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The Mainstream Republicans are a group associated with the Washington State Republican Party, but independent of the party's state central committee. Mainstream was founded over forty years ago, during the days when the Republican Party was the party of Dan Evans and still had a progressive wing. (Video still)

The Main­stream Repub­li­cans of Wash­ing­ton are seek­ing to restore stream­flow after many years parched of influ­ence, watch­ing Democ­rats hold onto pow­er while the far right has tak­en what used to be the par­ty of Lin­coln on a los­ing streak.

To that end, the Main­stream­ers have endorsed a statewide tick­et months ahead of the August Top Two elec­tion. Its can­di­dates will, how­ev­er, need to swim upstream, for Don­ald Trump is like­ly to lose Wash­ing­ton – bigtime.

Atop the tick­et is for­mer sev­en-term Con­gress­man Dave Reichert, who is run­ning for Gov­er­nor after toy­ing with a can­di­da­cy for mul­ti­ple cycles. 

Dr. Raul Gar­cia, an emer­gency room physi­cian from Yaki­ma, is tak­ing on Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, in office for 24 years and heav­i­ly favored for reelection. 

Oust­ed by ultra MAGA extrem­ist Joe Kent in the 2022 Top Two elec­tion, for­mer U.S. Rep. Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler is seek­ing a come­back run­ning for Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands. She was one of ten House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Pres­i­dent Trump after the Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021, insur­rec­tion at the Unit­ed States Capi­tol. Round­ing out the tick­et is for­mer State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chad Magen­danz for Office of Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion. Magen­danz is an out­spo­ken advo­cate of char­ter schools. 

“This is prob­a­bly the strongest line­up of exec­u­tive Repub­li­can can­di­dates in Wash­ing­ton state in at least a decade: Each of these can­di­dates can build a coali­tion of Repub­li­cans, inde­pen­dents, and Democ­rats who want to see pos­i­tive change in the state”, said Dean­na Mar­tinez, who heads Main­stream Republicans. 

Mar­tinez cast the four can­di­dates as “prag­mat­ic prob­lem solvers” as opposed to Demo­c­ra­t­ic “ide­o­logues”. She described state Repub­li­cans as a “big tent coali­tion,” a wish­ful and out­dat­ed definition.

The “Main­stream­ers” will be shar­ing the tick­et with Trump, who lost King Coun­ty by a half-mil­lion votes in 2020, and 3rd Dis­trict con­gres­sion­al can­di­date Joe Kent, who wants to put Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci on tri­al for mur­der. And the Main­stream Repub­li­cans have them­selves embraced far-right Repub­li­can State Chair­man State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Walsh, a blus­ter­ing pres­ence in the Wash­ing­ton Legislature.

The Repub­li­cans last held the gov­er­nor’s office in 1984, when John Spell­man was vot­ed out of office by vot­ers who want­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Booth Gard­ner. Gard­ner has been fol­lowed by four more Demo­c­ra­t­ic governors.

The state has been rep­re­sent­ed in Con­gress by two Democ­rats, Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell, since 2000. Mur­ray won her sixth term in a land­slide two years ago, once more under­es­ti­mat­ed by the Republicans.

Still, Repub­li­cans have come close to win­ning the gov­er­nor­ship in 2004 and 2012. But Reichert will like­ly face off against Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, a chess cham­pi­on who has a record of out­work­ing and out­think­ing his competition. 

The Repub­li­cans field­ed what they thought was a strong leg­isla­tive tick­et two years ago. Eight high­ly recruit­ed, well financed can­di­dates sought to flip Demo­c­rat-held seats in the Leg­is­la­ture. All of them lost.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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