Where’s the love for Julie Olson?

Julie Olson

Julie Olson, Republican candidate for District 2

In all the fervor over one big, expensive race with significant financial backing by the Clark County Republican Party, it is easy to overlook that the local Republicans have another county candidate: Julie Olson.

Olson, a Republican running for the Clark County council District 2 seat against Democrat Chuck Green, has been chugging away at campaigning in northwest Clark County largely without the support of her party. The party endorsed her, and many individual precinct committee officers or local Republican elected officials have pledged their support for her, but there’s been very little organized party follow-up since.

Olson didn’t seem to be bothered when I asked her about it on Monday, nor does she think it’s going to cost her votes.

“People do what they do, and that’s OK,” she said.

But I do want to dig into this just a little bit more, because it is interesting. The Clark County Republican Party, for example, has not contributed any money to her campaign. Nor, interestingly enough, has Councilor David Madore, a Republican who, like I wrote about last week, isn’t stingy about throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars behind campaigns he supports.

And accuse me, perhaps, of making a mountain out of a molehill, but the Republican party’s Facebook account hasn’t exactly been flush with support for Olson, either. Of 27 Facebook posts the party has made since endorsing Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, for county chair, 2, or 6.8 percent, have been about Olson. Compare that to the 16, or 59.2 percent, that have been about Pike.

The Clark County Democrats, meanwhile, have shown nothing but active support for both Green and Democratic chair candidate Mike Dalesandro, both in their social media presence and their money. The party made a $950 donation to each candidate.

When I talked last week to Christian Berrigan, spokesman for the Pike campaign, I pointed out that the party hasn’t given Olson anything. He told me she hadn’t asked. Olson confirmed that.

I guess I wasn’t under the impression that Pike had asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent on a campaign on her behalf either. But I digress.

Olson, to her credit, has publicly distanced herself from the Pike campaign and accompanying circus without criticizing either side. “My campaign is my own,” she said, and she’s grateful for the substantial support she has received from volunteers and donors.

I once teasingly asked her if she was planning to write Pike in, and not only did she not answer me, she said she hasn’t been answering that question, nor does she plan to. That’s a safe move. She’s personal friends with Pike, and could be hurt by ostracizing those Republicans who support the Pike campaign. She could also be hurt by ostracizing those often more moderate Republicans who have been critical of the Pike campaign.

Olson, for one, isn’t focused on dollars or Facebook posts. She’s got her mind on other things.

“I’ve knocked on over 5,000 doors,” Olson said. “It gives me some good insights as to what level voters are involved and what’s important to them, and that’s what keeps me grounded.”

Kaitlin Gillespie

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the education reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at kaitlin.gillespie@columbian.com or 360-735-4517.

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