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News / Clark County News

State GOP backs Herrera Beutler in censure controversy

It calls Clark County Republicans group 'discontent'

By Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer
Published: January 20, 2015, 4:00pm

The Washington State Republican Party backed U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, on Tuesday and blasted the Clark County GOP, calling its members “discontents” who are “misrepresenting themselves as speaking for the Republican Party.”

The Clark County Republican Party is expected to vote at its next meeting whether to censure the more moderate Herrera Beutler. The local party’s action violates the state party’s policy to support incumbent elected officials, according to a press release from the state GOP.

“This vocal and unrepresentative group from the 3rd Congressional District does not speak for the majority of voters, supporters or donors of the party, but in fact represents those who supported Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s 2014 primary challenger,” said Susan Hutchison, chair of the state Republican Party.

Herrera Beutler’s challenger was Michael Delavar, who closely aligned with the Tea Party. Hutchison noted that Herrera Beutler captured more than 60 percent of the vote in the general election.

“The Washington State Republican Party welcomes people of varied views and we proudly stand with the decision of voters when they elect our candidates. Sometimes our elected officials also take votes that some disagree with. This does not constitute a reason for censure,” Hutchison said.

Clark County Republican Chairman Kenny Smith said it’s not fair to characterize the local GOP as promoting censure. Instead, the party is letting its members discuss the idea, he said.

The motion for consideration to censure Herrera Beutler was introduced earlier this month during a meeting of the local party’s precinct committee officers. The PCOs approved the motion 59-49.

The resolution outlines a list of reasons for the motion, including allegations that the congresswoman has established “a pattern of voting with Democrats to increase spending, increase the debt and increase regulations.”

The back-and-forth is not Republicans attacking Republicans, Smith said, but it is “more conservative Republicans worried about the state of the country, and they want to have some voice.”

If the Clark County Republicans censured Herrera Beutler, it could mean the congresswoman would be banned from speaking at any campaign events sponsored by the Clark County GOP or from being featured in any of the local party’s literature. In part, the motion reads: “Please understand, we receive no satisfaction from disciplining one of our own. However, silence is acceptance, and we cannot accept your poor voting record; therefore, we cannot remain silent. We hope this will cause you to reflect upon your actions, and we look forward to the day when our differences have been reconciled that we may repeal this censure from your record.”

In a three-page letter addressed to the Republican precinct committee officers in the Clark County party, Herrera Beutler touted her conservative record and reminded her fellow Republicans that “a movement can’t grow if it is more concerned with burning heretics than winning converts.”

Columbian Political Writer