Ties between the Republican Party and far-right extremists continue to increase in Oregon.
In June, Republican legislators fled the state as right-wing militia groups pushed for an armed stand-off. Now, the GOP chair of the state's largest county is defending a notorious extremist accused of inciting violence.
"The chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party has agreed to defend Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson in a $1 million civil lawsuit, adding another tie between Gibson's far-right group and the mainstream GOP," Willamette Week reported Friday. "The owner of Portland ciderey and pub Cider Riot sued Gibson after his followers showed up at the business May 1 seeking a confrontation with antifascist demonstrators. Fights broke out and were captured on film outside the bar."
"Gibson's Patriot Prayer stages protests that often devolve into brawls. The group has close ties to the Proud Boys, a collection of men who call themselves 'western chauvinists' and has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center," the report explained. "The Proud Boys have drawn closer to the mainline GOP in the past two years."
The report noted "Buchal has made headlines in the past for affiliating the party chapter with fringe groups on the far-right. In 2017, he agreed to allow paramilitary organizations like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters provide security at GOP events in Portland."
Gibson was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018.