PASCO — An embattled Spokane Valley state representative has a friend in Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier.
Didier is pushing for the state Republican Party to stand behind Rep. Matt Shea after a House of Representatives investigation labeled him a “domestic terrorist.”
The commissioner, and head of the the Franklin County Republican Party, is working to bring a motion in front of the leaders this weekend, and is planning on getting the local party to back him.
House Republican leaders removed Shea from committees, pulled his name and face from their website and suspended him from their caucus.
The House released a long-awaited 108-page report on Dec. 21 put together by The Rampart Group. The investigator claimed the representative is a leader in the Patriot Movement, and played a role in planning the 2016 standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and two other armed standoffs.
The report brought out several lawmakers and politicians including some prominent Republicans to denounce Shea. Some are Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and House Republican Leader Rep. JT Wilcox, according to KHQ.
In response to the report, Republican and Democratic leaders in the House called for Shea to step down.
It’s a move the representative refuses to make. Shea told public radio’s Northwest News Network he vows to keep fighting and called the report a lie.
And Didier is joining some Republicans in the state who still support Shea. He pointed to Kitsap County and Grant County Republicans who issued resolutions in support of him.
Didier, a longtime friend of Shea’s, even asked lobbyist Jim Potts at a recent commission meeting how Franklin County could support him.
“He is one of our staunchest conservative members over there,” Didier said Tuesday. “I see that numerous counties are coming out in support of Matt Shea. ... I’ve already seen some resolutions that they have been signed.”
Potts represents several Eastern Washington counties, including Grant, Whitman, Okanogan and Douglas.
He said Didier was the first to bring it up with him. The lobbyist suggested taking a wait-and-see approach.
Commissioners Brad Peck and Bob Koch did not address the issue at the meeting.
Didier doesn’t plan to wait. He is planning to take the issue to the state Republican Party.
He’s already been talking about bringing a resolution to the floor.
“As the chairman, the Franklin County Republican Party is going to put something out,” he said. “We’re going to have a meeting.”
Didier agrees with Shea that he was accused of a crime and not given a chance to defend himself. Didier is upset that the House Republicans worked with the House Democrats to exile Shea and push for his resignation. He called the move an attempt to undermine a great legislator, and he’s disappointed with Wilcox.“I think there is a groundswell of support,” Dider told the Herald. “There is growing support for Matt Shea. I’m going to find out how big it is here.”