Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Sept. 22, 2020

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Bowerman hangs on to Clark County GOP chair

Officers vote to adjourn special meeting without a vote on recall petition

By , Columbian political reporter
Published:
3 Photos
Clark County Republican Party Chair Earl Bowerman, right, acknowledges a speaker during a local Republican Party meeting in August at the Bethesda Church in Vancouver.
Clark County Republican Party Chair Earl Bowerman, right, acknowledges a speaker during a local Republican Party meeting in August at the Bethesda Church in Vancouver. (Zack Wilkinson/The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Clark County Republican Party Chair Earl Bowerman has survived a recall attempt — for now.

On Tuesday, the party’s precinct committee officers voted 68 to 63 to adjourn a special meeting called to consider a recall petition against Bowerman, who was elected chair in January. The meeting was adjourned before the petition could be debated or voted on.

“It is what it is,” Bowerman said after the meeting. He declined to comment further.

The petition alleged that Bowerman mismanaged the party’s finances, violated bylaws and failed to perform other duties as chair. Bowerman has denied the allegations and posted a lengthy rebuttal on the party’s website.

The petition also targeted Brook Pell as the party’s vice chair. However, Pell has previously stated that she resigned the position and has moved out of state, a message she reiterated in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

In recent years, two factions of the party have engaged in sometimes bitter fights for control. Bowerman, a loyal supporter of Donald Trump, rose to prominence in local GOP circles after challenging U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Battle Ground Republican who has at times gone against the president.

The meeting, held at Bethesda Church in Vancouver, lasted about an hour, during which precinct committee officers debated procedural issues, at times testily, before adjourning. Bowerman also resisted calls for him to ask someone else to preside over the proceedings, pointing out that the bylaws gave him the power to chair the meeting.

“Well you know, I try to conduct meetings not as a I feel or as I think, but as what the bylaws say,” he said.

Earlier in the meeting, Bowerman ruled that a majority had voted to adjourn. But after a role-call vote was called, the tally stood at 69 to 66 against adjourning. Later, Bowerman ejected an unruly precinct committee officer, and two new officers Bowerman had recently appointed were seated and allowed to vote.

Under the local GOP’s bylaws, a special meeting to recall a party official is triggered if a majority of precinct committee officers sign a petition. Bowerman has argued that the petition was invalid because it did not meet a requirement in the county party’s bylaws that it be validated by a local, third-party auditor approved by a majority of the executive board.

At the end of the meeting, Carolyn Crain, a precinct committee officer and supporter of the recall, decried how her side didn’t show up for the meeting.

“The lesson is, never let a person who is subject of a recall chair a recall (meeting),” she said.

Park Llafet, the party’s secretary who called the meeting, declined to comment, saying that the next steps were up to the party’s precinct committee officers.

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