After a heated debate Wednesday evening, the Clark County Republican Party endorsed a write-in campaign aimed at electing Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, as Clark County council chair.
At a packed meeting of the local Republican party’s precinct committee officers, the party voted 47-12 to endorse the proposal championed by Christian Berrigan, the local party’s state committeeman. In a separate vote, the party voted 49-25 not to endorse Marc Boldt, a former Republican county commissioner running for the chair seat with no party preference.
Berrigan said during the meeting that there is money and backing available to ensure a win for Pike as a write-in candidate, and “there is no disputing how good a representative Liz is.”
When reached later for comment, Berrigan said the next steps for the campaign are still to be determined, but he said he felt good about the outcome.
One thing about the campaign appears certain at this point: Pike will keep her distance from those who support the effort. When reached earlier this week for comment, Pike said she would not file as a write-in candidate or campaign for the office, and thought it was unlikely she could win at all. However, she said that, if elected, she would resign from her seat in Olympia and serve as chair.
The attempt to write Pike in comes after Mike Dalesandro, a Democrat, and Boldt defeated all three current Republican county councilors in the primary election for county council chair earlier this month.
Boldt has a rocky past with the local Republican party. In 2011, he was censured for actions out of line with the party, a fact that came back to haunt him Wednesday night. Many precinct committee officers said Wednesday they felt as though they had no other choice but to support Pike, or else be faced with a choice of two liberal candidates.
Many opponents of the proposal, meanwhile, said investing in a write-in campaign for Pike would split the Republican vote and hand Dalesandro the win.
“You guys can take the Democrat,” Battle Ground Mayor Shane Bowman said. “This is going to happen.”
Perhaps the most vocal opponent, Carolyn Crain, stood up and left partway through the meeting after arguing that it is against the Clark County Republican Party’s bylaws to endorse a campaign rather than a candidate. She was followed by about 10 other people who spoke for endorsing Boldt.
“They weren’t listening,” Crain said after the meeting. “There was no reason to stay and give them the credibility of listening to them be blowhards, frankly.”