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In Clackamas County - a Republican stronghold - elected officials and party leaders decline to comment.

The Portland Tribune asked some of our suburban sister publications within the Pamplin Media Group to reach out to prominent Republicans in their community, to get their take on the rift within the GOP.

Reporter Sam Stites in Clackamas County found, across the board, Republicans reluctant to wade into the story.

Clackamas County GOP chair Margie Hughes did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did any other elected officials or party leaders in the county.

As far as county politics go, Republicans have been far more successful in recent years in Clackamas County than they have in Multnomah or Washington counties.

In Washington County, Reporter Ray Pitz spoke to Lou Ogden, the former Tualatin mayor who ran in 2018 to be Oregon's commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. Pitz also spoke to Tom Anderson, a former Tigard City Council member and candidate for Metro Council District 3. Answers have been edited for clarity and space.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Lou Ogden served as mayor of Tualatin for almost a quarter of a century and ran for statewide office in 2018.

Lou Ogden

Pamplin Media Group: Do you believe that President Trump won reelection?

Ogden: Biden won the election. (But) there is no doubt in my mind there was voter fraud. I saw some first hand. In many other situations where there is smoke there is fire. (Amazon CEO Jeff) Bezos objected to mail-in ballots in the Amazon employees vote to organize. Dems in New York say there was tampering with voting machines in the N.Y. Congresswoman (Claudia) Tenney win as they contested the race for more than 90 days. The Dems would not consent to any inspection or investigation of the alleged fraudulent claims. If there is nothing to hide, then why hide it? Was there enough to swing the election? We will never know. The bodies are all buried

PMG: Do you believe the attack on the U.S. Capitol was a "false flag?"

Ogden: I have no idea what is a "false flag." I know the riot was pre-planned. I know there were rioters around the Capitol before Trump took the stage. I know there were tens of thousands at the rally and a few thousand at the Capitol. I know those who stormed the Capitol were idiots and criminals and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I have every confidence that will happen. At the same time, there was little prosecution of the months of rioting, destruction and death (at nationwide protests) all summer. I know the left used the idiotic riots to make idiotic claims of insurrection, conspiracy, Trump delusions and ground for impeachment. If every member of congress were impeached for shouting "fighting words" to their base, or even encouraging malicious activity to Trump supporters, the Capitol would be perpetually empty except for impeachment hearings.

PMG: Do you think there's a large divide among members of the Republican party, and if so, how can it be fixed?

Ogden: Any divide among Republicans is perhaps no different than divides among Democrats Do you think (Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders's) army and Bezos's billions are on the same side?. Nor is it any different than … divides in religions. (I grew up Lutheran Church of America and told the Lutheran Missouri Synod it was wrong.) There is a divide between my family at Thanksgiving dinner. All the years I served as mayor there were divides on council. There were seven on council. I always said if all seven of us thought alike we didn't need six of us. You don't "fix" things, to use your words, by demanding unanimity. Though that certainly appears to be what the left and the "cancel culture" (editor's note: a form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles because of unpopular opinions) are requiring. I believe in the "Big Tent" approach.

PMG: Where does the Republican party go from here?

Ogden: We as Americans need to "go from here" by first shedding labels. That is more for those who assign the labels than those who ascribe to the labels. Right wing, left wing, Trumpers, Bernie's, BIPOC, LGBTQ, whatever. … I can't keep up. We are Americans. We shall rally around building a better future for all of us by removing obstacles, removing stereotypes, re-establishing benefits of the doubts, not questioning each other's intentions, and talking about mechanisms to allow people to succeed with their own abilities (while protecting those lacking abilities). I can talk all day about solutions that make sense and that work for everyone, with specific tailoring. Those are the conversations that we as Americans need to promote. That will generate natural leadership; a leadership people will want to follow. When folks coalesce around those goals and those mechanisms for reaching the goals, partisanship will crumble in favor of objectives. (Oregon Gov. Tom) McCall did that, (Oregon Sen. Mark) Hatfield did that. And truth be told, Trump did that (although he didn't have the presence of mind to be gentlemanly enough to implement his ideas). Trump is no Republican. He's a populist. He was elected with millions of Dems voting for him. If he had only (Republicans), he would never have been elected. Many people who could not stand his rhetoric were attracted to the possibilities of his convictions. Same with (Sen. Bernie Sanders). Problem is, it's hard work, time consuming and requires true conviction to deliver that message in a consistent, committed, unwavering grassroots outreach. That's not how American politics works. It's all about media and money and neither of those two are interested in the merits of what I espouse in the sentences above. That's one of the reasons media, money and institutional government in both parties wanted to destroy Trump. He was a disruptor who threatened their political and financial norms and established oligarchy. Thankfully, for their sake, Trump self-destructed, much like the Soviet Union did in the 1980s

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tom Anderson, shown  outside his business on Tigard's Main Street.

Tom Anderson

PMG: Do you believe that President Trump won reelection? "

Anderson: No.

PMG: Do you believe the attack on the U.S. Capitol was a "false flag?"

Anderson: I think that there were agitators on both sides at the rally but the people that entered the Capitol were Trump supporters.

PMG: Do you think there's a large divide among members of the Republican party, and if so, how can it be fixed?

Anderson: There has been a divide since the Tea Party formed and opposed the moderate wing of the party. Now you have the die-hard Trump supporters who are the most vocal. But it is still a fringe of the party and the majority of Republicans want responsible leadership.

PMG: Where does the Republican party go from here?

Anderson: Nationally, I think that Trump will eventually fade away and Republicans will find new leaders. The two-party system is not going away as both sides need each other, whether they accept it or not. There are a growing number of Independents and non-affiliated but that just means that they can vote more freely. Statewide, Oregon has been Democratic controlled since the '80s and the numbers of Democrats in the Portland Metro area suggest that it will stay that way for the near future. I am a bit concerned that Oregon is in a rut with one party so dominant and effectively unchecked and has not done well in some key categories for years. The beauty of the two-party system is to provide a variety of viewpoints, but of course you need rational dialogue.


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