Chairwoman Cecily Wright was not the only person to resign from the board of the Spokane County Republican Party around the time news broke Tuesday that white nationalist James Allsup had spoken at a meeting of local conservatives.
Abigail Osborne and Vitaliy Maksimov also stepped down from the county GOP’s Central Committee this week. Osborne, who was also an elected precinct committee officer and a leader of the College Republicans chapter at Gonzaga University, is Allsup’s girlfriend.
Maksimov is a gun-rights activist and supporter of state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley. In a phone call Friday, Maksimov said he’s been a member of the GOP for about three years, but hasn’t been able to attend several recent party meetings because of family and business obligations.
Maksimov said his resignation has nothing to do with Allsup’s appearance at the July 11 meeting of the conservative group Northwest Grassroots, where Wright introduced Allsup as a victim of so-called “label lynching” by political opponents and the media.
But Maksimov does have some strong opinions about Wright’s resignation, which was announced Wednesday evening after the Allsup story sparked a pressure campaign within the party.
In an open letter he posted online, Maksimov said he, too, was a victim of “label lynching” and was urged to resign from the GOP last spring, when he was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook. It wasn’t immediately clear which of his many Facebook posts had started that controversy, and Maksimov didn’t respond to a follow-up email.
In his letter, Maksimov directed his comments at Wright, saying she had been the target of a “witch hunt” and unfairly labeled a racist by association, and that her resignation would only empower liberals and alt-right provocateurs like Allsup.
“In the eyes of the typical media consumer, your resignation is an admission of guilt,” Maksimov wrote. “It won’t help pacify the liberals. They are ruthless sharks who are set on destroying the Republican party. All you’ve done is throw some chum in the water.
“Ironically, your resignation also serves to embolden the alt-right and validate James Allsop’s (sic) strategy. He can now boast that he wields real political power: he got the Chair of the Republican Party fired!”
Osborne, who’s in her early 20s, could not be reached for comment Friday. Interim GOP Chairman Isaiah Paine said that when Osborne resigned, she indicated it was because she is moving out of the area. Paine said she had been planning to resign after graduating from Gonzaga. He said he didn’t know if anyone had asked her to step down.
A man answered Osborne’s phone when a reporter called on Friday afternoon.
“This is James Allsup,” he said. “We don’t talk to fake news. Lose the number.”
The call was then ended.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.