Category: WSRP Chair Election 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Washington Republicans Elect Former News Anchor Susan Hutchison as New State Party Chair

SusanHutchison-001SPOKANE — Republicans in Washington State decided to draw from outside its ranks Saturday to replace recently resigned Washington State Republican Party Chair Kirby Wilbur, electing former television news anchor and King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison as its new chair.

Four candidates were nominated during the WSRP’s meeting, held in the air-conditioned comfort of the Red Lion Inn conference center: Hutchison, interim-Chair Luanne Van Werven, James Walsh and Christian Berrigan.

Winning the chair election required a simple majority of the 107 voting delegates in attendance and the decision came after two ballots. The first ballot was indecisive with Van Werven taking the largest number of votes, 41, but not achieving a majority. Hutchison was the second leading votegetter with 39. Walsh earned 16 and Berrigan received 11.

On the second ballot, Hutchison received 59 votes to become the new chair.

Immediately following the announcement of results, Hutchison gave a brief address to the committee, thanking Van Werven for her service as interim-Chair, but it was in her address as a candidate that she described her vision for the party moving forward.

In a well-delivered speech that opened with the salutation of Pres. George Washington to war-weary Revolutionary War troops – “My brave fellows” – Hutchison sympathized with the malaise of many rank and file in her party. Then, in the only moment among all candidates speeches that received solid applause, she remanded Republicans to remember their greatest advantage: “We are right and they are wrong.”

Hutchison also delivered a sharp rebuke of prior administration’s handling of administrative finances and being slow to evolve in its use of technology.

Hutchison’s election and Van Werven’s resettling into her prior vice chair role means that statewide Republicans are now led by two women, a blessing in the sense that it sends a clear message that a so-called War on Women is a product of liberal mythmakers, but a problem in that state law requires chair and vice chair leadership of major political parties to be of the opposite gender. The WSRP bylaws, however, do not require a sitting officeholder to relinquish their seat to comply with the law.

Republicans chose to table the discussion on bringing the WSRP into compliance, a move that has solid precedent in prior leadership changes. As we wrote last month:

In 2006, former WSRP Chair Chris Vance resigned and Diane Tebelius was elected to replace him, but then-Vice Chair Fredi Simpson remained in her position until she was elected national committeewoman. That transition process may (or may not) have established a precedent for how the process works in the event of a vacancy.

Susan Hutchison Wins Straw Poll on WSRP Chair Race, Berrigan Second, Van Werven Third

WSRPChairRaceStrawPollResults2013The votes have been tallied and analyzed and former television news anchor Susan Hutchison has taken in NW Daily Marker’s informal online candidate preference straw poll of the race for Washington State Republican Party Chair.

Of 644 votes cast between 9:50 a.m. Wednesday and midnight Thursday when the survey was closed, Hutchison received 222 votes, 34.5% of all votes cast, to top the list of preferred candidates among respondents.

Not surprising to anyone who has watched the groundswell, Clark County Republican operative Christian Berrigan was the second-highest vote-getter with 159 votes (24.7%). Berrigan began the race with primarily Clark County support but has since increased his backing from libertarians.

Current WSRP interim-Chair Luanne Van Werven – whose campaign for the seat has generated a steady stream of key endorsements among voting delegates to the state committee, and who Republican insiders say has lined up the votes she needs to win when members conduct the real vote this Saturday in Spokane – made a third place showing with 122 votes (18.9%).

Rounding out the results among the seven candidates: Grays Harbor State Committeeman James Walsh earned a fourth place finish with 90 votes (14%), state Sen. Pam Roach took 48 votes (7.5%), former state Sen. Lawrence Faulk received 3 votes (0.5%) and Benton County Precinct Committee Officer Lloyd Becker received no votes.

The straw poll was not scientific and so a true margin of error cannot be calculated.

Vote in the NW Daily Marker WSRP Chair Election Straw Poll

UPDATE: Our straw poll has closed. Be sure to check out the results here.

