For several days now, the Trump-worshiping Washington State Republican Party and its operatives have been gleefully trying to spread the word that Democratic State House hopeful Clyde Shavers got rebuked by his own family for embellishing his background as a candidate — something that we know would be brushed aside in an instant and ignored were Shavers an ultra MAGA Republican.
The late homestretch campaign drama began when Clyde’s father Brett Shavers wrote a letter to his son’s opponent Greg Gilday alleging Clyde was misrepresenting his professional and personal background.
Gilday, who was barely edged by Shavers in the Top Two election, was delighted, and immediately sought to bring the letter to the attention of the mass media.
The younger Shavers has pointed out that his father is a Trump-following Republican who traveled to our nation’s capital on January 6th for the Trump-incited insurrection. While that may be true, his father would have no grounds for trying to undermine his son’s candidacy if Clyde Shavers had made sure to correctly describe his experience and qualifications in campaign materials.
It was Clyde Shavers who chose to file a personal financial disclosure form listing himself as an attorney, when he has not passed the Washington State Bar exam. It was also Clyde Shavers’ decision to say that he had served as a nuclear submarine officer in promotional materials, when in fact he had served our country in the Navy as a public affairs officer and not as a submariner.
What is on Shavers’ resume is impressive. He served his country honorably as a Navy officer and worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council as an environmental lawyer. His personal story reflects the life of an active and engaged individual who is committed to public service. It needed no embellishment.
Clyde Shavers is learning a tough lesson: outside of MAGAworld, there is little tolerance for resume embellishment. Voters, journalists, volunteers, and donors rightly expect candidates to be honest and forthright in their campaigns.
Sadly, in MAGAworld, embellishment isn’t even considered a minor offense. In MAGAworld, outright lying and distorting is not only tolerated, it’s encouraged.
The Washington State Republican Party, which has hardly let a minute go by without saying something about Brett Shavers’ letter, has not only stood by ex-Liar-in-Chief Donald Trump through everything (including the insurrection), but is presently promoting extreme candidates like Joe Kent who are spinning total fabrications on a daily basis. Kent was recently caught in a tangled web of lies about his own employment. Predictably, Republicans have not criticized him.
Nor have Republicans shown the slightest hesitation in embracing Jesse Young, a candidate who has a record of abusive behavior and isn’t qualified to hold office.
Tim Eyman, Glen Morgan, and other grifters active in right wing Republican politics have also notably not been repudiated by the WSRP or its agents.
It is important that candidates use accurate language and terminology to describe themselves in their materials, whether those be required public disclosure forms, campaign mailers, websites, or voter’s pamphlet statements.
If a candidate cannot be truthful about their own background, then how can voters trust them to serve with integrity in a position of public responsibility?
Shavers is already paying for his mistakes: The Herald of Everett withdrew its endorsement of him and he’s been subjected to negative news coverage in numerous media outlets. Whether or not his unforced error costs Democrats a flippable seat remains to be seen, but that is certainly a strong possibility.
Shavers has written a letter to his supporters and the public explaining what happened and responding to his father’s letter, which is available here.
“I would like to apologize to any supporter who felt misled by any statement I have made regarding my service record – this was never my intention,” the letter’s closing paragraph states. It was good that Shavers took ownership of his mistakes. He’d now be wise to review all campaign materials to ensure that they use accurate terms to describe his background and correct any that don’t.