Tag: Susan Hutchison

State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison to step down

As the saying goes, it’s out with the old and in with the new at the Washington State Republican Party with a surprise announcement Tuesday morning that chair Susan Hutchison will step down on February 4, according to an official release.

“The WSRP is in a robust financial position with a bright future. I expect that 2018 will result in many exciting wins for the GOP in our state—among them, Dino Rossi will hold the 8th Congressional seat, the Republicans will move into leadership in the State House of Representatives by flipping at least one seat, and there might even be some surprises in the State Senate,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison was elected chair in 2013 to serve out the remainder of outgoing Chair Kirby Wilbur‘s term after he stepped aside to head up the Young America’s Foundation’s journalism program. She was re-elected in 2015 and 2017 to consecutive two-year terms.

According to the WSRP’s announcement, the man or woman who will serve out the remainder of the current term will be elected at the party’s state committee meeting scheduled for January 20 in Moses Lake.

Northwest Daily Marker was also shown an email Hutchison sent to members of the state committee and executive board, a graceful exit note in which she offered her insights about the qualities the party should seek in her successor but did not offer any hints about her future plans.

It’s not a secret that the party has struggled to contend with voter angst regarding Pres. Donald Trump, particularly in suburban parts of Western Washington where Republicans had experienced some success in recent years. However, last year’s loss of the 45th legislative district state Senate race has been quietly discussed among insiders as an early warning of a possible tsunami ahead. Hutchison was a strident supporter of Trump throughout the bumps, gaffes, and sporadic flourishes of the 2016 presidential race.

The complete release from the WSRP is as follows:

Susan Hutchison Stepping Down as WSRP Chairman

The longtime Chairman of the WSRP, Susan Hutchison, announced today that she will step down from her leadership role on February 4, 2018. “The WSRP is in a robust financial position with a bright future. I expect that 2018 will result in many exciting wins for the GOP in our state—among them, Dino Rossi will hold the 8th Congressional seat, the Republicans will move into leadership in the State House of Representatives by flipping at least one seat, and there might even be some surprises in the State Senate, “Susan said.

Elected soon after the 2012 elections, Susan took over a party that was demoralized and broke. As a skilled fundraiser, she substantially increased small-dollar and major donor contributions. “Unlike the Democrats, we don’t have the public employee unions writing us big checks to keep the lights on, so we depend on the investments of more than 7,000 loyal Republicans throughout the state.” That money is used to win elections at every level of government, with emphasis on those serving “under the dome” in Olympia. In fact, during Susan’s chairmanship, the GOP flipped 9 seats to the Democrats’ 3 takeaways in Olympia.

As leader of the 125-member State Central Committee, Susan is known for fairness and respect for other’s views. “Whether at the State Committee meetings or the huge State Convention, Chairman Hutchison presides with strength and skill. Everyone trusts her to hold the balance between allowing every voice to be heard and maintaining order,” says Caleb Heimlich, who has served under two chairmen as WSRP Executive Director. “We all think she is a great leader.”

Chairman Hutchison is recognized at the RNC for her professional management of the WSRP and has trained others how to turn their state parties around. “I’m particularly proud of the talented men and women who serve alongside me. Together, we have grown the resources that political parties need to help candidates, volunteers and elected officials. Training, voter registration and identification, data, messaging and fundraising are some of the services we provide.”

Susan serves on the RNC Executive Committee, appointed by RNC Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel who also asked her to be on the Transition Committee in early 2017. “I’m pleased that the national party recognizes the quality of the three members of the Washington delegation, including Jeff Kent, National Committeeman and Fredi Simpson, National Committeewoman, alongside whom I have been honored to serve,” Susan said.

Susan was elected to the Debate Committee during the 2015-16 Republican Primary season. “The highlight of that long and unique Primary contest was our voters selecting a candidate who would go on to win the Presidency. I never doubt the voters’ wisdom—it’s the core of democracy,” Susan said. “President Trump has made good on his promises in 2017 and I look forward to what 2018 will bring.”

Susan is in her 5th year as Chairman, having served twice as long as the average tenure of her 7 predecessors. “I have loved this job–especially the challenges. I hope I will be remembered for being strong and courageous, standing up for Republican voters.”