The 117 members of the Washington State Republican Party will vote this Saturday, Aug. 24 to elect a new chair. By voting once in our anonymous straw poll, you can send a message to have your preference heard before the voting delegates make their decision.

The poll will close at midnight Thursday, Aug. 22. The results will be compiled and reported on Friday.

Note: In order to promote fairness, the order of candidate names are randomized in the survey below. This poll is not a scientific survey.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Brian Luke: Vote Susan Hutchison for WSRP Chair

I’ve made an effort to familiarize myself with the now seven candidates for the Washington State Republican Party (WSRP) chair’s seat that will be decided next Saturday. They clearly offer attributes that the party needs: passion, experience, connections, critical thinking skills and leadership ability. But Susan Hutchison stands out. Her background in fundraising, communications and leadership will be a huge asset to the Republican Party.


Susan has worn a number of hats over the years. In fact, her résumé just blows me away: news anchor, executive director for the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for the Arts and Sciences, adjunct professor for Seattle Pacific University’s (SPU) MBA program, former candidate for King County Executive, member of the King County Independent Task Force on Elections, an appointment to the Governor’s Committee for Education, part of the NCAA Committee for Compliance at the University of Washington, and many board positions, including former board chair of the Seattle Symphony.


Susan’s experience in raising money for non-profits would be a huge benefit. This experience not only comes with connections but also know-how. Although those efforts are outside the party, she is known by long-time and well-respected Republicans as one of the best fundraisers around, a real natural at it.


Her communications experience would help the party connect with voters. She was a communications consultant for ten years and used her experience to teach graduate students at SPU about managerial communications. She knows how to apply this experience to candidates in the Republican Party, who often fall into pitfalls that the Democrats set for them. Furthermore, she understands that the party needs to effectively communicate its values. She drives these points home in her introductory statement at a recent statewide Republican Liberty Caucus board meeting (see website for video). Moreover, she understands that 21st century communication methods need to be implemented.


Susan’s service on boards has provided her with superb leadership credentials. For those that have experience on boards, you know that you must often find compromise for decisions on important issues and you need to realize that the decisions that you make don’t just affect the board but also members of a whole organization, who need to have a say. Furthermore, you need to delegate duties that draw upon a strong team with diverse talents. Susan understands these things and can provide effective leadership that listens to all viewpoints and factions within the party and is open to innovative strategies that accomplish goals.

For all of the above reasons, I strongly urge the WSRP State Committee to vote for Susan Hutchison for State Chair.

The WSRP Chair Race — A Youth Perspective

(Note: The Young Republicans of Washington did not endorse in this race. Mr. Wallace’s viewpoints are his own, though two previous statewide YR Chairman have also endorsed Luanne.)

Questions for a WSRP Chair

First off, I have a few questions for any prospective WSRP Chair:

  1. How much are they helping Jan Angel?  That is THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY for this year.
  2. Can they win the hearts and minds of the youth to build this party going into 2016?
  3. Will they commit to data harvesting and micro targeting operations for our state party?
  4. Can they take advantage of 2014 being a non-statewide, non US Senate cycle for the state of Washington to rebuild the party – from the ground up and not from the top-down?
  5. Will they go on the attack to win, using the truth?
  6. When did you affiliate with the Republican Party?  I know of at least one candidate who declared 4 years ago that they’d never affiliated with a political party.

Why the first and last question are the most important.

I’d like to know – what have they done SO FAR to help Jan Angel get elected?  I don’t want a promise to help in that race.  I want a track record.

What I don’t want –is a WSRP chair that cares more about the name on the back of the jersey than the front, so to speak.  I don’t want a WSRP chair that spends the first few weeks on the job explaining when they became a Republican after proclaiming so loudly that they’d never affiliated with a party.

That statement was made July 19, 2009 by one of the candidates.  Do your own research; I won’t say who it is in this venue.  We need someone not afraid of the Republican name.  That’s something we can ALL agree on.  As a matter of fact – that’s the beginning of the conversation.

