Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yakima Tea Party Activist Calls For Hostile Takeover of Republicans

In an email being circulated by Yakima Tea Party Activist Jere Irwin, he advocates a "hostile takeover" of the Yakima County Republican Party leadership. The 14th Legislative District features a race for State Representative between two Republicans. Incumbent Norm Johnson, and challenger Michele Strobel. Johnson is considered a moderate Republican, and voted in the last legislative session to support the controversial domestic partnership bill. Strobel is running as a conservative, and has made the domestic partnership issue a central point of her campaign.

Irwin, a Strobel supporter, is upset that the Yakima County Republican Party Executive Board has chosen to endorse the incumbent, Norm Johnson. The endorsement itself has been controversial, since some of Johnson's supporters first proposed it during the primary election. Yakima County Republicans have traditionally stayed neutral in partisan primaries, until the general election cycle. However, Washington's relatively new top-two primary system has yielded a race between two Republicans. The County Executive Board decided to make an endorsement decision anyway. In a sharply divided house, the endorsement was given to Johnson. However, the Party also decided to give $500 to Strobel's campaign as well. The campaign contribution to the candidate without the endorsement has apparently not been well received by supporters of either candidate.

In the interest of full disclosure: I have attended Yakima Tea Party functions in the past, and am a recipient of Jere Irwin's mass emails. This is the total extent of my involvement with the local Tea Party groups. I am also a Republican Precinct Committee Officer in Yakima County, but am not on the Executive Board. I do not live in the 14th Legislative District, and would have preferred that the County Party stay neutral when two Republicans are running against each other.

NOTE: Jere Irwin ran unsuccessfully for Precinct Committee Officer this year. He was defeated by Al Schweppe, a member of the County Executive Board, and former candidate for State Representative.

For those that are interested, I am posting the entire text of Irwin's email here:

Dear Tea Party Contributors.

The main statement of The Tea Party Manifesto declared by Dick Armey in the Wall Street Journal is…

“The tea party movement,” with its intention of radically cutting government down to Constitutional size, “is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but a hostile takeover of it.

If you agree with Dick Armey former U.S. Representative from Texas's and House Majority Leader (1995–2003), we have a serious problem in the Republican Party Leadership in Yakima. To their credit they do a good job of supporting Republican incumbents. They don’t care if they’re good or bad in the opinion of most Tea Party supporters.

When they had a choice between Norm Johnson who is pro-choice and a sponsor of the homosexual marriage bill or Michele Strobel, a Godly candidate who has stated her position clearly in her campaign, the republican leadership chose Norm Johnson.

Let’s take a look at the Republican Party Leadership in Yakima.
Chairman - Max Golladay - He didn't like the idea of endorsing Norm Johnson in the primary.

Vice-Chair - Rita Hanses - A loyal Norm Johnson supporter. She was the one that made the motion to endorse Norm Johnson last month at the Republican Central meeting.

Secretary - Laurel Young - A loyal Norm Johnson supporter. She voted to endorse Norm Johnson in the primary and for the general election at the Republican central committee meeting.

Treasurer - Stein Williams - He voted against endorsing Norm Johnson last month.

State Committeewoman - Sandra Scherr - A loyal Norm Johnson supporter. Voted both times to endorse Norm Johnson.

State Committeeman - Al Schweppe - To my knowledge he hasn't endorsed Norm Johnson. He is NOT pro-life and that is troubling. He is politically ambitious and has the desire to run for the state legislature.

1st Commissioner District Director - Norma Joiner - Pastor at a church in Tieton. Not a supporter of Norm and voted against endorsing Norm. But she let the Central Republican Committee use her name in a newspaper ad endorsing Norm.

2nd Commissioner District Director - Laura Sample - One of the newest members of the board. Voted twice against endorsing Norm.

3rd Commissioner District Director - Laurie Beltman - Voted against endorsing Norm. She has made it public that she will not seek re-election.

I believe we need a hostile takeover of the Republican Party Leadership in Yakima.

If the Republicans elect Norm Johnson instead of Michele Strobel for our 14th District Representative we will have failed the National Tea Party movement.

Michele Strobel is campaigning her heart out, doorbelling, speaking in churches to register voters, speaking at Tea Party events, waving signs and will be working at her fair booth, while Norm Johnson is basically sitting on his duff depending on the donations from outside the area, the support of the liberal Herald-Republic, Bruce Smith and the rest of the good old boys that are pro-choice and pro-homosexual marriage.

If you agree with me, this is what we need to do.

First - The Yakima Tea Party partners need to indorse Michele Strobel for the 14th District Representative. We are working on that.

Second – We need to immediately write numerous letters to the editor in support of Michele Strobel. The Herald-Republic won’t print many of them just prior to election when the time is right.

Third - We need to push hard with letters to the editor for a debate between Norm and Michele on the issues. Probably Norm will decline. But either way that will help Michele.

Fourth – We need those who can attend the Republican committee meetings to consider running for a Leadership position.

Fifth – We need you to call Skip Schoff at 494-7819 if you have a good location for a yard sign.

Six – We need those who can to go doorbelling in your neighborhood and leaving Michele brochures. Please consider inviting those to a “meet Michele Social” that you could host. The committee would provide desert.

Seventh – We need to send our small contributions $10, $50, or a $100 to:

Committee to Elect Michele Strobel

103 West Fremont Avenue

PMB 177

Selah WA 98942

These funds will compete with the large donations Norm gets from PAC (Political Action Committees) and from the other side of the mountains.

Michele is only 9% behind Norm and closing fast. The Tea Party Contributors are making up the difference.

Thank you for your support,

Jere Irwin

Related Articles
Washington's top-two primary gets voters the better choice (seattletimes.nwsource.com)



kingstonJW said...

While I admire Jere Irwin's zeal to support a favored candidate, the concept of a hostile takeover is misdirected. His best choice to encourage a local Tea Party endorsement is to do so through a decidedly fair and transparent candidate forum. This is not hostile.

Tea Parties develop and retain their strength through grass roots independence, not through party alignment. Republicans will align with the best Tea Party values all on their own if they want the votes.

Jason R. Raines said...

Thanks kingstonJW,
I agree that the "hostile takeover" technique is not the preferred approach.