As many of you know there is a formal effort afoot to promote 18th District state legislator Liz Pike as a write-in candidate for the Clark County councilor chair position. There’s been significant misinformation promoted about this by local Democrat activists, establishment Republicans, and local old media (The Columbian). The following timeline is a record of what actually happened and why–regarding the political history that led to the Liz Pike write-in campaign. The information below comes from direct knowledge or reporting of trusted, competent sources.
ClarkCounty.info – Founding member
The timeline for what led to the Liz Pike write-in campaign
Dec 2014 – Who to run for Clark County Council chairman? Conservative activists start the informal but important process to recruit or confirm a candidate for the top Clark County councilor chair position. Considering the citizens in Clark County with the right conservative credentials and electability, two names continued to come to the surface. Jeanne Stewart and David Madore. The local Republican Party officially took no position on the matter per its rules to stay neutral until the primary election is completed in August.
Jan/Feb 2015 – Poor coordination: There was an unfortunate lack of coordination noted with the three conservative councilors (Mielke, Madore, and Stewart). Conservative activist reached out to offer ideas and help with coordination, as well as frankly discussing the lost opportunity if these three councilors continued without coordination. From Jan to April the problem only grows worse, as the self-interested political behavior from politicians and handlers ruled the day.
Feb to April 2015 – Democrats searched for a candidate: Numerous accounts are heard about local Democrats attempting to recruit candidates from well-known and liked prior Democrat politicians. These efforts weren’t successful, and it appears these candidates were reluctant to run, based somewhat on recent successes of right-of-center candidates in Clark County in the last three years.
Feb to April 2015 – Republicans continued efforts to confirm candidate: Tom Mielke made his intentions to run clear early in 2015. Amongst nearly all conservative activists I spoke with, Tom wasn’t considered a strong candidate to lead the further dismantling the self-interested big-government attitude in the county. Conservative activists continued discussions with David Madore and Jeanne Stewart about running. Madore firmly committed to run some time in April. The word among the conservative activists (who were interacting in groups and as individuals with Madore and Stewart) was that Stewart wasn’t running. So many local conservatives started aligning with David Madore in late April for the run for the top Councilor position.
April/May 2015 – Marc Boldt: Marc Boldt had made his intentions to run known earlier in the year, but it wasn’t until Spring that more and more prominent Democrats started showing support for him. It appears that many Democrats eventually concluded that Boldt was their best shot and reclaiming power and control in County politics as their earlier preferred candidates declined.
May 2015 – Filing week: Madore, Mielke, and Boldt all filed for the Clark County Council Chair, as expected. Boldt files ‘no party preference’ appeared to indicate that he was to be heavily promoted to Democrats in the general election, if he made it past the primary. On the last day or two of the filing week there were two surprise filers — liberal Democrat Mike Dalesandro, and Jeanne Stewart.
May to Aug 2015 – Primary campaign for Dalesandro: The Dalesandro campaign team conducted a very modest effort in the primary, raising a little over $6000 from 38 donors. This low level of interest in Dalesandro’s campaign supports the earlier comment in this report that Dalesandro’s entry into the race was unexpected and unappreciated by the Clark County establishment politicians and special interest handlers who presumed Boldt was their path to reclaimed power–and Dalesandro’s entry was reasonably projected to make this more difficult. Since getting though the primary, Dalesandro donations have significantly increased, with 74 separate donations totaling over $18,000 as of the last PDC reporting date. There are very few of the known Clark County establishment power players on the donation list, unlike Boldt, whose current $43,673 has many large donations from known establishment or special interest entities in the county.
May to Aug 2015 – Primary campaign for Jeanne Stewart: The entry of Stewart at the last minute made it considerably harder to eventually elect a conservative council chair. Three conservatives were now competing for the same demographic. Jeanne Stewart’s campaign was nearly dormant during the primary time frame, as it raised little money (PDC reports $2400 from seven donors) and conducted little campaigning. Considering this ‘no show’ campaign and the dysfunction between her and Madore (an article for another day) most conservative activists concluded that Stewart’s last-minute entry was mainly to sabotage Madore.
Aug 6th, 2015 – Primary night: Boldt and Dalesandro won the top two positions. All three Republicans were eliminated after a few days of counting the remaining votes.
Aug 7-10th, 2015 – No good choices: Right-of-center voters (not just conservative activists) were rightly unhappy with the dysfunction of the three conservative councilors in producing this unfortunate situation. These voters understandably also had little interest in the liberal Democrat Dalesandro or Boldt who is a known operative of the Clark County liberal establishment. So conservative activists started a discussion about how to recover from this situation. The only real option that surfaced was a well-orchestrated write-in campaign. One of the key concerns was, “the most likely result would be to take votes from Boldt and get the Democrat elected.” I was one (of many) that argued it would be preferable to have the Democrat rather than Boldt be the County Chair, because Boldt is expected to rapidly re-invigorate the local establishment’s special interests power and projects, and help the bureaucrats re-assert their big-government-knows-best culture. Dalesandro is a liberal and will likely lead with liberal influence in clear view. However, most of the matters that come before the County councilors are not classic ‘left vs. right’ matters. The reason and weight of the other conservative councilors (should be 4 if Julie Olson wins) should have significant sway over the single liberal, especially if Dalesandro is a reasonable person, which he appears to be. Even though this sounds like a containment exercise for four years, it would be manageable and could be productive. Containing Boldt’s predicted and more insidious agenda would be harder, based on multiple layers of political self-interest involved from various participants.
Aug 2015 – Select the write-in candidate: The write-in campaign organizers selected Liz Pike as the most attractive candidate to promote for their effort. Liz recognized the problem of right-of-center citizens having no good options for the County Chair race. So she approved her name being promoted, said she would serve if elected, was honored, but made it clear she did not have time for any formal campaigning.
Aug to Oct 2015 – Write-in campaign progresses: The write-in campaign raised sufficient funds to be credible. Most of the funds came from David Madore, who is already heavily invested in continuing the reset of the local ‘Big Government’ attitude of prior Clark County politicians and bureaucrats (a problem that brought me and many of my friends to our feet a few years ago as the CRC bridge project boondoggle was being forced upon us by Boldt and the special interest friends referenced in this report).
August 26, 2015 – Local Republicans endorse Liz Pike write-in: The Clark County Republican party precinct committee officers (PCOs) voted to endorse the ‘Write-in Liz Pike campaign and to specifically oppose both Boldt and Dalesandro. Marc Boldt actually showed up to this meeting to make the case that he should be endorsed, but PCOs were not impressed with his comments. Boldt and his supporters walked out of meeting in protest when it was obvious the vote would go against them. The history is that Boldt operated under the Republican Party for years, but as he became more controlled by the Vancouver liberal establishment, he had increasing run-ins with the local Republican Party. This culminated in 2012 when he was formally sanctioned by the local Republican Party. Remember, Boldt signed up as ‘no party preference’ when filing for this position in May.
Aug to Oct. 2015 – Apparent Republican Party dysfunction: There’s a small (less than 20 people) but vocal group of Republican moderates who are quite upset that the local party is supporting the Liz Pike write-in campaign. Through social media and the local old media (which takes every opportunity to demean local conservatives) this dysfunction is falsely made to appear significant, but in truth it is not.
In summary, the political self-interest of the three current councilors and their handlers created a situation that resulted in no right-of-center candidates making it to the general election under normal means. Conservative activists took action to resolve the situation–or at least be able to say they were able to fight another day to keep up the constant resistance to the Clark County liberal political machine–including the special interest handlers. This constant pressure is critical for better results over time.