The winning formula: PB+D>C

Next, we need a chair that understands what PB+D>C is.

For you non political geeks – it’s simple.

P is the probability that you can affect outcome with your vote.

B is the benefit of who you support – candidate or party – if elected.

D is internal motivators.  Drivers, we’ll call them.

C is the cost to vote.  This is time, etc.


  1. We need to get the word out about races like Buys, Zeiger, and Olson in order to drive up the perception of “P”.
  2. We need to not only positively define our candidate – but negatively define the opponent.  We need CONTRAST between our candidates and the ones the Dem’s run against us.  Without that contrast – B is zero.  For those of you who failed math – any number multiplied by zero IS zero.  That leaves civic duty and personal satisfaction as drivers.  We can’t let the opponent negatively define us.  Dems are good at this – we are not and we need to be.

Where does this leave us?

When I apply this set of criteria – I say vote for Luanne Van Werven.

This is only a personal endorsement – not the endorsement of the Washington Young Republicans Federation.  However – I was elected to that role because of the trust placed in my judgment to determine how to best grow, train and deploy the organization.

As an aside – I was able to meet Jan Angel right here in Whatcom County.  As a matter of fact, Luanne Van Werven co- hosted the event.  I don’t know if the other candidates for WSRP chair have yet held an event for Jan Angel, or even if they intend to.

It isn’t just me.

It isn’t just me – the Young Republicans State President prior to me – Daniel Turner who is on his way to Grad School at Hillsdale college just earlier today endorsed Luanne for Chair.  The Young Republicans State President prior to him – Jeremy Jasman – from Odessa Washington, who grew up on a family farm – has also endorsed her earlier today.

That’s 3 diverse consecutive statewide executives of Young Republicans – all endorsing Luanne Van Werven.  Isn’t that unity?

The three of us support Luanne Van Werven.


Join the current as well as last two Young Republican State Presidents in supporting Luanne Van Werven for WSRP chair.  Then, look up and call your county’s voting members – Chair, State Committeeman and State Committeewoman and let them know to do the same.

We deserve a winning party.  Luanne’s leadership swept the 42nd legislative district.  It’s time to use that winning blueprint statewide.

And Then There Were Seven–State Sen. Pam Roach Among Candidates Running to Lead State GOP

StateSenPamRoachState Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) becomes the seventh person declared and running in the hot and heavy race to determine who will lead the Washington State Republican Party through the remainder of recently-resigned chair Kirby Wilbur‘s term in office.

Roach’s campaign seems to have embarked at a Saturday night regional candidate forum hosted by the Pierce County Republican Party. Roach joined five other candidates competing for the WSRP Chair spot — Susan Hutchison, Luanne Van Werven, Larry Faulk, Jim Walsh and Christian Berrigan. (Candidate Lloyd Becker did not appear at the event.)

Photos posted to the Pierce County Republican Party’s Facebook page from the event show Roach addressing the audience.

We reached out to Roach by email for confirmation from her but did not hear back by time of publication.




Republican Liberty Caucus of WA: Elect James Walsh as WSRP Chair

[What follows is the entire WSRP Chair endorsement as sent to us by Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington Vice Chair Matt Dubin.]

On Sunday, August 11, the Board of Directors of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington met for its regular quarterly meeting.  First on the agenda was the consideration of four candidates seeking election as Chair of the Washington State Republican Party. The mere fact that all four major candidates for this position drove to Ellensburg to present themselves to the RLC is a testament to the hard work we have done and to the passion and involvement of our membership across the State.

Prior to this meeting, the Board had already deliberated informally for a week with all of the County Chairs, who were in communication with their respective members. At the meeting, each candidate had three minutes to introduce themselves, followed by 5 minutes of questions from the members present and then questions from the board. After a brief discussion, the endorsement vote was postponed until midnight the following day to allow board members to conduct a final day of research and to obtain additional feedback from the membership.

When the votes were in there were 8 votes for Jim Walsh with one abstention.

