You can run (for office), but you can’t hide: Documenting some nonpartisans’ partisanship / Facebook post, Sj Robson

 

Republican recommendations 2016

3 hrs August 23, 2017  Sandy Robson

If you pay attention to local politics you probably know that in the 2016 general election, the Whatcom County Republican Party officially recommended then-candidate for President Donald J. Trump and his VP running mate, Mike Pence, on its 2016 “Republican Recommendations” list (shown in attached screenshot photo). And, even though many people have expressed disgust and anger with some, or most, of the Trump administrations’ actions thus far in his presidency, the Whatcom County Republican Party (known as the “Whatcom Republicans”) still displays, on its Whatcomgop.com website’s homepage, a graphic featuring the 2016 Trump/Pence logo with the “Make America Great Again” slogan alongside it. 

whatcom republicans trump

Last week, some people attending the Aug. 14 – Aug. 19, Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, told me that while the Whatcom Republicans had its regular campaign booth there, conservative candidates Mary Kay Robinson, Tyler Byrd, Dan Robbins, and Ken Bell were not part of that booth. Instead, those four candidates had a separate booth in a separate area (away from the Whatcom Republicans booth) in what’s called the Commercial Building. The booth displayed a banner that read, “Putting Community First: Non-Partisan Candidates Standing Together For Whatcom County,” and under the banner the photos of those four candidates were displayed. There was also candidate campaign literature, candidate campaign yard signs, and some campaign donation envelopes at their “nonpartisan” booth for their supporters to pick up. I have attached a couple screenshot photos of the booth.

 

whatcom republicans at the fair booth

Screenshot photo of August 14, 2017 “Vote Tyler Byrd” Facebook page post

Tyler Byrd, candidate running for Whatcom County Council (District 3), Dan Robbins,
candidate for Port of Bellingham Commissioner (District 1), Mary Kay Robinson, candidate for Whatcom County Council (At-Large), and Ken Bell, candidate for Port of Bellingham Commissioner (District 2) are all now trying to hide their relationships with the Whatcom Republicans.

To do that, they are now selling themselves as “Non-Partisan” candidates. They’re betting on voters not being aware of, or not remembering, their past activities in terms of their relationships with the Whatcom Republicans — some of those activities occurred as recently as last month.

mary kay at the fair

Screenshot of August 18, 2017 photo from “Families for Mary Kay” Facebook page

 

In reality, these four candidates are merely disaffiliating themselves on the surface from the Whatcom Republicans. If you look a little beyond that surface, you would see that these four conservative candidates who are now rebranding themselves as “Non-Partisan” candidates, want to have their cake and eat it too. They still desire, need and court Republican support, but they want it away from the public spotlight — somewhat like a secret affair of sorts.

Well, I am definitely aware of, and I remember, those candidates’ activities, so I want to make sure people are aware of those activities too.

Prior to the August 1, 2017, primary election, the Whatcom Republicans endorsed Tyler Byrd, Dan Robbins, and Ken Bell. There was no primary election for the County Council At-Large position race in which Mary Kay Robinson is running, so her name is not listed on the primary endorsement list. Attached, is a screenshot photo showing the 2017 Whatcom Republicans’ endorsements. Those Whatcom Republicans’ endorsements announced earlier in this election season, will still have a lasting effect on the election.whatcom republicans endorsements 2017

Those same candidates who are trying to pass themselves off as nonpartisan have received the benefit of the Whatcom Republicans’ endorsement in terms of identifying them for potential republican/conservative voters. So, it makes sense then, that those same candidates should also receive the disadvantage of having received the Whatcom Republicans’ endorsement in terms of identifying them for potential democratic and/or progressive voters.

Last month, the Whatcom Republicans held its annual picnic on July 13, at Berthusen Park in Lynden. This was the day that primary ballots arrived in most County voters’ mailboxes. The picnic flyer advertised: “Come Say ‘Hi’ to your state and local officials! Meet The Republican Supported Candidates For Local Office.” A screenshot photo of that picnic flyer is attached.

whatcom republicans picnic poster

The Whatcom Republicans posted a July 10, 2017, post (I’ve attached a screenshot photo of that) on its Facebook page which reads:

“Republican and live in Whatcom County? You’re invited! It’s an event for the entire family.” Clearly, the picnic was for Republicans.

