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Loren Culp still not conceding gubernatorial race, loses job as Republic police chief

Former gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Washington gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp maintained his refusal Thursday to concede defeat against incumbent Jay Inslee.

That’s according to a statement from a Culp spokesperson to KING 5’s Drew Mikkelsen, with the now-former Republic police chief claiming there were “irregularities” in how ballots were tallied. As of Wednesday at 8 p.m., Culp trailed Inslee by just over 600,000 votes.

In a live video posted to Facebook on Wednesday, he also announced that Republic’s police department was defunded after a vote by the city council.

“As all of you know, I’ve been the chief of police in Republic for the last four years, I was police officer there for 10 years, … received the key to the city along with other awards, even got awards from neighboring counties for the work that I’ve done both as a narcotics detective and a K-9 handler,” Culp said.

Culp had taken a leave of absence a couple months ago to finish out his campaign for governor.

“And talked to my boss, the mayor, everything was fine, and come to find out a couple days before this election, the city council had a special meeting — not their normally scheduled meeting, but a special meeting — and they voted to defund the police department, including my job,” he said.

All but one councilmember voted to defund the department, Culp said in his video.

“Not even a letter of thank you, not a plaque for 10 years of service,” he said. “Not ‘hey, Loren, thanks but we don’t need you anymore.’ They just voted to defund the police department and away with that went my job.”

Culp says Republic has had its own police force for 120 years.

“Think about that: 120 years tradition just voted on by four people on the city council to defund it, and do away with it,” Culp said. “It’s absolutely incredible. It’s unthinkable to me.”

“Feels like a knife in the back,” he added.

Culp first made national headlines in 2018, when, as Republic’s police chief, he became the first law enforcement leader in the state to announce that he would not enforce new gun control laws laid out in Initiative 1639. That marked the beginning of a journey that inspired him to enter the political realm.

In the race for Washington state governor, Jay Inslee has declared victory against Culp after garnering 60% of the vote in early results. Culp said Tuesday, and repeated it in the video posted to Facebook, that they are “not done fighting” and he will not concede until every vote is counted.

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