(CORRECTION – 3:32PM August 13, 2013: Apparently the ninth vote was not an abstention, but was hung up in cyberspace. It was for Christian Berrigan, making the vote total 8 for Walsh and 1 for Berrigan).

Jim Walsh is a big man. In stature, personality and voice, Walsh can fill a room. If “bigness” was the sole qualification for being Washington State Republican Party Chair, Walsh would win by acclamation, and would easily step into the position so recently vacated by Kirby Wilbur.

However, the position Walsh is seeking requires much more than a commanding personality. The Washington State Republican Party is floundering.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  The party is divided, demoralized and dragged down by top-heavy administrative costs. Donors are keeping their pocketbooks closed and grassroots activists are increasingly staying home.  The causes of this malaise are many, and the solutions required are bold and dramatic. It will take an ongoing commitment to transparency, messaging, fundraising and activism to restore the party and to advance the cause of liberty.

Our new Chair must personify a commitment to fairness and transparency, with adherence to the rules and empowerment of the grassroots as his top priority.  Such leadership will begin to ease the distrust that exists within the party and will allow us to once again articulate a clear, unifying message of liberty, free markets and limited, constitutional government, not just because they are good things to have, but because they will lead us to a healthier, happier, more prosperous society with greater opportunity for all Washingtonians.

In a recent email to the State Committee members who will be voting for our new chair on August 24, Walsh wrote:

“We can reject the proposition that there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ sort of Republican—and that a few people sitting in an office in Bellevue can make the decision of which is which. We can embrace the decisions of the county committees and grassroots GOP groups as the voice of our marketplace speaking. The WSRP can rearrange its structure and psychology to draw from the counties up, instead of from the National Committee down. We can build transparency and trust. This isn’t easy. But it’s doable.”

This is exactly the kind of leadership we need at the top of the WSRP.

On messaging, Walsh is equally clear.  As an accomplished author, small business owner and State Committeeman from Grays Harbor County, Walsh has a deep understanding of constitutional government and of the insidious threats to liberty that can result from the best of intentions.

Another excerpt from a Walsh email:

“When I’m Chairman, the first mission of the WSRP will be to give candidates and voters a political frame that’s clear and strong: Transparency in government at all levels. Lower taxes. Balanced budgets at all levels—even when they cut against programs we like. And, when it comes to prioritizing state spending, education comes first. These points may sound familiar to you, because you’re a political insider. We haven’t made them to the ordinary voter clearly enough, loudly enough or often enough.”

While many of us in the RLC take issue with the public education system, it is, pursuant to the Washington State Constitution, the highest priority in state spending, and Walsh understands this reality. He also understands that secrecy in government is the greatest threat to individual liberty. The same is true of secrecy in party government as well.

Walsh makes it clear that this emphasis on re-establishing trust within the Washington State Republican Party, and clarifying the messaging will inevitably lead to a resurgence in financial donations and will energize the army of grassroots activists who are just waiting to promote candidates they can believe in once again.

I want to thank all of the candidates who came to speak with us in Ellensburg.  It took character for Luanne Van Werven to come to a group that she knew would probably oppose her candidacy.  It was gratifying when Susan Hutchinson acknowledged the dedication and organizational skill of the liberty movement here in Washington and expressed her desire to incorporate that energy into the WSRP.

I particularly want to thank Christian Berrigan.  Berrigan is the Operations Director of the Clark County Republican Party, and has been fighting (with significant success) to advance liberty, limited government and grassroots autonomy for a long time.  He is a true asset to the liberty movement in Washington, and his presentation on Sunday made the endorsement decision very difficult for many of us on the Board.  In the final analysis, for this election, at this time, the Board simply believed that Walsh is the better candidate.  I personally expect to continue seeing great things from Berrigan, and would not be at all surprised to see him in party leadership very soon.