whatcom republicans family picnic

Photos displayed on social media show that candidates Tyler Byrd, Ken Bell, and Dan Robbins attended the picnic. While I was unable to find any photo showing Mary Kay Robinson in attendance at the Whatcom Republicans’ picnic, there was a photo (I’ve attached a screenshot photo of it) included in a July 14 post about the picnic, posted on the Whatcom Republicans Facebook page. The photo shows a stack of “Elect Mary Kay Robinson” flyers on a table at the picnic, on which, Whatcom Republicans-endorsed candidates’ campaign literature was displayed. The photo also shows that the table was manned by an individual wearing a red T-shirt featuring the Whatcom Republicans’ official logo, and wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap.

whatcom republicans picnic sign in table

Screenshot of photo from July 14, 2017 Whatcom Republicans Facebook post

There are photos featured in the July 14 Whatcom Republicans’ Facebook post about the Republicans’ picnic that show Dan Robbins standing on the stage, speaking to the crowd. There is also a July 13 post on the “Vote Dan Robbins” Facebook page that shows Robbins at the Whatcom Republicans’ picnic, standing on the stage, speaking to the crowd. The text on top of that post reads: “Ballots arrived today. Please vote for Dan Robbins for Port Commissioner District 1. Like and share with friends. Thanks Dan!” The post does not mention that the photo of Robbins was from the annual Whatcom Republicans’ picnic.

Click either of the graphics to view an enlarged version and to page through to the other graphic.

On the “Vote Tyler Byrd” Facebook page, there was a July 14 post about him and his family having attended what he referred to as a “community picnic,” never mentioning that it was the annual Whatcom Republicans’ picnic. The photos featured in that post include one that shows Byrd standing on the stage, speaking to the crowd.

Click on any of the graphics to view an enlarged version and to page through to the other graphics.

On the “Ken Bell for Port” Facebook page, there is a July 18 post about Bell attending what is referred to as a “summer picnic,” featuring three accompanying photos: one showing him shaking hands with Republican State Representative Vincent Buys, one showing him with Dan Robbins, and one showing him with Ferndale Mayor Jon Mutchler. Those three photos were taken at the Republicans’ picnic. The text above the July 18 post reads: “Ken attending a summer picnic with residents of Whatcom County. Have you endorsed Ken yet? Take a minute to visit Ken’s webpage and show your support.” The post does not mention that the photos of Bell were from the annual Whatcom Republicans’ picnic.

Click either of the graphics to view an enlarged version and to page through to the other graphic.

While I did not see any photos showing Ken Bell on the stage speaking to the crowd at the picnic, there is a July 19 post on the “Ken Bell for Port” Facebook page which shows a photo of him at the picnic, holding what appears to be a stack of “Ken Bell for Port” campaign donation envelopes in his left hand, as he is shaking hands with his right hand with former Port Commissioner Doug Smith. The text on top of the post reads: “Former Port Commissioner Doug Smith gives Ken his endorsement.” The post does not mention that the photo is from the annual Whatcom Republicans’ July 13 picnic.

(I have attached screenshot photos of those Facebook posts referenced above relating to the Whatcom Republicans’ picnic).

On April 8, 2017, the Whatcom Republicans hosted its annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser at the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center. There were two separate April 8 posts about the Lincoln Day Dinner event by Whatcom Republicans on its organization’s Facebook page, both of which, included numerous photos of attendees taken at the event.

Click on any of the graphics to view an enlarged version and to page through to the other graphics.

The “Vote Dan Robbins” Facebook page posted an April 11 post featuring a photo of Robbins and his two granddaughters with text above the post that reads: “Dan and his granddaughters had a great evening attending a local fundraiser event.” While it is evident from the photo that it was taken at the Whatcom Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser event, there was no mention of the fact that the photo was from the Whatcom Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser.

Dan Robbins at Whatcom Republicans Lincoln Day dinner

From reviewing photos (screenshot photos attached) posted on the Whatcom Republicans’ Facebook page, it appears that the now ostensibly nonpartisan candidates Tyler Byrd, Mary Kay Robinson and Dan Robbins all attended the event. In the photos I reviewed, I was unable to see any that showed Ken Bell in attendance. It is not clear if he attended.

Click either of the graphics to view an enlarged version and to page through to the other graphic.

Although these four candidates are trying to separate themselves from the Whatcom Republicans for this election season, three of them received endorsement by the Whatcom Republicans and never renounced that endorsement, and they have all attended Whatcom Republicans’ events. While some of their social media posts regarding their attendance at Whatcom Republicans’ events seem to have disappeared, there are still photos that can be found which document their close association with the local GOP party.

Read Sandy’s post on her Facebook page here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s