By The Staff of The Chronicle
Lewis County Republican President Brandon Svenson has been removed from the Washington State Young Republicans (WSYR) organization, according to a news release on Friday.
The statement also said Lewis County Young Republican President Rachel Anderson was removed from membership.
“The WSYR Board of Directors voted to have the matter reviewed and investigated by the WSYR Discipline and Dispute Resolution Committee,” the statement said. “The committee reviewed all of the evidence and determined that Anderson and Svenson were guilty of intimidation, name calling and working against the WSYR, which is illegal under the WSYR statutes.”
Although the statement did not specify what specific actions led to the couple’s removal from the state’s Young Republicans, the decision comes the same week that Svenson was asked to resign as president of the Lewis County Republicans by several officers of the constituency committee. This followed a testy exchange with Lewis County sheriff’s candidate Tracy Murphy at a meeting on Monday.
Video of that meeting shows Svenson, who was wearing an official Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza re-election campaign t-shirt, arguing with Murphy, a Centralia Police Department sergeant who is also a Republican, since the podium before waving a letter written by Murphy and throwing it at him.
In addition to throwing away the letter, officers at the precinct called out Svenson for the “contempt and disrespect” he showed Murphy at that May 2 meeting and a March 7 meeting where Svenson reportedly made “contemptuous accusations” against Murphy.
“Over the past year, it has become apparent that our Chairman, Brandon Svenson, has not wanted to act appropriately as Chairman of the Lewis County Republican Party. Members of our Executive Council have discussed his behavior with him on numerous occasions, but it has not improved and, in fact, gotten worse,” seven PCOs said in an official letter dated May 3 to other party PCOs. “We are trying to discussing these concerns with Brandon for over a year now. But it’s time to ask him to step down. We need a president who is impartial and respectful. We need a president who does not put others down. republicans.
The letter is signed by State Committee Member Ron Averill, State Committee Member Ruth Peterson, Secretary Sharra Finley, Treasurer Jeanne Hall, former Board Member Penny Mauel and Past Presidents Colleen Morse and Fred Rider.
The letter was a formal request for Svenson to resign, Averill told The Chronicle on Friday.
“Frankly, I don’t expect him to,” he said.
If Svenson does not resign, Averill said he and the other PCOs who signed the letter would call a meeting of some 50 Lewis County Republican PCOs for a vote on whether to oust Svenson as president.
The letter writers will decide this month whether or not to call that meeting, Averill said. The meeting will take place 20 days after this decision date to give all PCOs sufficient notice to attend.
Svenson is also the mayor of Winlock. He has been enrolled in the Morton Police Department Reserve Academy since January 10 and is training to become a reserve police officer for the Toledo Police Department.
Read the full PCO letter here:
Dear PCO Colleagues, Over the past year it has become apparent that our Chairman, Brandon Svenson, has been unwilling to act appropriately as Chairman of the Lewis County Republican Party. Our board members have discussed his behavior with him on numerous occasions, but he has not improved and, in fact, has gotten worse. We have seen recurring instances over the past year, both in our meetings and in public, where he has made his contempt for his fellow Republicans very clear. While there are dozens of examples of this behavior, Monday night’s long list of inappropriate comments and actions alone paints a pretty disheartening picture. The Republican Party has only one goal: to elect Republicans. We have always supported all of our elected officials and Republican candidates, except in very rare cases where the candidate or the elected official was clearly someone who could not be respected by the party and its principles. PCOs are free to support and, indeed, endorse whoever they want. However, the Management Board is prohibited from giving its approval. The Board of Directors must maintain a neutral position on all candidates. Wearing a T-shirt for a Republican meeting candidate is inappropriate when multiple Republicans are running. It is acceptable for a non-leader to wish to support or actively campaign for a candidate, but that person cannot do so if they are a member of the Board of Directors. Anyone who actively rejects a Republican candidate should never be president of our party or even serve on the executive board. On Monday, May 2, 2022, during an official meeting, President Svenson treated a Republican candidate, Officer Tracy Murphy, with contempt and disrespect. Constable Murphy made an obvious effort to defend himself from statements made by Chairman Svenson at a previous meeting. The candidate has friends and family who are part of our organization and who were present at our monthly meeting two months ago when charges were brought by President Svenson. There is no doubt that the contemptuous accusations would fall on the candidate. When Officer Murphy attended the meeting this week to try to defend himself, President Svenson took it upon himself to accuse him yet again without allowing him to speak. He even refused to acknowledge his service to our community, calling him Mr. Murphy instead of Officer Murphy. These are not the words and actions of a worthy president – especially when he crumpled up the letter written by the candidate and threw it at him. This is a childish and totally inappropriate action. Chairman Svenson also refused to recognize a board member who requested a briefing to stop the inappropriate behavior. The refusal was deliberate, and as the person responsible for arranging the meeting under the Roberts Rules of Order, he abdicated his duty. The party chairman is the person who oversees the meeting. The role is not that of a dictator and that role does not have the power to force the council to do its will. There are rules to follow, but our current president has broken them and has increasingly ignored the express requests and decisions of the board. Without a board vote, Chairman Svenson demanded that we convene the PCOs to meet next month to endorse a specific nominee. This is after the PCOs were called to vote a short time ago and voted that we would not suspend our bylaws to endorse a nominee. Not only did he not have the power to act, but he was not even willing to take the advice of his board of directors on the matter. I’ve attached a video of the chairman of the Lewis County Republicans at our Monday night meeting. I hope you will take the time to watch it. Anyone has the freedom to do as they please, but not as president of our party. This position involves special responsibilities that require both impartiality and self-control. President Svenson has shown himself unable to carry out the required tasks with respect and civility. We have been trying to discuss these concerns with Brandon for over a year now. But it is time to ask him to leave this post. We need an impartial and respectful president. We need a president who doesn’t put other Republicans down.