Legally, there can be just one Clark County Republican Party

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I appreciated Ken Vance’s Feb. 3, 2016 editorial acknowledging the rift in the Republican Party. The editorial mentioned that it appears to be between more conservative and more moderate members of the party, and that it is evident both locally and nationally.

I am the current chairman of the Clark County Republican Party and was part of the conservative wave that swept into leadership positions in Clark County after a disappointing 2012 election season where our county convention ended in chaos and Republicans won just one statewide race.

Our philosophically diverse, conservative leadership team performed well enough in the 2013-2014 term that we were re-elected without opposition for the 2015-2016 term. By 2014, we had advanced our headquarters’ technology by at least a decade, raised much more money and contributed more to candidates than in prior years, and Republican candidates went on to win 14 of the 18 races in Clark County.

The most important change we undertook was to place control of the party in the hands of the grassroots, as originally intended by the 1907 legislation which formed the current legal structure for political parties in Washington State. We have nearly 200 Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) which make up the governing body of the party.

We are the bona-fide Republican Party in Clark County and have been in existence for about 80 years. Legally, there can be just one. We are the only ones who can conduct presidential precinct caucuses and county Republican conventions. We are the only ones who can send delegates to the state Republican convention.

As you mentioned, last year a group formed a PAC using the name “Republicans of Clark County.” Their leaders have a history of disrupting the legitimate Clark County Republican Party, so it was no surprise in the last election when they placed small signs on our opponent’s campaign signs which read “Republicans of Clark County Endorsed.” It was a blatant attempt to deceive the voters into believing that our 200-person governing body had endorsed the other candidate.



It is also no surprise that they would hold a fundraising dinner at the same location we hold ours, with an invitation that looks suspiciously like the invitations we have designed. I am aware of several statewide candidates who were led to believe it was our fundraiser. Fortunately many backed out when they discovered the truth. Your list of who is attending and speaking is probably not accurate, as many people have told us they had not even agreed to go to the dinner, yet their names were listed on the advertisements announcing the event.

This group, who has been unhappy to find their local party under the leadership of the more conservative wing, has two legitimate ways to regain control of the party. One, they can win the PCO elections in August 2016. Then in December at the organizing meeting, the PCOs can elect top-down, moderate leadership if they desire. Or they can work to develop a party platform at the caucus and convention that correctly describes their vision for the party.

Platform development begins at the local precinct caucus which is being held on Feb. 20. I encourage all Republicans to attend and participate by bringing platform resolutions which will be presented on Feb. 20, but debated and adopted at the county convention on March 12 at the Clark County Convention Center.

We hope for vigorous debate at the county convention regarding the purpose of the party and whether or not we still stand for limited government. If you wish to promote your platform idea you should become a delegate to the convention. The selection of delegates occurs at the Feb. 20 caucus.

In an attempt to have effective participation at the upcoming caucus we are holding caucus orientation meetings each Thursday at 7 p.m. and each Saturday at 10 a.m. at our party headquarters, 9401 NE Covington Rd. Please attend, and we can tell you how to promote your vision of the party through the platform and resolution method.

More information can be found at our website: www.ClarkRepublicans.org.

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