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Aug. 10, 2022

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Clark County GOP official resigns amid backlash

He was convicted of burglary, providing alcohol to a minor

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter

A Clark County Republicans committee chair has resigned from the position following backlash within the party.

Dan Clark, also a precinct committee officer, confirmed Monday that he resigned on Saturday night as chair of the party’s Bylaws and Resolutions Committee. He declined to offer additional comment, including whether or not he intends to remain as a PCO.

Clark faced legal scrutiny in 2011 after repeatedly sneaking into a teenage girl’s bedroom, kissing her and giving her alcohol, according to Clark County Superior Court records. He was convicted of residential burglary, violation of a civil anti-harassment order and furnishing alcohol to minors and sentenced to roughly nine months in jail.

Clark was elected by 12 PCOs with roughly 70 percent of the vote in a secret ballot last week, according to Clark County Republican Chair Earl Bowerman. Bowerman also said that the voters knew of Clark’s criminal past.

Citing Clark’s election, Clark County Councilor John Blom sent a letter of resignation from his PCO position to Bowerman on Thursday night. The election also prompted several denouncements from party officials, including state Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center.

“I want nothing to do with these people, their situational ethics not only disgust but astound me,” read a post on Rivers’ Facebook page. “The party leadership needs to do the right thing and fix this problem. As we try to attract more young people, we don’t need to be known as the ‘happy hunting grounds’ for sick individuals who like underage girls.”

Republican State Committeewoman Jenn Duvall sent an email to Bowerman demanding Clark’s removal.

“I will not have my children (or any) at our events until Dan Clark has been banned,” Duvall wrote in the email. “I do not feel comfortable building the young Republicans group with someone with Dan’s lack of moral judgement and character within the organization. We owe it to our community to take a stand against this kind of heinous and disgusting criminal behavior.”

Bowerman said that he was not present for Clark’s election and learned about it later.

The Bylaws and Resolutions Committee is one of eight standing committees in the local party. The previous chair, Josh Jones, resigned at last week’s committee meeting, leading to Clark’s election minutes later, Bowerman said.

Bowerman said that Clark has been elected twice as a PCO and that his criminal history was discussed “openly and extensively” prior to the vote.

“There’s no denial in all of this,” Bowerman said. “You don’t act immediately until you have all of the accurate information. Due process includes gathering necessary information, not just what I heard.”

Bowerman reviewed court documents and spoke with Clark throughout the week, he said. On Saturday morning, Bowerman consulted with Eileen Quiring, chair of the Clark County Council and vice chair of Clark County Republicans, before Clark’s resignation hours later.

“I will tell you that we discussed it, and then he sent us his letter of resignation,” Bowerman said.

The episode is the latest in a series of clashes within the local party dating back several years. It has seen leadership turnover and has been at odds with party officials like U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground.

“We all work for the good of the party,” Bowerman said. “It’s all about image. Sometimes perception is reality, and the perception was not good.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter

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