Two years ago the GOP Convention met at Prairie High School. In 2012 it was a packed ballroom at the Vancouver Hilton with overflow into adjacent rooms and spillways. The influx of first timers with seasoned conventioneers bogged down check-in, added to confusion, and the convention started almost an hour later than promoted, but once rolling it was difficult to stop.

GOP Convention candidate timecodes:

Click on a candidates name to go directly to where each one begins to speak.

Clark County GOP Convention draws record crowd.

Brandon Vick
Peter Van Nortwick
Glenn Anderson
Susan Page
Ed Orcutt
Ann Rivers
Bruce Chandler
Dale Smith
Paul Harris
Mike Appel
Julie Olson
Liz Pike
Julia Anderson
Scott Scheid
Michael and Katja Delavar
Tom Mielke
David Madore
Jeff Osanka
Brad Palmer
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Kirby Wilbur

The Washington Legislature did away with the 2012 presidential primary, so the Mar. 31 event was the last chance for many in the room to express their preference for a presidential candidate.

Clark County Republican Party Chairman Brandon Vick asked for “a fair process, a patient process, and a process that allows everyone to be involved and really enjoy themselves.” In the midst of conducting serious business he hoped that attendees would rally around and also have fun. He noted that momentum from the record breaking local caucus, where 4600 people participated, is “going to lead to a real good 2012 election cycle.”

Clark County Republican Party Chairman Brandon Vick.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey introduced candidates, or their representatives, who had declared for national, state and county races. Memorable moments came as Kimsey described “beloved” state representative Ed Orcutt, “shining star” Ann Rivers and “rising star” Paul Harris. Harris dubbed himself the “oldest freshman elected” and spoke against writing costly bills just for the sake of writing a bill.

Legislative District 18, Pos. 2 Candidate Dale Smith drew applause for promoting a moratorium on fees and taxes for new businesses and asked, “how about a third bridge, anywhere,” and as to light rail, he said, “Portland needs to keep it on their side of the river.”

Legislative District 17 Candidate Mike Appel apologized for not preparing a speech as he had just decided the night before to run against Tim Probst. He will be challenged by another Republican, second term Ridgefield School Board President Julie Olson, who defined her purpose to “tackle the hard situations with strength and integrity” while maintaining the best interests of the people and the causes they represent.

The convention also provided time for a non-partisan candidate. Julia Anderson took the podium and announced her campaign for Clark Public Utilities Commissioner. She delivered a succinct call to action to preserve low cost power for the region and to consider hydro-electric power a renewable energy source.

Tom Mielke tells crowd he is a “gun-toting Christian.”

Thirty minutes into the day’s events, candidates were given extra minutes to speak while the credentials report was finalized. This report determines who is able to vote at the convention. It notes seated delegates and seated alternates by legislative district and by total convention count.

Rising to the occassion, Incumbent County Commissioner Tom Mielke said, “I still believe in ‘we the people’ and I’m still God loving.” Mielke disclosed he is a “gun-toting Christian” and looks forward to another term.

Clark County Commissioner candidate David Madore declared that he supports Mielke. His call for a county-wide vote on the “Tim Leavitt project … this light rail tolling project” drew applause.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler recognized why such a large group had gathered. “Free men and women who want to govern themselves feel their rights are being infringed upon.” She pegged bureaucrats with passing on massive debt to the next generation and trying to control health insurance, light bulbs, shower heads and what toilets Americans should use.

One conventioneer noted the overwhelming crowd taxed convention coordinators, saying they “had their hands full and hopefully learned some qualified lessons on what to improve upon next time.”

Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said, “I know self-government can be messy and time consuming and sometimes very confusing, but our founders gave us a system and men and women in uniform have died so you could be here today governing yourself.”

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.

“Despite the day’s challenges, the convention was identified as making a difference.

We’re going to change Washington State in this election,” said Liz Pike, candidate for the 18th Legislative District, Pos. 2.

“What’s fair is when free men and women, who understand that we’ve been given the right to govern ourselves by our Creator, stand up and push back. And that’s what’s happening today,” said Congresswoman Herrera Beutler.

“You have it within your hands to change the world,” said Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur.

Video shot and edited by COUV.COM staff

Editor’s note: the audio feed is rough until just after the nine minute mark (0:09:03).
Candidate David Madore is founder and owner of COUV.COM.