A member of a white supremacist hate group who marched with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia last year is now an elected official poised to take over the Republican Party in his county.
The Daily Beast reported last week that 22-year-old James Allsup — a member of Identity Evropa (designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) — has been elected as a precinct committee officer (PCO) within the Whitman County Republican Party in Washington state. Allsup’s new position allows him to vote for members of the county party organization’s central committee, which, in turn, votes for members of the statewide Republican Party’s central committee.
“If you want to take over a political party in this state, the best thing to do is to start at the PCO level and get a whole bunch of people who agree with your views elected as PCOs,” University of Washington law professor Hugh Spitzer told the Beast.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Identity Evropa has a keen emphasis on branding themselves as a strictly identitarian group, passing around flyers with slogans like “Keep Your Diversity We Want Identity,” seeking to mainstream white supremacist ideology by maintaining a visible presence on college campuses.
In 2016, Identity Evropa founder Nathan Damigo once said that former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s book My Awakening was “one of the major books that got me started.” Their flag was seen at the Charlottesville hate rally, and the Beast reports that Allsup was with the group as a participant in the march itself.
Allsup’s election to the Whitman County GOP was quickly condemned by both the Washington state and national Republican Party organizations.
“We condemned this hateful ideology before, we condemn it today, and will continue to condemn it in the future,” Washington state Republican Party chairman Caleb Heimlich told the Beast.
“We condemn this individual and his hateful, racist views in the strongest possible terms. There’s no place for it in the Republican Party,” a Republican National Committee spokesperson said.
While GOP officials and organizations may condemn Allsup, it’s worth noting that Heimlich’s bio says that he began his career within the Republican Party as a PCO, just like Allsup. After working for the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, Heimlich became political director for the Washington state GOP in 2011, before being promoted to executive director in 2013, and Chief of Staff for the state party in 2016, before ascending to the state GOP’s top position in January of this year.
Allsup’s comments on white supremacist podcasts suggest he’s plotting a similar route to political power.
“I happen to be involved in the Spokane GOP. I am now actually an elected official in the Whitman County GOP down here where I live,” Allsup said on an Identity Evropa podcast shortly after his election. “This political involvement is a means to our political ends.”
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.