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Rep. Manweller: Seattle Times ‘like a prom queen jilted on dance night’

Washington State Representative Matt Manweller. (Washington House Republicans)

UPDATE: Since the story came out, Melissa Santos of The Seattle Times notes that Manweller didn’t contact at least one of the county chairs specifically about the resignation timeline, when Manweller does clear imply otherwise in his statement.

Manweller tells me he talks regularly with Pfeifer and that she’s long known that he will finish out his term, though he said the December 20 date was not specifically discussed with her. To clarify, I think they’re all talking about two separate things: his intent to serve out his term (which he states in his statement and Pfeifer referenced above) and sending in his letter announcing the official resignation on or around the 20th (which he acknowledges hasn’t been sent, specifically, to county leadership).

I erred in saying the Times wants him to immediately resign; they want him to “finalize his resignation plans quickly” which I pointed out in the excerpt, but said “resign” in the opening sentence when I should have been clear. We all get rightfully annoyed when we recap what others say and aren’t wholly accurate so I’ve updated the language.

State Representative Matt Manweller is not happy with a Seattle Times editorial asking him to immediately “finalize his resignation plans quickly,” as he had said he would, comparing them to a jilted prom queen.

The Ellensburg Republican was hit with a series of sexual misconduct allegations. While he denies them, he’s said he would step down, if re-elected. But more than a month after coasting to re-election, Manweller hasn’t yet resigned.

According to the Editorial Board:

The lack of a clear timeline for Manweller’s departure is making it impossible for local government officials to move ahead with selecting his replacement. It has left his three potential successors in limbo, uncertain whether they will need to uproot their lives and move to Olympia next month.

Manweller tells me his plans have been clearly outlined to county leadership.

“I have always planned to send my letter of resignation to the Governor around December 20,” Manweller explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH in a statement. “The county party chairs have long been aware that I planned to serve out the remainder of my term and have been planning accordingly. I have spoken to each of them personally and they will have plenty of time to pick my successor before January 14.”

In fairness to the Times, it’s certainly appropriate to follow up on a politician’s promise to resign when the timeline is unclear, though an Ellensburg politician doesn’t necessarily owe a Seattle newspaper anything. Still, they did call Manweller for comment, but he didn’t get back to them. Now, Manweller didn’t find the editorial’s tone fair and he calls them out directly.

“However, because The Seattle Times cannot imagine a world where they are not the center of it, they were miffed by the fact they had not been kept in the loop,” Manweller explained. “So, like a prom queen jilted on dance night, they used their hurt feelings to justify one more disingenuous hit piece masquerading as an editorial.”

In the waning weeks of the election, Manweller announced he’d resign if re-elected, deciding to stay in the election because it was too late for another Republican to make the ballot. Given the stakes for Republicans, Manweller didn’t want to cede the election to his Democratic opponent, Sylvia Hammond. Despite the controversy, Manweller won by 22 points, thanks to huge showings in Yakima, Lincoln, and Grant counties.

“Fortunately for myself and the people of the 13th Legislative district, and as evidenced by my 62 percent landslide victory on election night, it is clear that almost no one in my county cares what The Seattle Times editorial board thinks,” Manweller says.

Washington State GOP Chair Caleb Heimlich told me after the election that the party had 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.


Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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