A session of the Oregon Legislature in Salem. Andrew Selsky/AP Photo

The state of state Republicans

The Oregon Republican Party, a state affiliate of the official United States Republican Party (GOP), issued a resolution on Jan. 19 stating there is “growing evidence” the insurrection attempt in D.C. on Jan. 6 was a “false flag operation designed to discredit Pres. Trump…and conservative Republicans.” There is no evidence to substantiate this claim, according to federal officials.

The resolution went on to compare the events of Jan. 6 to “the 1933 Reichstag Fire, which Hitler and the Nazis used to take over Germany.” 

The Northwest Division of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) delivered an announcement regarding the resolution. The ADL’s statement specifically addressed the portion of the GOP’s resolution which links to a Wikipedia page mentioning the Reichstag fire, an event which helped Hitler consolidate power and begin his invasion of Europe. 

The actual governing bodies of the Oregon State House of Representatives did not sanction or pass this resolution, according to a Jan. 26 statement from all 23 Republican members.  

The officials who sit on the Executive Committee of the Oregon Republican Party, with one exception, do not officially write legislation or pass laws. According to party bylaws, “that 22-person group is made up largely of top party officials and chairs and vice-chairs from the state’s five congressional districts.”

However, the aforementioned executive committee is required to have a sitting Oregon State Representative present on the board, and according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, that member has yet to be identified by the Oregon State GOP. 

According to The Oregonian, Becky Mitts, the chief of staff for State Rep. Mike Nearman, is part of the GOP executive committee. Nearman has been ridiculed of late for opening the locked Oregon State capitol doors in a Dec. 21 session, an act that had him removed from his official individual committee duties. 

Nearman signed on to the Oregon State House of Representatives statement, which reads in part, “there is no credible evidence to support false flag claims…Oregon is in crisis…Vaccines are not going to our most vulnerable, our students are still not in a safe classroom setting, main street businesses are in a tailspin, our health data is a mess and here we are, talking about a political party resolution.”

The Oregon State GOP has stood by its claims of voter fraud, false flag events at the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt, and comparisons of Democratic President Joe Biden’s electoral victory to Nazi Germany. 

Reports from Oregon’s KGW News found in the past 4 years, Oregon State GOP members and Republican elected officials have often leaned further and further into conspiracy theories and far right-wing extremism.

On the day of the Jan. 6 riot in Washington D.C, Oregon State Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) was present at the protest outside the Oregon Capitol. 

Heard addressed the right-wing crowds at the event. During the speech, according to the Salem Reporter, he proclaimed the Capitol was “occupied by elitists.”

He went on to say, “I work with these fools. None of them are half as good as any of you and you need to bring the power to them!” 

Within an hour of Heard speaking to the crowd, protesters stormed the Capitol building, breaking down the doors and physically assaulting police officers.

Heard’s behavior and extreme beliefs line up with more extreme federally-elected officials such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Greene has been in Democratic crosshairs of late, with many past and present assertions coming to light. 

She has agreed with several conspiracy theories: the Parkland school shooting was a false flag event, 9/11 was an inside job, former President Donald Trump won the election and the QAnon conspiracy is real. 

While extremism continues to pervade some parts of the Oregon and National Republican party writ large, it is unclear where the GOP will proceed from here. GOP House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy met with Trump last week, and the vast majority of U.S. GOP representatives voted against the impeachment resolution. 

When the motion to decide whether or not to hold an impeachment trial came before the U.S. Senate, only five Republican senators said they would support it.