Couture rethinks his GOP exit; takes charge in Mason County

Travis Couture is a Republican again.

And he’s in charge.

Couture, who ran for state Senate against two Democrats and felt so little support from official party sources that he wrote one letter setting afire the bridge between him and the state Republican party and another metaphorically filing for party divorce, was elected Mason County Republicans chairman on Tuesday.

Republican precinct committee officers voted for Couture over Jerry Cummings, the previous county party chairman. Cummings loses despite the fact he was in the chairman seat in the year Dan Griffey beat Democrat Kathy Haigh to claim a place in the state House of Representatives. It was Griffey’s third attempt. In less encouraging news for Republicans, though, only one Republican, County Prosecutor Michael Dorcy, ran for county office. Dorcy ran unopposed.

Couture’s ascent to county party leader was unimaginable in August. On July 31 he wrote a letter to Washington State Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison and unleashed his anger at the party’s implicit support of incumbent state Sen. Tim Sheldon, a Potlatch Democrat. While Sheldon files for office saying he prefers the Democratic party, he caucuses with Republicans. Couture bristled at the state GOP party’s failure to support him. He called Hutchison “the biggest disgrace to this party” he had seen in some time and blamed her and people like her for the party’s weakness in recent years.

Couture nearly qualified for the general election anyway, finishing 2 percentage points behind Sheldon and 4 points behind Democrat Irene Bowling.

Five days after the primary Couture unleashed his exit message in a “To whom it may concern” message on Facebook. Among his messages were that he had consistently been undermined by other Republicans in two elections he ran in and another he managed. He said the two-party system was “destroying America” because there was little difference between the two main parties. He then painted a bleak picture.

“It is like we grassroots conservatives and libertarians are like the battered wife, and the party is the abusive husband. Every night it comes through the front door to abuse us. We stay with it because we really believe it can change someday, but the beating continues. The rational person would tell us to run away from this abusive relationship, and here we are with a hard decision to make.
“How much longer are we willing to sacrifice our time, treasure, and energy to a party that kicks us around?”

He said in the letter that he and others were in the early stages of forming a “Libertarian Coalition.”

That’s all gone now.

On Wednesday Couture didn’t want to talk a lot about those days. “Sometimes elections can be rough and things are said.”

“We’re looking to move forward and build on the momentum,” Couture said. “We’re not looking at the past here. We’re looking at the future. We have a bright future ahead in the Republican Party in Mason County.”

State Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, voiced some of the same sentiment. “What’s in the past is in the past and we’re moving forward. That was the vote of the elected PCOs. We’re all on the same page and we’re going to work for a united party.”

Couture said the new county party board has a fair mix of members from different parts of the county. Among the goals are defending two House seats the party holds in the 35th Legislative District and challenging for two county commissioner seats. “One thing we’ve resolved is we’re intent on electing Republicans,” he said. The two county commissioner seats up for election in 2016 are occupied by Sheldon, and Randy Neatherlin, who stated no party preference even though he ran for state Legislature twice as a Republican. Whatever benefits Sheldon and Neatherlin offer Republicans, neither wears the party label now.

2 thoughts on “Couture rethinks his GOP exit; takes charge in Mason County

  1. I was in attendance at the meeting Tuesday night, and I’m EXCITED for this next two year term! We have a leader who’s passion is infectious, who has great ideas, and who truly believes in teamwork to accomplish the goals of the Mason County Republicans! He has our support, and more importantly, we have his!

  2. Interesting. Didn’t Travis also verbally assault state patry chair Susan Hutchinson in a letter over the summer? I think the Sun did an article. I remember reading something about calling her the biggest disgrace to the party and a complete and utter failure. Then this resignation thing? Seems like he may have anger issues and flies off the handle when things don’t go his way or is a little unstable. No wonder he won.

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