At the end of the day, the Republican Liberty Caucus does not elect the next State Chair.  Of our nine member board, only one of us sits on the State Committee and we do not claim to control a single vote.  Rather, we represent the hopes, aspirations and frustrations of thousands of ordinary Washingtonians who are deeply troubled by the proliferation of big government programs and their advocates, and who seek to restore a commitment to liberty, free markets and limited, constitutional government, first within the Republican Party, and then at all levels of government.

The members of the Committee would be well advised to consider our endorsement and to give Jim Walsh their full and open-minded consideration.  We believe that after giving his candidacy the appropriate due diligence, they will agree with us that he is the best person for the job.

James Walsh Running for State Party Chair to ‘Reboot’ State GOP

Washington State Republican Party Grays Harbor County State Committeeman Jim Walsh rounds out a six-candidate field in the upcoming election to elect a new state GOP chair to replace the recently resigned ex-chair Kirby Wilbur.

Walsh jumped into the race last week with a brief but pointed statement to Republican state committee members.

“I’m running for WSRP because the Party has lost its way philosophically,” Walsh wrote to the committee.

Implying that the reluctance of Evergreen State voters to elect Republicans stems from the party sending out a watered-down message, Walsh promises a “reboot” to reinforce with the electorate that the Republican Party stands for the values of “individual liberty, lower taxes, transparency and balanced budgets at all levels of government.”

Walsh is running against Whatcom County State Committeewoman and interim-Chair Luanne Van Werven, former television news anchor and executive director of the Simonyi Foundation Susan Hutchison, Clark County Republican Party Operations Director Christian Berrigan, Benton County precinct committee officer Lloyd Becker, and former state Senator Larry Faulk.

The WSRP State Committee will vote to elect the new chair at its Aug. 23-24 meeting in Spokane.

Christian Berrigan Among the Field in Six-Way Campaign to be Next WSRP Chair

Christian Berrigan, operations director of the Clark County Republican Party, is one of five individuals trying to convince the Washington State Republican Party State Committee that he is the right person to lead the state GOP in the wake of former Chair Kirby Wilbur’s abrupt resignation last month.

“The decision to run for chair was not taken lightly, and while my goals are many, there is one and only one ultimate purpose to my candidacy: To advance our Republican Agenda,” Berrigan wrote in a campaign statement delivered to the 117 voting members of the state committee.

Berrigan identified himself as “a 90s values voter who found comfort in the Tea Party movement and is now positively influenced by my multitude of friends in the Liberty Movement” and mentioned often his desire to bring together factions inside the party.

Berrigan has a handful of endorsements, most notably from state Senator Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and state Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) both of whom represent constituents within Clark County.


Brian Luke: The Race for the Chair is Really About Who Can Renew Interest in the GOP | Op-Ed

Since Kirby Wilbur’s resignation as the WSRP Chair, much discussion has occurred as to what qualities are needed in the new chair, which will be chosen in late August. Rob McKenna wrote a great piece outlining some of the skills the new chair needs, which includes grassroots experience, good communication skills and fundraising abilities. And Steve Beren mentioned in his commentary about a chair encouraging the building of a farm team, which can boost Republican victories. All of these skills are no doubt important, but the new chair must also create a renewed interest in the Republican Party. This effort will be the linchpin that saves the party from extinction within Washington State (and nationally).

The Problem

The Republican Party has a challenge when growing its membership. Although there are spikes in membership from time to time, such as the entry into the party of the Ron Paul supporters and the Tea Party, the party cannot always keep the momentum going. You won’t find a whole lot of people entering into the party who aren’t from a particular group, such as the Ron Paul folks or the Tea Party. And the party needs to focus on getting these individuals involved.

Although you might chalk it all up to a liberal media, I think it’s time to take a look in the mirror for once. The Republican brand has been hurt over time. Much of it can be attributed more to national rather than state issues. But as you know, what happens nationally, affects voters within Washington State at all levels. I believe that the party needs to take a look at how people perceive our party. It’s really a matter of who we keep out through five obstacles of our own making.

