New oath requirement has some Benton County GOP resigning - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New oath requirement has some Benton County GOP members resigning

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Some controversy is brewing within the Benton County GOP, as not all Precinct Committee Officers, or PCO's are happy with the new bylaws and a new oath they must now sign which states "I will support only the Republican Party and Republican candidates and the bylaws of the BCRP. I understand that violation of this oath will result in suspension of voting "privileges" and other DUTIES or disqualification from office."

Elijah Stanfield, who has served as a PCO for the last six years resigned this year because of the oath. " The bylaws and the new oath are too restricting and too authoritarian and I can't in good conscience sign that oath," Stanfield says as an elected official it is his job to pick people that best represent his neighbors and precinct, not vice versa.

"The party with this bylaw shows that the leadership is to dictate to the people how they should vote and what they should believe," said Stanfield.

But State Committee Man, with the Benton County Republicans, Tony Benegas says he doesn't understand why this is an issue.

"When you're a precinct committee officer, you are a leader and we expect you to help us build the party. And if you can't do that and its your choice then resign," Benegas said.

Stanfield says he does typically vote republican but in the past when other candidates were more qualified, he wants the freedom to make the best vote.

Benegas says there are other parties to join if that's what you believe. "The whole idea of having this organization is to build the Republican presence, the Republican party, you get the idea...If you want to go be an Independent or a Democrat, or Libertarian go.."

Benegas says he does expect some people to resign because of the oath, but he says it is the job of the PCO to promote Republican candidates, and if the candidates aren't good enough, then its their job to find better ones, not ones from different parties.