Election for a new WSRP Chairman will be held at the winter State Committee meeting on January 20, 2018 in Moses Lake. After a two-week transition, the new Chairman will start February 5, 2018.


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.

Steve Beren: Elect Susan Hutchison as WSRP Chair | Op-Ed


All Republicans – conservative, moderate, or libertarian – should be able to agree that a strong fundraising effort is needed to promote the Republican platform, elect Republican candidates, and aggressively battle the Democrats and the liberal media.  Excellent and proven fundraising ability is an absolute requirement for the next chair of the Washington State Republican Party.

Last week, when Kirby Wilbur resigned as WSRP Chair, the Seattle Times reported that Susan Hutchison was giving consideration to running for the position.  “I think there is a lot to be done, and it requires someone who is dynamic, understands the territory and the state and can raise money and bring people together….  It is not a good thing that our city, our county, and our state have become one-party dominated,” she told the interviewer.

Susan Hutchison would make an excellent party chair, and I hope she decides to seek the WSRP leadership.  She has proven extraordinary fundraising skills, and is an effective communicator – well known throughout the state for her more than 20 years as a TV news anchor.


Given the challenges facing our state and nation, and given the WSRP’s recent electoral and financial setbacks, we can’t just keep going on our current path.  Instead of a routine transition, we need a dynamic change and a fresh approach.

Susan’s 2009 campaign for County Executive in deep blue King County, although not ultimately victorious, deserves praise and recognition.  It is an accepted benchmark that to win a major statewide race (Governor, U.S. Senate), a GOP candidate must receive at least 40% of the vote in King County.

Hutchison received 41% of the vote in the general election (after placing first in the primary).  No GOP candidate for Governor, U.S. Senate, or King County Executive has achieved that result since 1994 – not Dino Rossi in his three statewide campaigns, not Rob McKenna in his gubernatorial campaign; and not Nethercutt, McGavick, or Baumgartner.


In my recent article, “The Next WSRP Chair: Four Requirements” ( http://on.fb.me/15do1SZ ), I wrote, “Fundraising to elect Republican candidates and to promote the Republican platform message is the most important party of the WSRP chairman’s job.  Fundraising [is] hard work, behind the scenes.  Not exciting, but essential.”

In his op ed piece in the August 7 Everett Herald, Rob McKenna identified fundraising as one of the “three key skills” needed by the next WSRP chair.  “The ability to raise the money necessary to successfully implement these infrastructure and communications efforts,” McKenna wrote. “There’s nothing glamorous about this task — it requires hard work, persistence and a fundraising track record.” ( http://bit.ly/17yVIA9 )

Concerning the centrality of fundraising, I’m right and Rob’s right.  And Susan Hutchison is right for the job,


Matt Dubin, chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus of King County, has stated, “No more can we afford to let the state Democrats and the media define us. We must vocally and continually call them on their lies and misrepresentations of Republicans. When they portray us as cold and uncaring, or as pawns for the big banks and corporations, we have a moral obligation to correct them. We must aggressively get our message directly to the voters of Washington.”

Matt’s right – we need to battle the Democrats aggressively, in liberal-dominated King County and in every county throughout the state.  And Susan Hutchison is right for the job.

The Democrats are not content with dominating Seattle – they want to extend their control to the entire state.  We need someone who is media savvy, with excellent fundraising ability, and who knows the importance of uniting all Republicans – conservative, moderate, and libertarian – to promote our message of freedom, economic growth, lower taxes, and limited government.

Susan Hutchison is right for the job – she has my support and endorsement.  The GOP State Committee should elect  Susan Hutcison as the next WSRP Chair.

Susan Hutchison Steps Into Race for WSRP Chair

SusanHutchisonFormer television news anchor and 2009 candidate for King County Executive Susan Hutchison has thrown her hat in the ring and is running to become the next chair of the Washington State Republican Party.

“I’m Susan Hutchison and I’m running for Washington State Republican Party Chair. I’ve reached this decision with the enthusiastic support of family, friends and party faithful,” Hutchison wrote in an email to state committee members sent Friday.