The Causes

The Fox News Stamp – I think it’s fair to say that many people associate the Republican Party with Fox News. Let’s be frank, Fox leans to the right, and a lot of Republicans like it because of this. I like a lot of what Fox does, especially their shows that concisely break down the news and politics of the day. But in some people’s minds, the following equation occurs: Fox News = Bill O’Reilly = the Republican Party. Yeah, sometimes O’Reilly asks some pretty biting questions that need to be asked, but for the most part I have perceived him as a bit arrogant and kind of a bully – rudely interrupting people and belittling his guests if they don’t take his point of view. That becomes a problem when it stereotypes Republicans (yes, I know O’Reilly claims to be an independent). This can be a put-off to voters. The Republican Party isn’t Bill O’Reilly and its candidates aren’t clones of O’Reilly – I’ve met some of them and they are quite articulate and nice people. You don’t have to be like O’Reilly to express the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility.

Defense Issues – A second thing that people associate with the Republican Party is hawkishness on and much spending on defense/military issues. Now most people aren’t opposed to spending on necessary defense issues – combat readiness and deploying troops when attacked. But the party, or I should say its elected officers in the U.S. Congress, sometimes go beyond that, spending too much on new weaponry and wanting to get involved in every revolution around the globe, even if that means only sending guns to rebels (even when the nature of such rebels may be in question). This kind of policy is neither fiscally responsible with a $16 trillion debt nor is it respecting of American soldiers and their families.  Spending all of that money goes against the principles of the Republican Party. You don’t need to go into debt to provide for the “common defense” and the Republican Party needs to get that across to voters, who may see Republicans as no more fiscally responsible than the Democrats.

Freedom – A third thing is freedom. People often want more of it. The party has done a pretty good job of encouraging freedom, but maybe it could do better and be more consistent. The party sometimes gives conflicting messages with regards to freedom.  In 2011, it supported the initiative to privatize liquor sales. Although I didn’t support it because I believed that it should have allowed smaller stores to sell liquor, I understood the principle of privatization. But in 2012, the party was against the marijuana initiative, primarily because drugs are bad. Understood, but what you’re saying, whether intended or not, is that it’s good to expand access to liquor but it’s not good to let someone smoke a joint. The Washington State voter and political junkie might ask the following question: Is this consistent with freedom and does the Republican Party support freedom? This question should be freely debated and discussed within the party.

Religion – A fourth thing is a matter of faith. A general stereotype is that the Republican Party is only for people of Judaeo-Christian faiths. I know the reality is different because I’m not a member of any faith and I feel comfortable in the party. But I can see where people might buy into that stereotype. Sometimes the issues get clothed in religiosity, such as mentioning devotion to God. It’s my general viewpoint that if you can’t express a viewpoint on an issue in a secular manner to a voter then you really don’t have a case. For example, I believe the pro-life cause could be much further along if religion were taken out of it. I’ve always been pro-life because I’m concerned with the child inside the womb, not because of the interpretation of any Bible verse. I believe the party needs to be conscious of and seek the support of people of faith and non-faith.

Youth Involvement – A fifth thing is youth involvement. As I’ve attended local Republican meetings I just don’t see enough young people in the crowd. I believe that young people want a radical discussion of freedom and they just don’t see the Republican Party as supportive of that. They may not go to the Democratic Party but they won’t go to the Republican Party either. Furthermore, I think another reason the youth won’t go towards the right is that we are not prepared to relate to their experiences in life. Although the party praises Ronald Reagan for his economic policies, people from the ages of 18-30 were very young or not even born yet during his administration.


These five obstacles to renewed interest in the Republican Party are serious. They limit donations and grassroots involvement. I would be pleased if the new State Chair at least recognized these obstacles and made an effort to remove them within Washington State and at the RNC. I’m not expecting radical changes as change usually comes gradually. But if progress does not move in this direction by means of the public persona of the new State Chair and through his or her association with Republican candidates, the existence of the Party and the pursuit of limited government and fiscal responsibility will be at risk.

Brian Luke is the Vice-Chair of the Snohomish County Republican Party.

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