Amid run for Congress, Loren Culp continues to push election fraud narrative
Amid a campaign to unseat Washington Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse, former gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp has maintained his insistence that Jay Inslee’s victory in 2020 was illegitimate.
Culp, a former police chief for the town of Republic, lost to Inslee by a wide 56% to 43% margin in 2020, separated by over 545,000 votes. But even as the first results came in, he began to echo claims made by then-President Donald Trump that the election was rife with fraud.
Culp’s campaign then filed a lawsuit asking for injunctive relief and demanding an audit of the state’s paper ballots, vote counting machines, and voting results in King, Clark, Thurston, Pierce, Kitsap, and Skagit counties.
Less than a month after filing its lawsuit, the campaign abruptly withdrew it, alleging that people they had lined up to testify had backed out. Despite levying claims that he had “clear evidence” that thousands of ballots had been cast on behalf of deceased voters, no such evidence was ever produced.
Now, months later — and having still not produced proof to support his claims — Culp’s campaign is continuing to doubt the legitimacy of the 2020 election, while pushing for a ballot audit in Washington similar to a highly-criticized process that took place in Arizona.
“We believe that the election was not legitimate,” Culp’s campaign manager Christopher Gergen said in an early-August livestream on Facebook. “There is a big effort that we do support to audit Washington state’s election.”
Culp attended an event in Snohomish County in late July alongside state Rep. Robert Sutherland, who himself has been vocal in his praise for the Arizona audit. A donation button on an “Audit WA” website also redirects to Sutherland’s own reelection campaign donation page.
Throughout all of this, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has repeatedly questioned Culp’s claims, noting that her office never received any tangible data to support Culp’s allegations, nor has she seen any indication that the state’s 2020 election results were fraudulent in any way.
Meanwhile, Culp has leveraged his continued allegations of election fraud to boost a near-constant stream of fundraising efforts since late last year. Over a nearly two-month period following the 2020 election, he raised $55,000 in donations, later directing a combined $45,000 in campaign funds to his personal accounts for lost wages and mileage reimbursements.
With his gubernatorial fundraising efforts now in the rearview, a PAC registered to Gergen has already mobilized to support Culp’s 2021 Congressional run, spending $2,500 to host an “Ignite the Right” rally on April 23 that featured Culp as a speaker. Another $857 was spent on “lodging and green room” for Culp, Gergen, and a handful of others who took part in the event.
The end result has been an election cycle where Republicans like Culp and Sutherland have made it clear that casting doubt on the 2020 election will continue to be a core element of their fundraising and campaign efforts.