Okay, I know that’s a strange headline – asserting that a member of a partisan legislative caucus is still a member of that caucus.
But rumors were bouncing off the marble today that Pam Roach, who is often at odds with her Senate GOP leadership, had been kicked out Wednesday. In addition, an angry caucus leadership was going to pursue an action to get her removed from her committees.
I found Roach on her way to a meet-and-greet with the biker’s rights group ABATE and she denied that she was facing any sanctions.
“I’m fine,” she said. She acknowledged that there was a “tit-for-tat” in the caucus Wednesday but that it was settled. She claimed that Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, a Republican from Walla Walla, had apologized to her but again refused to give any details about the incident.
That by itself is a bit odd because Roach is rarely reluctant to speak her mind. Last year when she claimed Hewitt had mooned her, she sent out of press release. (For the record, Hewitt says he jokingly turned away from Roach and lifted the back of his suit jacket – sort of a faux-moon).
“We agreed not to talk about it,” Roach said. “I’m not going to talk about it. But if someone says anything about me, I’m going right to what he (Hewitt) did to me.”
A caucus spokesman confirmed that a closed caucus was held yesterday (that means no staff allowed – all caucuses are closed to the public and reporters) and that Roach remains a member of the Senate GOP caucus.
Having one fewer member of the Senate GOP caucus wouldn’t be that significant politically. Democrats have a 31-18 advantage. But it would be pretty unusual to have a senator be without a caucus and would be nearly unprecedented to have a member lose all committee assignments. Republican Rep. Jim Dunn from southwest Washington faced a similar sanction for harassing a staff member and later lost a re-election bid.