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Everett newspaper rescinds candidate endorsement after discovering 'misrepresentations'

Clyde Shavers is running for a state House seat in the 10th legislative district. His father wrote a letter to the newspaper saying Shavers made misleading claims.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The editorial board of the Everett Herald newspaper rescinded the endorsement of a state legislative candidate after the paper said it found “serious misrepresentations” in the candidate’s work history.

On Tuesday, the board changed the paper’s endorsement from Democratic candidate Clyde Shavers, to current Rep. Greg Gilday, a Republican.

Gilday is running for re-election to represent the state’s 10th Legislative District, which includes Whidbey Island, Camano Island and Stanwood.

The board said it determined in campaign filings Shavers claimed he worked as an attorney, despite never passing the state’s bar exam.

The Herald also questioned postings on Shavers’ campaign website, citing an earlier claim that he served as a Naval Submarine Officer. The paper found Shavers did not complete the training to serve on a submarine, instead served as a public affairs officer.

The website currently reads Shavers' "commissioned into the nuclear submarine community" before taking a job as a public affairs officer.

Shavers' own father, Brett Shavers, wrote a letter to his son’s opponent about those claims, and others.

In the letter, which Brett Shavers said was the “most difficult” thing he’d ever written, said he wanted to correct his son’s record “factually and personally” as a “matter of integrity.”

“Clyde was never a submarine officer, not even for a day,” Brett Shavers wrote, adding his son only has “disdain for the military.”

Brett Shavers said his son failed the bar exam and should not represent himself as an attorney while making other false statements about his upbringing and family.

“He has abused it, embellished it, and at times, misled people about it,” Brett Shavers wrote.

Both the Herald and Gilday’s campaign said they verified Brett Shavers, Clyde Shavers’ father, wrote the letter.

In a written statement, Clyde Shavers said his father’s letter was “inaccurate and personally, very painful to me as his son.”

The statement said: “To be clear, this letter is all about politics. While I haven’t spoken to my father for some time, I know that he was at the Capitol on January 6th (2021) – At the time of those texts, I was on military duty in Bahrain. I reached out to my father to let him know that I was safe, and he told me about his intention to travel to Washington, D.C. on January 6th – This is the kind of politics that’s tearing apart families and communities, and my campaign is about healing and moving forward.”

An attorney for Brett Shavers confirmed that Brett Shavers attended the rally in Washington, D.C., but said he did not enter the U.S. Capitol. 

A Clyde Shavers spokesperson said the candidate never represented himself as a working attorney.

The spokesperson said when Clyde Shavers was registering with the Public Disclosure Commission as a candidate, he tried entering “lawyer” on the digital form, but only “attorney-lawyer” came up as an option.

That spokesperson said a lawyer is someone who graduated law school and an attorney is someone who passed the bar exam.

Clyde Shavers graduated from Yale Law School, and “fully intends to take the bar next year and serve as a practicing attorney,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson also said Clyde Shavers never said he was deployed on a submarine, only that he was commissioned as a nuclear submarine officer.

In a written statement, the spokesperson said, “Clyde was commissioned into the nuclear submarine community after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2013. After graduating from Nuclear Power School in 2014 and at the end of NPTU Prototype in 2015, he recognized that his interests lay in a different path in the Navy. After facing challenges and realizing that he wasn’t a good fit for this community towards the end of the program (as he was assigned a submarine), he discussed with his supervisor in undergoing the process to transfer to a different naval community. He served 6 more years in the Navy as a public affairs officer.”

Shavers’ opponent, Gilday, said he had never heard of a newspaper rescinding an endorsement.

“I think that that was the right thing to do,” said Gilday, “And because I think that the letter from his Dad, especially coming from his parents, is, you know, it's a scathing indictment of his character.”

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