In the communication, Hutchison acknowledged she is an “underdog” in what is now a five-way race between interim-Chair Luanne Van Werven, Grays Harbor County state committeeman Jim Walsh, Clark County Republican Party operations director Christian Berrigan and Lloyd Becker, a precinct committee officer from Benton County, but outlined a strong set of skills that align with many of the criteria mentioned in chatter among the WSRP’s voting members for the choosing the next person to lead the state GOP.

“The upcoming election represents a new chance to grow and strengthen the Republican Party at a crucial time in our state and nation,” Hutchison wrote. “There is no time to lose! We need a Chair with superior skills in fundraising, communication, media, and elections.”

The WSRP state committee is scheduled to vote to elect its new permanent chair at their Aug 23-34 meeting in Spokane, Wash.

The full text of Hutchison’s entire announcement reads:

I’m Susan Hutchison and I’m running for Washington State Republican Party Chair.   I’ve reached this decision with the enthusiastic support of family, friends and party faithful.

The upcoming election represents a new chance to grow and strengthen the Republican Party at a crucial time in our state and nation.  There is no time to lose!  We need a Chair with superior skills in fundraising, communication, media, and elections.  Most of all, we need a Chair who will unite the party so that we can unite state voters to elect our candidates!

I am familiar with the Party at every level.  Even though I am not a member of the State Committee, I hope you will allow me to introduce myself and get to know you.  I’ll be calling each of you in the next few days and traveling across the state in the next two weeks to meet you face to face.

Because I am the underdog in this election, I will work harder than anyone to win your vote!  Thank you for your support and optimism for the future.  Together we can win!


State GOP to Elect New Chair on Aug. 24 — Will It Be a Boy or a Girl?

The Washington State Republican Party will vote at its scheduled August meeting in Spokane to elect a new chair, according to a release sent out from party headquarters Thursday.

The 117 members of the WSRP state committee will select a permanent replacement to succeed Kirby Wilbur who resigned Monday, but state law that prescribes the gender of political party leadership could be a source questions about whether the candidates will be men and women or only men in the race to win the state GOP’s top spot.

The Revised Code of Washington states that in regular elections chairs and vice chairs of political parties must be of opposite gender. From RCW 29A.80.020:

The state committee of each major political party consists of one committeeman and one committeewoman from each county elected by the county central committee at its organization meeting. It must have a chair and vice chair of opposite sexes.

The law goes on to specify when elections must be conducted (in the month of January in odd-numbered years) and how state committee members must be notified, but does not specifically whether the gender requirements also apply in the case of filling a vacancy.

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.

Present-day vice chair Luanne Van Werven is currently serving as interim chair and a similar scenario presents itself, especially since sources tell us Van Werven is now making calls in advance of an announcement that she will run for chair.

So, be they man or woman, who will run? Although no candidates have officially declared in the race, many names are floating. With less than three weeks until state committee members will be asked to vote, it seems right to expect a clear picture of the candidate field to emerge by the end of next week.

In discussions I have had with party members in recent days, a number of names have been mentioned as potential candidates, though only two – Van Werven and Susan Hutchison – have given public statements of their interest in jumping into the race.

The editor of The Everett Herald tweeted Wednesday that a source confirmed Dino Rossi is being “pressured” to run, but Rossi himself has not come forward. One day earlier, The Herald editorialized in support of Rob McKenna picking up the reins of the state GOP, an idea most insiders believe is highly unlikely to become a reality for reasons discussed in The Herald’s endorsement.

Other names heard through the Republican grapevine include: former legislative candidate and current Spokane County GOP Chair Ben Oakley, Franklin County Commissioner and Franklin County Republican Chair Brad Peck, former state Sen. Bill Hinkle, two-time congressional candidate and Snohomish County Councilmember John Koster, state Rep. Cary Condotta, and King County GOP Chair Lori Sotelo.

Field of Potential Candidates Begins to Emerge in Race for Next WSRP Chair

On Tuesday, even before 24 hours had elapsed since Washington State Republican Party Chair Kirby Wilbur’s announcement that he was stepping down immediately to begin a full-time position with the Young America’s Foundation in Washington, D.C., party activists and insiders were buzzing to discover the names of likely candidates who might run to replace him.

