Elections

Loren Culp backs Semi Bird for governor, calls frontrunner Dave Reichert “a looney liberal”

Grifter and for­mer guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Loren Culp is urg­ing his admir­ers and fol­low­ers to take a pass on fel­low Repub­li­can Dave Reichert’s 2024 cam­paign for gov­er­nor and instead go all in on Semi Bird, the recent­ly oust­ed Rich­land school board mem­ber who was recalled by vot­ers for bla­tant­ly flout­ing state law.

Culp, who used to be employed by Repub­lic as a police­man, denounced Reichert today in a post on Twit­ter, writ­ing: “DNA caught the green riv­er killer, don’t believe the hype. Reichert vot­ed like a looney lib­er­al in Con­gress. Sup­port a real hero for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton. Here are just some of his cre­den­tials: Bronze Star for Val­or, Pur­ple Heart, Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal, Army Com­men­da­tion Medal (4).”

Respons­es to Culp’s post were mixed.

“Yeah — I don’t under­stand the hype sur­round­ing Reichert except he is a famil­iar name. We don’t anoth­er RINO, we need change and that’ll only hap­pen with [Bird],” said a Culp fol­low­er call­ing them­selves the “Ever­green Constitutionalist”.

“Yep. Reichert even went to Ridge­ways [sic] house and talked to him when he had a vic­tim in the house,” said a Culp sup­port­er with the han­dle Chopper2525. “He walked away. Ridge­way was the #1 sus­pect for years and Reichert could­n’t touch him. Only thru DNA was Ridg­way caught.”

Anoth­er Twit­ter user said: “Semi Bird would be a good gov­er­nor, but putting up a strong Repub­li­can in a bright blue state is a los­ing strat­e­gy. Reichart [sic] is the only Repub­li­can who has a chance.”

“Culp wants repub­li­cans to nom­i­nate some­one who will lose by an even big­ger mar­gin than he did,” said a user call­ing them­selves the Ever­green Republican.

Many pro­gres­sives agree that Reichert’s claim to fame — I’m the guy who caught the Green Riv­er Killer — is non­sense. Michael Hood’s excel­lent piece on the sub­ject, avail­able from the blath­er­Watch archives, is worth read­ing.

This isn’t the first time Culp has gone after Reichert.

In a gripe video post­ed to YouTube sev­er­al months ago, Culp called Reichert “the estab­lish­men­t’s pick” and berat­ed him and oth­er “RINOs” — mean­ing Repub­li­cans in Name Only – as unprin­ci­pled and corrupt.

“He is for more gov­ern­ment intru­sion into our lives,” Culp says in the video.

“Reichert even praised Jay Inslee on his han­dling of the pan­dem­ic in an inter­view… which, to me, in and of itself, is absolute­ly pathet­ic. Don’t expect Dave Reichert to stand up for you in the future. He won’t, because he’s weak-mind­ed. He flails in the wind like a loose kite,” Culp adds.

Reichert and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son are the fron­trun­ners in next year’s guber­na­to­r­i­al con­test, accord­ing to NPI’s research. When pit­ted against Bird and Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let in a sur­vey last month, 31% of respon­dents picked Reichert and 31% picked Fer­gu­son. Only 10% said they would vote for Bird, and a mere 5% said they would vote for Mullet.

In a sub­se­quent head-to-head ques­tion, Reichert edged Fer­gu­son, 46% to 44%.

Among Repub­li­can vot­ers, our polling finds Reichert with a more than 2‑to‑1 advan­tage over Bird. Bird’s sup­port was unchanged from our last poll in the spring­time, when he also received 10%. He clear­ly has a few sup­port­ers out there, but our data sug­gests he’s nowhere close to Reichert.

It’s evi­dent from Culp’s com­ments that he sees his views as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Repub­li­can elec­torate in Wash­ing­ton. In anoth­er sec­tion of his gripe video, Culp brags about how he received more votes than Rob McKen­na and Bill Bryant, Jay Inslee’s 2012 and 2016 Repub­li­can oppo­nents. How­ev­er, any Repub­li­can could have accom­plished that because the uni­verse of reg­is­tered vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton has been increas­ing with each pres­i­den­tial cycle.

There were 3,904,959 reg­is­tered vot­ers in the 2012 elec­tion, 4,270,270 reg­is­tered vot­ers in the 2016 elec­tion, and 4,892,871 reg­is­tered vot­ers in the 2020 election.

Since it’s not pos­si­ble to do an apples-to-apples com­par­i­son with absolute num­bers of vot­ers from dif­fer­ent cycles, let’s con­sid­er the per­cent­ages: Rob McKen­na got 48.46% of the vote when he ran, Bill Bryant got 45.61%, and Loren Culp got 43.12%. Culp’s per­for­mance in 2020 was objec­tive­ly worse than either Bryant or McKen­na; he was Gov­er­nor Inslee’s weak­est opponent.

The only rea­son Culp made it to the gen­er­al elec­tion with Inslee is because Repub­li­cans failed to recruit a strong can­di­date for gov­er­nor in 2020. Culp’s Repub­li­can com­peti­tors includ­ed Tim Eyman, Joshua Freed, and Raul Gar­cia, none of whom had the name recog­ni­tion or stature of some­one like Reichert, McKen­na, or even Bryant. The right wing elec­torate was sub­stan­tial­ly split, and Culp earned a spot on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot with a mere 17.41% of the Top Two vote.

Even if Semi Bird starts get­ting more trac­tion and winds up per­form­ing as well as Culp did in the elim­i­na­tion round, he’d still prob­a­bly lose to Reichert next sum­mer. To eclipse Reichert, Bird would have to sig­nif­i­cant­ly broad­en his base of vot­ers. But that’s going to be excep­tion­al­ly hard to do giv­en his check­ered his­to­ry, cam­paign cash­flow and com­pli­ance dif­fi­cul­ties, and extreme, ultra MAGA views.

Andrew Villeneuve

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