Controversy over the election of a Clark County Republican Party committee chairman has caught the attention of several prominent members of the party after it was revealed the member had been convicted of crimes relating to a relationship with a minor several years ago.
On Oct. 29, more than a dozen Republican Party members signed an open letter directed at CCRP precinct committee officers decrying the election of PCO Dan Clark as the chair of the party bylaws committee. (See the full letter)
Clark had previously been convicted of charges relating to a relationship with a minor, serving roughly nine months in jail as part of the convictions.
Signing the letter were Republicans in state and local government as well as county officials such as councilors John Blom and Julie Olson, as well as Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins, among others.
In a response to a Facebook post by Washington State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, regarding the controversy, CCRP Chairman Earl Bowerman provided an account of what transpired. He wrote that following the resignation of the past bylaws chair, Clark was elected by a secret ballot vote of nine to three on Oct. 21.
In 2011, Clark was convicted of residential burglary, furnishing liquor to a minor and violation of civil anti-harassment protection order, according to Bowerman’s post. According to court documents, Clark had snuck into the girl’s room on multiple occasions in 2010, providing her alcohol and kissing her.
Bowerman wrote that eventually Clark and the girl got married in 2014.
The open letter claimed that Bowerman “declined to take any action toward removing this Individual,” though the chairman disputes that narrative.
In an interview with The Reflector, Bowerman noted that Clark had resigned from his position as the bylaws chair by Oct. 26, adding he had requested Clark resign from his position as precinct committee officer altogether, though as of Nov. 1 he had yet to see a reply.
Bowerman said he had a lengthy conversation with Clark on Oct. 25, with Clark providing his resignation from the chair position the following day. He noted that the open letter had come out days after Clark had left the position.
“The letter that came out from the concerned Republicans was (days) after Dan Clark resigned, so what’s their outrage?” Bowerman remarked.
He said that the majority of the signers on the open letter had not had any lengthy conversations with him prior to it being sent out.
Bowerman said that from his perspective the controversy was a result of certain party members seeking to remove him from the chairmanship. He said that of the ones signing the letter, none of them voted for his election as chairman late last year.