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News / Clark County News

Press Talk: Is Madore going it alone?

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor
Published: March 19, 2016, 6:10am

Clark County Councilor David Madore moved with purpose toward the podium at the county’s Republican convention.

Would he, or wouldn’t he?

“If you will have me, I will be glad to continue to represent you.”

The county GOP chair would later describe the crowd reaction as “really excited. Cheering.”

It was polite applause.

So there you have it. The most toxic politician our county has seen in decades was all in to retain his seat.

Fasten your seat belts.

• • •

Love him or hate him, most political observers would agree that Madore is an odd duck.

When he came into office three years ago, he was a fresh face on the scene. No one was quite sure what they were voting for when they put him into office, except that unlike many elected officials, he wasn’t a career politician.

The results? Well, let’s just say it hasn’t been pretty.

Since his election, Madore has endured a string of embarrassing political defeats, including the vote to change our form of government to weaken his hold over us and his unsuccessful run for the county chair seat.

So it wasn’t an automatic conclusion that he would opt to run for re-election. He could have finally decided that enough was enough and fade into the background forever more.

Fat chance.

• • •

Madore actually signaled his re-election bid by the way he has been acting on the council. There was some hope — after the last election pushed him into a minority position — that he would accept it with respect. He did not.

Instead, he wanted to show voters he would fight —  and fight hard — for his beliefs. And that fight would result in his creating chaos and angst.

Madore justifies his inappropriate behavior toward other council members as him faithfully representing the people. His people. They need a voice, he tells himself. And if that voice is sometimes crude and rough, so be it. He has embraced our local right-wing bloggers’ approach to life: To gain attention, you have to make people squirm.

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He would not go quietly into the night, he told himself. He would make those who oppose him … pay.

• • •

That payback began even before the two new county councilors were seated. Remember, our new form of government pushed the board from three members to five. And Madore was able to do the math. He was going from being in a 2-1 majority to being in a 3-2 minority.

Madore had a few months left while he was still in the majority, and he used that time to push through a bunch of gunk that he knew wouldn’t stand up with the new majority.

But that didn’t matter. His plan was to force that new majority to undo all his stuff in the hopes of embarrassing them.

Remember. Pain — not good governance — was Madore’s goal.

That left the new majority — Councilors Julie Olson and Jeanne Stewart, and Council Chair Marc Boldt — no choice but to fall into Madore’s trap. They didn’t like the game Madore was playing, but they were determined to right the ship.

And they did.

Can he repair image?

One might wonder if Madore thinks all his shenanigans help his re-election bid. To an outsider, it’s obvious it doesn’t. But clearly, Madore must think it does.

But how could Madore think that? Easy. He’s delusional.

Delusion is a beautiful thing. It allows us to convince ourselves whenever we do stupid stuff … it really isn’t stupid stuff.

I’m guilty, as well.

The Benton hire

For example, Madore has now convinced himself that he did not hire County Environmental Services Director Don Benton. Benton couldn’t tell the difference between wastewater and watermelon, but that didn’t matter to Madore and his sidekick, Councilor Tom Mielke. They hired Benton anyway. And Madore simply has not been able to shake this disastrous decision. It was so bad, in fact, that sources said Madore tried to convince Benton to resign. But Benton’s mama didn’t raise no fools. No way Benton gives up that fat county paycheck.

So with that painful daily reminder that Benton is still on the county payroll, Madore is shifting gears. He now claims it was actually the then-county administrator who hired Benton. Of course, what really happened was Madore wanted the county administrator to rubber-stamp his hiring of Benton. But he refused to play along with Madore. So Benton got the job without the county administrator getting his hands dirty. It was all on the M&M boys, then. And their slick little move to hire Benton not only resulted in this continual PR disaster for them, it cost county taxpayers $250,000 to settle with a county employee who actually was qualified for the job.

Going it alone

Madore has also convinced himself that even if he has to go it alone, he will continue to fight what he sees is the good fight. Madore concludes that history has proved that people who believe in a cause and have to suffer because of it have been rewarded later. A political martyr, if you will.

Of course, he’s just being delusional again, justifying his caustic, often bitter approach as a necessary evil.

Fellow R’s

As it happened, we had several local Republican state representatives in for an editorial board meeting Thursday. We had a great discussion on important state issues. But as the meeting concluded, I asked if we could talk a little local politics. I asked about their view on Madore. Reps. Brandon Vick and Liz Pike took a cautious approach to the topic.

Pike, for example, said she hoped when the new board was seated, “there would be a lot more civility.” But when I asked who was the main culprit in that not happening, her answer was, “I think they’re all part of that problem.”


Rep. Paul Harris — known as a straight shooter in Olympia — was much more direct.

“I don’t know I appreciate the way (Madore is) presenting himself and the way things have been transpiring. I don’t care who you are. You should be considerate and thoughtful. There seems to be one person that continually seems to be the person having difficulty working with, so I hope that sometime David Madore would sit down and say. … I at least have to be civil in my discourse … completely unacceptable.”

Rep. Lynda Wilson closed out the discussion — and our meeting — by suggesting her working relationship with Madore has not gone as well as she had hoped. At one point, she said, she relayed an African proverb to him:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

No question Madore is going it alone. Now we’ll see if voters agree.

Columbian Editor