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Afternoon Jolt

Loser: State Rep. Matt Shea

When State Rep. Matt Shea (R., Spokane Valley) traveled to Nevada to support rancher Cliven Bundy in a standoff with federal officials it drew the censure of a Spokane Spokesman-Review editorial. The conservative paper wrote that “Shea should know better than to condone lawbreaking and inflame a volatile situation.”

For two decades, Bundy has refused to pay fees for grazing his cattle on federal land for more than two decades, leading to a recent standoff between federal officials and a posse of armed militia. Watch this video to see Shea, joined by Rep. David Taylor (R., Moxie), speak to a crowd at the standoff. 

Now Bundy is in the news for talking about how African-Americans (or, to use his word, "Negroes") were better off as slaves – attributing abortions, crime, and joblessness among African-Americans today to the fact that “they never learned how to pick cotton.”  

Bundy's ally Shea has long been a controversial figure, drawing attention from the hate-monitoring Southern Poverty Law Center and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for addressing militia members; earning rebukes from Spokane County’s Republican sheriff and others for posting a Facebook picture of himself standing in a female opponent’s driveway; and displaying a gun in a road-rage incident.

(Editor's note: As PubliCola reported, Shea also recently created a Mel Gibson-style campaign video promising to restore a "God-honoring state of Washington," featuring an image of former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, who's Jewish, with not-so-subtle red devil eyes.)

Shea’s late Republican Senate colleague, Bob McCaslin, told Spokane County commissioners that he didn’t consider Shea fit for any public office, and one commissioner, Republican Todd Mielke, accused Shea of subjecting him to “spontaneous, extreme anger.”

Question: If Matt Shea is standing by Cliven Bundy, is Washington Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison standing by House Republican Assistant Floor Leader Shea?