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Wilson Criscione photo
James Allsup preparing for a podcast last fall
The headlines make it sound a little worse than it actually is.
"Charlottesville Hate Marcher Elected By Republican Party," declared The Daily Beast
this morning. "Charlottesville Rally Marcher is now a Republican Elected Official as More White Nationalists Run For Office Than Ever Before," says Newsweek
The "Hate Marcher" they're referring to, of course, is James Allsup, the alt-right former Washington State University College Republican leader who marched alongside racists, Nazis and white supremacists at last year's Charlottesville rally, where one woman counterprotester was killed.
And while it's technically true that Allsup was awarded a position in the Whitman County Republican Party, the details are pretty unimpressive: He was given a precinct committee officer, or PCO, position that typically involves handing out campaign materials for candidates, or voting for their party's local leadership. There are about 60 PCO positions in Whitman County, and many are unfilled, says Whitman County GOP state committeeman Art Swannack. Essentially, Allsup wrote his name down on a piece of paper, declared himself a Republican, went unchallenged and won the seat.
And it already looks likely that Allsup's brief reign as Whitman County GOP Precinct Committee Officer may be over soon. Swannack, who is a Whitman County Commissioner in addition to his role as a committeeman for the county GOP party, says the party leadership will examine the bylaws that could prevent Allsup from taking the seat.
"The executive committee is going to meet and see if we have the ability to not seat him," Swannack says. "My understanding is he won the election, but the party has the right to choose whether or not we have to seat him."
For Swannack, the idea of Allsup representing the Whitman County GOP in any way is a problem.
"I'm concerned with most of the things that James Allsup has said since the Charlottesville incident," Swannack says. "I don't believe he represents the Republican party."
Allsup often pushes back when someone refers to him as a white supremacist, white nationalist or Nazi, even though he proudly marched with those same people in Charlottesville.
He stepped down as WSU College Republican president shortly after the rally and has since been making YouTube videos and podcasts promoting his views that call for a halt to immigration and for all illegal immigrants to be kicked out of the country. While he has previously contended
his views are not "racist" to the Inlander
, but rather a "racial preference," he has recently become a member of Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group
known for recruiting college students
with their racist flyers.
The Republican National Committee, according to the Daily Beast's
story, denounced Allsup, saying, "We condemn this individual and his hateful, racist views in the strongest possible terms." The Washington State Republican Party chairman also told the Daily Beast
that it doesn't condone "identity politics, in any form, whatsoever."
The story goes on to quote Allsup saying on a podcast, "I happen to be involved in the Spokane GOP," before saying he's an elected official for the Whitman County GOP. He says the position gives him "a seat at the table" where he can push his political agenda. When the Inlander
asked Allsup about his involvement with the Spokane GOP today, Allsup clarified:
"I have no formal involvement with the Spokane GOP although I look forward to working with them in my role with the Whitman County GOP," Allsup says.
As for the Whitman County GOP potentially preventing him from taking his seat as PCO, Allsup says, "I don't believe that's going to happen."
Swannack, for his part, says few people were aware Allsup was running for PCO at all, which is common for these positions.
"I'm assuming if a bunch of people knew, then there would be a Republican that would have stood up and run against him," Swannack says.