The Whitman County Republican Central Committee voted unanimously Saturday to eject far-right agitator and former Washington State University College Republicans President James Allsup from its ranks.
The move all but unseats Allsup from the position of precinct committee officer, a role he obtained by running unopposed. According to state law, when a single candidate runs for the position of PCO, the “candidate is deemed elected and the auditor shall issue a certificate of election.”
PCOs are a little-appreciated component of the voting body within county-specific Republican and Democratic organizations like the WCRCC. Though participation tends to vary, PCOs and other members help with organizing events and electing chairmen and vice chairmen for their respective organizations.
With his ejection from the group, Allsup has no vote within the committee, though he technically retains the position of PCO. Vice Chairman John Brabb explained that as a private organization, the WCRCC has the authority to make changes to its own membership but not to the outcomes of public elections.
Allsup, 22, gained attention during the 2016 presidential campaign when he erected a “Trump Wall” on the WSU campus, a move many students protested and criticized as divisive.
Last summer, when he was still president of the WSU College Republicans, Allsup was filmed marching with the alt-right group Identity Evropa at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counterprotester was killed in a vehicle-ramming attack; Allsup later resigned.
“This Identity Evropa has a policy of taking advantage of the PCO system and conquering a party from the bottom up,” Brabb said. “In an interview, Mr. Allsup said he’s not going to be out there holding the banner for Republicans – the PCO position is a means to an end.”
Following his announcement that he had captured the position of PCO for Whitman County’s 129th District, Allsup was disavowed by Republicans at the state and national levels. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., issued a statement saying she does not have a relationship with Allsup. Allsup replied on social media in what Brabb called an attack on “almost all of us.”
“It’s disappointing to see spineless Republicans cower in fear of leftists all because they’re afraid of mean comments from the journalists that hate them anyway,” Allsup wrote in his response, saying McMorris Rodgers has firmer allegiance to the “political class” than to the rural, blue-collar Americans who voted for her. Some in the room visibly bristled as the account was read aloud.
“This Republican is not afraid of the right-wing wing-nuts like Mr. Allsup,” declared Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy, who submitted a blistering op-ed to the Daily News in June regarding Allsup’s elevation to the position of PCO.
“We all saw the tape of what happened at Charlottesville – the Nazis marching down the street with torches chanting ‘blood and soil,’ ” Tracy said. “James Allsup joined the Nazis in their march. His beliefs have no place here, he’s got no place here, he didn’t even bother to show up here, he should be voted out.”
The dozen or so members of the WCRCC in attendance, which included state Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers and every sitting Whitman County commissioner, actively declined to hold a secret ballot, saying they prefer to have their votes counted out loud.
“I support this motion, secret or not, based upon a lot of things Mr. Tracy articulated,” County Commissioner Michael Largent said.
County Commissioner Art Swannack agreed with his colleague, saying Allsup does not represent Republican values in any sense.
“I would point out that James himself has denied he’s a Republican – he said he’s a right-wing libertarian in some of his statements,” Swannack said. “I would concur with Prosecutor Tracy that this gentleman does not represent the Republican Party in Whitman County or in Eastern Washington or, in my opinion, across the nation.”