PORT ANGELES — Duty on the southern border has forced U.S. Border Patrol Agent Matthew Rainwater to resign as leader of the Clallam County Republican Party, a GOP leader said this week.
Rainwater quit the two-year position as chair of the county central committee two weeks ago, said Dick Pilling, himself a four-time party chair.
County elected GOP precinct officers will elect a new party head at a meeting today, said Pilling, currently a party state committeeman and county party board member.
That person will finish Rainwater’s two-year term, which ends in December 2020, after the presidential election.
“He resigned due to work requirements,” Pilling said. “He is, of course, a Border Patrol agent. They sent him down, and he came back, and he has to go back again, and he’s just unable to continue his duties.
“He anticipated several more trips. In fairness to the organization, he said, ‘I can’t continue to be effective if I will be out of town,’ and he ‘anticipated several more trips.’ ”
Rainwater would not comment Thursday about his decision.
He is one of the 28 agents stationed at the Border Patrol’s regional headquarters east of downtown Port Angeles.
The agents travel to the southern border in contingents of about a half-dozen each on 30-day rotations, Patrol Agent-in-Charge Corey Lindsay said in June.
County GOP Vice Chair Debra Pitts of Sequim is the temporary chair.
She would not comment Wednesday on the selection process or who might succeed Rainwater, calling the county Republican Party “a private organization.”
Party members “will need to come to the meeting to determine how the party chair is selected,” she said.
Pilling said some candidates for the leadership position likely will make their intentions known at the meeting Thursday.
“People come out of the woodwork,” he said. “It’s surprising.”
Pilling said he’s confident Trump will win Clallam County in the Nov. 3, 2020, general election, expecting a robust economy will push the president to victory.
“I think there’s a lot of people that won’t say it, but they’ll vote for him,” Pilling said.
Republican President Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Clallam County in 2016, by 48 percent to 45 percent, with Green Party nominee Jill Stein polling third.
Democratic President Barack Obama defeated GOP challenger Mitt Romney 49 percent to 48 percent in Clallam County in 2012, with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson polling third.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.