If names were snowflakes, it would not be an overstatement to say that chatter over online forums and email quickly became a flurry. According to a well-informed source, 17 people have expressed interest in running for WSRP chair so far.

We fully expect that number to go down quickly, not up, particularly if the tantalizing prospect of luring one of the two recent Republican candidates for governor back to shepherd the party through a tricky time were to become reality. All is quiet in those camps on the issue, for now.

Still, though no one has officially declared an intent to run, a couple of figures have taken half-steps forward to signal definite interest – interim WSRP Chair Luanne Van Werven of Whatcom County and former news anchor and King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison.

Van Werven responded Tuesday evening to questions about rumors of her interest in retaining the role she has stepped into after Wilbur’s quick departure. Her answer, in the language of politics, was as clear an upside-maybe as you’re going to get.

“I believe the continuity and stability of the WSRP is of critical importance. If standing for permanent chair is in the best interest of the state party then I am prepared to do that,” Van Werven wrote to us.

Earlier Tuesday, Hutchison gave her own clear statement to Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times on whether she was interested in leading the state GOP. Hutchison left the door wide open for speculation. From The Seattle Times:

“I think it’s an exciting job, and I think there is a lot to be done, and it requires someone who is dynamic, understands the territory and the state and can raise money and bring people together,” Hutchison said. Asked whether those were qualities she possesses, Hutchison replied: “I think they are.”

When hats are ultimately tossed into the ring and the WSRP state committee’s 117 members vote sometime within the next 90 days to elect a new permanent chair, one of the key questions candidates will have to answer is, “How much money can you raise?”

This year, Republicans hope to provide a tailwind in support of state Rep. Jan Angel who is working hard to unseat recently appointed Democratic incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher in the 26th Legislative District.

Next year, Republicans will attempt to extend a recent trend of picking up seats in both houses of the state Legislature and possibly to flip a congressional seat in what promises to be a tricky midterm election.

Washington U.S. Senate Race: GOP Closer to Finding a Candidate

Republicans in Washington State do not yet have a declared candidate to challenge U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell next year, but the list of potential contenders continues to grow.

State Senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) is testing the waters now with the possible formation of an exploratory committee reported yesterday by NW Daily Marker. Though Baumgartner has only been in public office for less than a full term he brings with him a youthful charismatic image that partners well with an impressive personal history. A check this morning of BaumgartnerForSenate.com finds a site under construction.

In interviews given to NW Daily Marker, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) has categorically left the door open to consider jumping in, but using the same analogy has not stepped out onto the front stoop to address issues in the race. He has, however, voiced a desire to continue growing Washington’s influence in Congress from his seat on Ways and Means. Because of population shifts in Washington, this year’s redistricting could result in some significant changes to the makeup of Reichert’s 8th District, a factor that could have great weight in Reichert’s ultimate decision.

The only potential entrant who has made public statements directed squarely at Cantwell and her record has been Seattle-based media consultant and former White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel. Stanzel’s identification with voters is very low, but observers should not discount the effect of free media. When his name began to circulate as a person of interest, a week-long drip-drip of media coverage followed (including a boost from conservative pundit Dana Perino) and he was not shy about speaking with the press. Stanzel has consistently said he will make a decision about the race shortly after his wedding in early September.

Buzz around former television anchor and 2009 King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison has subsided, as has similar talk that Port of Seattle Commission President Bill Bryant might run to unseat Cantwell.

A sixth mystery candidate continues to fly below the radar, though public chatter on social media last week indicated that party insiders have met with Candidate X.

Still, not one candidate has done more than tip-toe around the idea of possibly thinking about considering a run to challenge a well-heeled but politically vulnerable sitting U.S. Senator at a time when congressional approval ratings are shockingly low.

It is now September 2nd, a year and a several days away from the 2012 general election. There has not been a public poll of the potential field since late spring. Getting in or staying out may boil down to a gut-check by those on the long list of maybes. Those who believe enough in their own chances to win over Washington’s complex electorate will need to take a measured leap of faith, and maybe that’s the proper litmus test.


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