A man who made headlines for brawling with anti-fascist activists in Portland in recent years has apparently found a role within the Clark County Republican Party.
Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who spent two months in jail last year for punching a man in 2018, attended the party’s Feb. 23 meeting to act as the party’s sergeant-at-arms.
Footage of the meeting posted online shows Toese, 24, helping count votes for party officials and, at one point, being asked by party leaders to help escort a man from a microphone during a disagreement.
David Gellatly, an executive board member of the party, said Toese had volunteered earlier that night to help count votes, but doesn’t serve in an official capacity. Clark County Chair Joel Mattila declined to comment.
“We ask for volunteers to count votes,” Gellatly said. “Anybody can volunteer. Doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, just as long as you can count.”
Tuesday night’s meeting was headlined by an ongoing rift within the local Republican Party. The party voted to censure U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who last month supported impeaching then-President Donald Trump. Local party members also introduced Republican candidates to unseat her.
Sergeants-at-arms are not out of the ordinary, according to state-level party officials.
Caleb Heimlich, executive director of the Washington State Republican Party, said sergeants-at-arms help meetings run smoothly. The person may act as security or help set up tables and chairs.
“It’s an aggressive-sounding name, but it’s almost like an usher,” he said. “Most of them, they help take care of the logistics of the meeting.”
Sometimes the role is an elected position, but not always, Heimlich said. The appointment process varies county by county.
According to Clark County bylaws the sergeant-at-arms is elected by county convention, along with other official role members, such as a chairperson, secretary and parliamentarian.
Efforts to contact Toese for comment were not successful.