Chase and McCaslin, True Believers
Welcome to the crazy wing of Washington State's state representatives
Reps. Rob Chase and Bob McCaslin both represent Legislative District 4 (Spokane valley north to Mt. Spokane) in the Washington State legislature. Yesterday, Sunday, August 15, they joined three other members of the far right wing of the Republican Party to host “an unofficial public hearing at a Snohomish church, encouraging the public to bring forward evidence of voting fraud or irregularities.” This gang of five is inspired by at least one of the group who just returned from a three day “cyber symposium” put on in South Dakota by the MyPillow Guy, Mike Lindell. Lindell is the leading purveyor of widely debunked conspiracy theories centered on last November’s election (as well as a prominent TV huckster for his pillows). If you have interest and lots of time, you can watch all twenty-nine hours of Lindell and company’s gish gallop about supposed election fraud on YouTube. (The story of this public hearing first appeared in reputable media in an August 13 article in the Seattle Times.) This whole episode is tailor-made to fit an article recently published by Thom Hartmann on “Shared Psychosis.”
There are two possibilities: 1) McCaslin, Chase, and company are shrewd political operators who believe they can help inflame the false narrative about the election among their militant followers and use this inflammation put Trump back in office and gain electoral advantage or 2) These five are truly so gullible that a) they attended Lindell’s symposium in the first place and b) after listening to twenty-nine hours of haranguing they are so thoroughly convinced that they feel compelled to carry the message to the people themselves. I favor option 2. They are true believers not only in Lindell’s ideas but in a variety of other conspiracy theories as well.
Chase made news in the Spokesman July 21 on the vaccine front. A post of his was removed from Facebook on the grounds of mis-information. Here it is:
“Why would anyone take a vaccine that is not a vaccine, is not tested, violates the Nuremberg Code, the insert is blank, cannot be sued for damages, was created by Eugenecists (sic) who want a smaller Global population, and there are many natural cures available anyway?”
Kip Hill, author of the Spokesman article goes on:
As for the “eugenicists,” Chase identified George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist tied in conspiracy theories to the functioning of the global economy and progressive politics, as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
It is appalling to think that the voters who put Chase in office might actually know the extent to which he subscribes to far right wing conspiracy theories. On the other hand, given the low level of attention most voters pay to local and state races, the ideological devotion of many Republicans to the Republican Party, and the systematic demonization of Democrats by right wing media, Chase and McCaslin may be in their elected positions because those who vote for them know very little of the extremism of these men.
It is ironic that Rep. Chase occupies the former seat of Matt Shea, the anti-mask, anti-vaccination, anti-lockdown, pro-”Liberty State” and now a self styled “pastor” who came under pressure for training paramilitaries in “The Biblical Basis for War”. McCaslin Junior, always a follower of Matt Shea, now has another fringe personality to follow in Rob Chase.
Rob Chase’s Political/Electoral Background. He is a savvy and persistent political climber. Chase is now in his late 60s. He worked as a real estate agent before sensing opportunity in the 2010 election. He leapt into that year’s August top-two primary race as a write-in candidate, probably realizing that as the only challenger to the Democratic incumbent Spokane County Treasurer, D.E. “Skip” Chilberg, he would have a place on the November ballot. Garnering only 1.2% of the votes (and not necessarily with any vetting by the local Republican Party), he gained a “Prefers Republican” slot against Chilberg in November. Chase squeaked by Chilberg in the 2010 November general election Tea Party swell by a margin of just 2 percent. Just two years later in the middle of his first term as Spokane County Treasurer Chase, tried to vault off his name recognition to a position as a Spokane County Commissioner, but fell short in the primary. In his second four year term as Treasurer, still not content, he vied for appointment to an open Commissioner seat in 2017. Because the two remaining County Commissioners, Al French and Josh Kerns, both Republicans, were unable to choose between the leading contenders, Mary Kuney and Rob Chase (who was put forward by Matt Shea and backed by Josh Kerns), the choice went to Democratic Governor Jay Inslee. Inslee quickly chose Kuney, the less extreme Republican. Kuney handily beat Chase in the following year’s special primary and general elections for the Commission seat in which she was then incumbent.
Not content to run again for Spokane County Treasurer at the end of two four year terms in 2018, Chase declined to run for re-election. In 2020 he mounted a primary challenge against McMorris Rodgers (R-CD5, eastern WA) for a seat in U.S. House of Representatives. He later criticized McMorris Rodgers for changing course and not voting to challenge the election after the January 6th Capitol insurrection—marking himself as a Republican extremist. Abandoning his challenge to CMR, Chase instead ran for his present position as Matt Shea’s representative to Olympia from LD4 (Spokane valley to Mt. Spokane).
Chase and McCaslin showed their colors earlier this year when they and most other Republicans in the legislature from eastern Washington voted against a bill to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. They take cover under the favorite Republican argument about “the cost,” but who really believes that as their real motivation, given Rob Chase’s links to local white supremacists?
Others in the party, though, have supported Wright and even Allsup’s appearance at the event. Newly elected Rep. Rob Chase, a Liberty Stater from the Matt Shea wing of the party, hired Wright as his legislative assistant and said last week that the criticism was “a hit job” and political correctness run amok.
Chase and McCaslin run in the same circles and support the same causes as the disgraced Matt Shea, the former occupant of Chase’s current seat. They are even following his playbook in this August 15 “the election was stolen” event held in Snohomish, far out of the district they are supposed to represent and out of local media scrutiny. Shea made a political career out of traveling to promote his theocratic Liberty State idea and The American Redoubt, associating with Ammon Bundy’s takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, and preaching to and training paramilitaries at the Marble Community Fellowship’s “God and Country” event in far northern Stevens County. All of that marks him as an agitator for the Christian nationalist far right. None of it has to do with the real work of a legislator elected to represent LD4. Shea is more of a visible leader in conspiracy theory than Chase and McCaslin, demonstrated by his speaking spot at the Red Pill Expo, but the propensity for latching onto bizarre, unsubstantiated theories is alive in all three.
It is time to spotlight Chase and McCaslin. They represent the extremist wing of the Republican Party. Traditional Republicans and independents need to know more about the background of the folks they’re electing to office when they reflexively mark the “Prefers Republican” box.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. Neither the Spokesman nor the Inlander had, as of late Sunday evening, taken note of Chase, McCaslin and company’s Snohomish church “unofficial public hearing” to preach The MyPillow guy’s election lunacy to Washington State. So far, we on this side of the state have to rely on limited access to The Seattle Times and its article for news about the antics of Spokane valley’s true believing “representatives.”