"Election Integrity" and the SpokaneGOP
Whose election narrative are they peddling?
The local (and the Washington State) Republican Parties are trying to perform a delicate, desperate straddle between sane Republicans and the Trump MAGA wing of fevered election deniers.
The Spokane County Republican Party (aka SpokaneGOP) is promoting distrust in Spokane County’s election systems administered under Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton—while simultaneously pretending that the Party believes there really isn’t a problem.
This double-talk comes from some of the highest ranking local Republican Party officials. Matt Hawkins, the SpokaneGOP’s state committeeman and the 3rd or 4th highest ranking officer in the Spokane County Republican County, made some very intentional news back in June of this year. As the leader of the Spokane GOP’s “election integrity subcommittee”, Mr. Hawkins presented a petition to the Spokane County Commissioners (three Republicans: French, Kerns, and Kuney) calling for a “comprehensive election system audit” to “restore confidence in our elections.” Mr. Hawkins’ seems to want it both ways:
“We’re not trying to say any one person has done anything wrong,” Hawkins said. “We’re not trying to say that any fraud has been committed. We are trying to say we want to restore confidence to the election system.”
Hawkins’ essential public claim is, “We in the Republican Party aren’t election deniers, we just have to reassure all those deluded folks in our Party who believe the 2020 election was fraudulent”.
The trouble with Hawkins is that his public statement, like that of so many Republicans, is a lie about what he really believes and why he believes it. Hawkins, functioning in his capacity as the SpokaneGOP’s representative to the State Republican Party, sent a highly revealing email earlier this year to 4th legislative district Republican Precinct Committee Officers. (I’ve copied the email in full at the bottom of this post.) In that email I invite you to click on any of his treasured references, but let’s look at the very first one he offers, the one entitled “Video Title 1” featuring “Captain” Seth Keshel. It is found on Rumble, the cloud service that also hosts Trump’s “Truth Social”. The video is posted by Northwest Grassroots, the same extremist Spokane Valley-based group that warmly hosted James Allsup in 2018. (Allsup is the proudly white supremacist Charlottesville marcher and former Republican PCO from the Pullman area. Cecily Wright, co-instigator of NWGrassroots and disgraced chairwoman of the SpokaneGOP, is now LD4 State Rep Rob Chase’s legislative assistant. You can’t make this stuff up.)
“Video Title 1” in Hawkins’ “Sites of interest” is Mr. Keshel’s “2020 Election Analysis ‘The Truth’ ” presentation at the Post Falls Greyhound Park and Event Center in October of 2021, nine months following the January 6 insurrection. Mr. Keshel’s presentation is a statistical joke: he takes historical election data, notes that 2020 is an outlier, and concludes that fraud must be involved. This is not evidence of fraud. It is a demonstration that the future is difficult to predict—and that the Trump presidency stirred people of all stripes to come out and vote. (That was the conclusion I reached based on the data presented before I read this Associated Press article, which I recommend.)
It should come as no surprise that Keshel’s Greyhound Park presentation is introduced by LD4 Washington State Rep. Rob Chase, who, with Bob McCaslin, has been widely disseminating the election fraud narrative. (McCaslin is the wholly unqualified Republican candidate running to replace Vicky Dalton as Spokane County Auditor.) The Greyhound Park video presentation is a local extension of Mike Lindell’s (the “MyPillow Guy”’s) widely panned 72 hour “cyber symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Keshel was not only a participant in South Dakota but also took part in the election-conspiracy theory discussions at the estate of Lin Wood with Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, and Doug Logan, the CEO of cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas, the folks who worked diligently to overturn the 2020 election. Apparently, Keshel’s “election statistics” presentation was either accepted as convincing by the assembled conspiracy theorists or was seen as useful in much wider efforts to overturn the 2020 election, efforts that culminated most visibly in the January 6 insurrection.
This Greyhound Park presentation by Keshel is the sort of conspiracy theory garbage that represents the true conviction of the local Republicans who, in their public utterances, claim they just want to “restore confidence”.
The June Spokesman article notes that Rob Chase and Bob McCaslin both supported the petition to the Spokane County Commissioners for a third party audit of the 2020 election. In view of Chase’s introductory remarks in the Greyhound Park video, McCaslin’s bid to replace Auditor Vicky Dalton, and the SpokaneGOP’s fealty to Trump’s election fraud narrative in the person of Matt Hawkins, we shouldn’t be surprised.
Matt Hawkins, functioning as spokesperson for the SpokaneGOP, Rob Chase, and Bob McCaslin are infusing local Republicans with a crackpot election fraud narrative that doesn’t stand up to the most basic scrutiny. They must know this narrative is not a winning argument in the broader court of public opinion. For that reason they and the entire state and local Republican Party is calling for a third party audit to “restore confidence” in election systems in the State of Washington, election systems they barely understand. As a result there isn’t a single Republican candidate in Washington State who will actually state unequivocally that Joe Biden is the fairly, legitimately elected President.
Vote them out in November, vote them all out.
Keep to the high ground,
Attached is the report for the Board meeting tomorrow night. Thanks for all that you do.
Matthew C. Hawkins, SCM-Spokane
Sites Of Interest:
Video Title 1: Captain Seth Keshel – Idaho and Washington – County by County
Video Title 2: Dr. Douglas Frank – Nationwide Overview of Results
Video Title 3: Professor David Clements – Our Legal Positions
For Washington State:
If you want to see something that raises concerns about Washington State, at minimum look at minutes 8-15.
[If you click on the video link that Hawkins offered, a message from YouTube appears: “Video Unavailable, This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.” The account belonged to Gail Golec, a fringe candidate for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors who lost in the August 2 primary. She was reprimanded for telling her followers to steal pens from polling places for reasons only a conspiracy theorist deeply down an election rabbit hole would understand.
You can’t make this stuff up, either. ]
Now back to “evidence” cited in Matt Hawkins’ email:
Appended to Hawkins’ email was another gem. I take this missive of Hawkins’ as the relatively polite, glossy version of Eric Greitens’ widely criticized, truly gross and inappropriate MAGA political ad, “Hunting for RINOs”. As you read, remember this plea for ideological purity was sent out in early January of 2022:
SCM Report for End of Year 2021 January 4th, 2022 Board Meeting
…Coming into the new year, we need to lay plans for ensuring we are restoring confidence in our Elections, which Ruth’s Elections committee is doing a fantastic job. [Presumably this Ruth is Ruth Ryan, the woman who is also organizing the SpokaneGOP’s election observers.]
I am hearing discussions around the State about the need to evaluate not just our new candidates that are planning on running this year, but to also evaluate our current elected officials that may be looking to run again in this next year. Yes, the idea may become reality in that a Red Wave could be coming both within the State of Washington, as well as in Washington DC. We need to ensure that as Republicans are elected that they will be a cohesive force in getting the results we would like to see. The following observations should be discussed locally:
Do our candidates support a Comprehensive Audit of the Election system?
What are the defining issues we need to layout as action items for our Candidates to act upon
once they are elected to office and do, we have their support today?
Schools & education
Technology and the impact on ...
How do our candidates support Constitutional policy? We all know Insley claims he does, but what does this really mean?
Some have likened this to the “Newt Gingrich” Contract with America, from 25 years ago. There have been discussions for a Contract with Washington.
How do we ensure that if we are fortunate to experience a Red Wave, that measurable results can be identified that will improve our State and local communities for the benefit of our families?
Matt Hawkins, SCM
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