassroots efforts to counter the pro-charter campaign, which is flush with money from a political action committee.

“There will be a coordinated effort, but how the Republican Party will participate in it will be decided,” Smith said, adding that he expects PCOs to hit the streets to get the word out. “I would imagine we’d figure out a way to coordinate our efforts with the newsletter.”

Eric Florip

I'm the environment/transportation reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. Contact me at eric.florip@columbian.com or 360-735-4541.

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