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New state Rep. Rob Chase hires former Spokane County GOP chairwoman who resigned after defending white nationalist

State Rep. Rob Chase on Tuesday stood by a Facebook comment that included several false conclusions about the COVID-19 vaccine.   (Libby Kamrowski)
State Rep. Rob Chase on Tuesday stood by a Facebook comment that included several false conclusions about the COVID-19 vaccine.  (Libby Kamrowski)

Newly elected state Rep. Rob Chase, R-Liberty Lake, has hired former Spokane County Republican Party Chair Cecily Wright as his legislative assistant. Wright resigned from her position at the Spokane County Republican Party in 2018 after a video surfaced of her defending a white nationalist.

“I thought it was a hit job. She did nothing wrong,” Chase said of her resignation. “People have the right to speak.”

The issue surrounded Wright’s support of James Allsup. In 2018, Allsup, known for his racist taunts and building a miniature Trump wall on WSU’s campus, spoke at an event hosted by Northwest Grassroots, a local conservative group connected to the tea party movement and run by Wright.

At the event, Wright introduced Allsup as the victim of “label lynching.” She later said in a statement Allsup was invited to dispel the label that he is a racist and white supremacist.

Allsup was unseated from the position of precinct committee officer by the Whitman County Republicans after marching at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. He was also a member of a racist group, Identity Evropa, which recruits college students and young people into the alt-right and white supremacist ideology. In 2018 the now-defunct group’s stated purpose on its website was to “create a better world for people of European heritage – particularly in America.”

Prior to being invited to Northwest Grassroots, Allsup appeared in several videos for the group, outlining strategies for white nationalists to infiltrate mainstream GOP groups and share a more palatable version of a white supremacist ideology in hopes of co-opting local Republican groups from the ground up.

He has since been kicked off most major social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as well as Patreon, a crowdfunding website, as the companies work to remove hate groups and far-right figures from their platforms.

Chase claimed Wright resigned “for the good of the party,” after being asked to step down by people being “politically correct.” He said he views the Allsup situation as a free speech issue, but said he is against white nationalism.

“I am against anything like that,” Chase said. “She (Wright) has nothing to do with that and she never will.”

Wright is “dependable and loyal,” Chase said. The pair have known each other for about 12 years, and Chase cited Wright’s experience in both the Republican Party and running Northwest Grassroots as desirable experience.

“She has a lot of experience. She is very detailed,” Chase said. “She digs in and works hard and she’s got a good reputation.”

Wright did not respond to a request for comment.

Reporter Rebecca White contributed to this story.

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