After Kavanaugh, Washington Republicans confident about midterms
With the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation over with, all eyes are on November’s midterms as Democrats and Republicans engage in a heated competition for the House and the Senate, as well as for state positions.
The recent Supreme Court confirmation hearing stoked political tensions, concerning some on the right that a “blue wave” is coming, putting Democrats in power. But Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo argues that such concerns are not necessary; the Kavanaugh controversy will likely have a unifying effect on Republican voters.
“It’s interesting to see that under the Brett Kavanagh issue, it united never-Trumpers, establishment Republicans, no-vote Trump Republicans, and hardcore Trump supporters – every single one of us were under the same tent,” Caputo told KTTH Radio’s Jason Rantz. “I think as long as the president and the candidates continue to wrap themselves in the cloak of Brett Kavanaugh, that will have a uniting effect.”
Washington State GOP Chair Caleb Heimlich echoes that sentiment at the local level. He calls it an “enthusiasm bump.”
“Our focus is getting those Republicans out to vote; getting those Trump voters out to vote,” Heimlich said. “I think with this enthusiasm bump, we are definitely seeing that. We are optimistic that is going to give us some momentum going forward to keep our base engaged … this has gotten our base very excited, and very engaged.”
Washington state midterms
That’s the hope as a range of Washington state positions go up for grabs this November. Republican Dino Rossi faces Democrat Kim Schrier in a race for the state’s 8th District, for example. Former Washington State GOP Chair Susan Hutchison is challenging incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell for her seat in the Senate. The two candidates completed one of two debates this week.
“It was a clear contrast between Susan Hutchison, who presents very well, was engaging, was passionate about serving the people of Washington state, was optimistic about the direction of our country and moving our country and state forward,” Heimlich said. “And you contrast that in the split screen shots on TV with Sen. Cantwell, who looks more comfortable in DC than here in Washington state. It looked like the last place on Earth she wanted to be. Her answers were typical of a DC insider, dodging the question while Susan was giving clear, concise answers … I think it was a win for Susan.”
Another race that has garnered attention is District 13, currently represented by Republican Rep. Matt Manweller. Like Kavanaugh, Manweller has recently faced a slew of allegations. He was fired from Central Washington University after an investigation concluded that he engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with female students. House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox asked Manweller to step down last month.
Manweller says he will resign from his position, but has argued that voters should still elect him. Heimlich agrees.
“We are obviously encouraging people to vote Republican, vote Manweller in that district,” Heimlich said. “That’s a very Republican district. Usually Republicans get 65-70 percent from Ellensburg to Moses Lake, all along I-90.”
“Manweller said he will resign, he will not serve (if elected),” he said. “That will mean the (Republican) Party and precinct officers will get together and appoint three people, and one of those people will be selected by the county commissioner to represent that district.”
Which will retain Republican representation in Manweller’s wake. Kittitas County Republican leadership are already narrowing down a list of replacements.
“(Manweller’s) opponent is a Seattle-style Socialist,” Heimlich said. “The voters of Central Washington have a choice: do we vote for the Republican ticket and somebody who represents our values; somebody who is going to fight keep our taxes low and protect our Second Amendment rights? … Or do we vote for a literal Seattle-style Socialist who is going to contradict our values and not represent us in Olympia?”