by CAROL LADWIG
They’ve got a sold out crowd and a nationally known speaker on the books for their May 10 Lincoln Day dinner and auction, so it’s safe to say that Snohomish County Republican Party members are looking forward to hitting their ambitious $100,000 fundraising goal.
“This is the first time we’ve ever sold out, and at this level,” said party chairperson and event chair Debra Blodgett. She added that she hoped to add a few more tables to the venue, but the event, at the Lynnwood Convention Center, is already close to capacity with more than 600 ticket-holders.
Blodgett attributes the interest in the event to this year’s keynote speaker, Candace Owens. Known most recently for her April 9 critique of Democrats’ “fear-mongering” at a Congressional hearing on white nationalism, Owens is the Director of Communications for Turning Point, USA. She is a conservative and political activist who claims she had no political affiliation until 2017 when she “became a conservative overnight,” and earlier this year launched the “Blexit” movement, urging African American voters to leave the Democratic party.
In her role with Turning Point, a group with a mission to educate students of the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government, Owens is helping conservative youth to find their tribes. Blodgett said that’s what initially made her think of Candace Owens when the committee began working on this event last year.
“Looking at what Turning Point USA was trying to do, to start their organizations at different colleges and universities across the United States, to allow students who are conservative, to be able to have a conservative voice,” she said, is what really appealed to her about Owens as a keynote speaker.
In the all-volunteer Snohomish County Republican Party, that local effort is everything.
“We start at the grass roots level, we start with the local races, even commissions and boards, the hospital district, and school board,” Blodgett said. The funds raised at the Lincoln Day dinner (the party’s only fundraiser in most years) will go to helping candidates get elected. The party funds canvassers and callers, campaign donations and simply keeping the lights on in the party headquarters in Everett.
Snohomish County is a swing county, Blodgett said, making their efforts in campaigns critical to election outcomes.
“We are ground zero to win a statewide election. When you combine Snohomish, Pierce and Spokane Counties, we can overtake King County’s vote and we could take a statewide race,” she explained.
A successful fundraiser this year could also lead to the party hiring an executive director, to manage the office and assist the party chairperson with their work.
Thanks in large part to Owens, the event already seems to be a success.
“The draw of our keynote speaker, Candace Owens, is spurring people to come,” said Blodgett, adding that they are coming from all over the state.
Owens will speak on the subject of “Freeing America,” a common theme in her recent talks and one that Blodgett says is well-timed for today’s political environment.
“This is kind of a good topic for us right now. I think it’s important for people to know we are a free country and we don’t want to move into socialism,” Blodgett said. “We just kind of grabbed onto that because that’s perfect timing for us.”
Find out more about the event, and get on the waitlist for additional tickets at: https://snocogop.com/2019-lincoln-day.