Rep. Matt Manweller wins District 13 election despite promise to resign
Washington State Representative Matt Manweller won his election in Washington’s District 13 Tuesday. The Republican finished his campaign by running on a promise — that he would resign should he be elected.
The promise came after Manweller faced multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior with women throughout his campaign. Voters will now see if he will keep that promise. Manweller took in 64.5 percent of the vote according to early Tuesday returns. His Democratic opponent Sylvia Hammond took in 35.5 percent.
Washington State GOP Chair Caleb Heimlich told KTTH Radio’s Jason Rantz Wednesday morning that the party recently held a meeting in Moses Lake about replacing Manweller.
“We selected three candidates that we will put forward to the county commission to replace Representative Matt Manweller,” Heimlich said. “Three great gentlemen.”
“Folks were getting the message out that it was very important that Republicans held that seat, and make sure we had someone who would represent their values in that community,” he said.
District 13 covers parts of Lincoln, Grant, and Kittitas Counties, including the City of Ellensburg. Having a Republican occupy the District 13 seat appears to be more important to voters than the controversy that mired Manweller throughout his campaign. State Republican leadership asked Manweller to step down in September following an investigation into his conduct at Central Washington University, where he was a professor.
Manweller responded by saying that he would not drop out of the race. Rather, he would continue to run based on the promise that he would resign if elected. The resignation is strategic. This way, Republican leadership will have the opportunity to replace Manweller with another Republican, keeping the position out of Democratic influence.
Manweller responded to his win Tuesday evening via Facebook.
A total of 15 women were interviewed as part of the investigation. The report from the investigation concluded that the professor engaged in a pattern of behavior, stating “Manweller engages in treatment of female students and former students that was inappropriate, unprofessional, and had gender-based and/or sexual overtones.” Manweller was placed on leave during the investigation and was fired from the university after it concluded. He is suing the university for wrongful termination.
Following the investigation, yet another woman emerged with details of a relationship that Manweller allegedly had with her when she was 17 years old in the 1990s. She was a former high school student of Manweller’s, who reportedly knew her since she was a freshman. In September, following the latest news, House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox asked Manweller to step down from his elected position.
“I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the story shared in the well-documented piece from the NW News Network,” Wilcox told the Yakima Herald. “What Matt did was wrong.”