Trump-backed candidate in Wash. House race appears to stall

May 11, 2022, 8:44 PM | Updated: May 12, 2022, 8:48 am
FILE - Republican Loren Culp greets a large crowd, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a rally near Graham,...

FILE - Republican Loren Culp greets a large crowd, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a rally near Graham, Wash., during his unsuccessful run for governor. Culp is now challenging incumbent GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse in Washington's 4th U.S. House District. He has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump but has lagged other Republican candidates in reported fundraising figures. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The insurgent candidate backed by former President Donald Trump appears to be stalling in a crowded field of Republicans challenging the GOP incumbent for a U.S. House seat in conservative central Washington state.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, a four-term congressman, has drawn primary challengers thanks in part to being among the few in his party who voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Perhaps the best known outside candidate in Washington’s 4th Congressional District’s intraparty feud is Loren Culp, who’s running against his own Republican Party as much as he is against Newhouse.

Culp, a former small town police chief who lost the 2020 governor’s race to Democrat Jay Inslee but refused to concede, won Trump’s endorsement in February, but has lagged other candidates in reported fundraising figures.

Trump’s influence among GOP voters is being tested in midterm elections across the country this year as he looks to flex his power and punish his enemies ahead of a possible 2024 presidential campaign. Trump has vowed to take down the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, and four have already announced they won’t be seeking re-election. So far, Trump has found mixed success in his endorsement record, but it’s still early in the primary season.

In addition to Culp, four other GOP candidates are running against Newhouse in the Aug. 2 primary. Because of Washington’s top-two system, two Republicans could end up on the fall ballot. The top two primary vote-getters advance, regardless of party.

Todd Schaefer, a political scientist at Central Washington University, said he has been surprised by how little money Culp has raised, given his high-profile run for governor two years ago.

“On paper he should have good name recognition,” Schaefer said. “You would think he’d get a lot of grassroots support.”

Culp was invited to visit with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in late February. Trump’s endorsement of Culp read in part: “Loren Culp is running against RINO Congressman Dan Newhouse … Loren will always defend your personal liberty, our under-siege Second Amendment, election integrity and law enforcement.”

The other GOP challengers in the race are Jerrod Sessler, a Navy veteran and former NASCAR driver who has raised the most money; Corey Gibson; state Rep. Bradley Klippert, R-Kennewick; and Benanacio Garcia III.

As of the March 31 filing deadline, Culp had raised just $191,000 and had just $23,000 in cash on hand. Sessler had raised $444,000 and had $146,000 in the bank. Democrat Doug White had raised $230,000 and also had $146,000 in the bank. Gibson, Klippert and Garcia had raised little money.

Culp’s campaign has declined to return telephone calls from reporters but has made statements on Facebook. He lashed out recently at Republican Party officials who do not share his conservative views.

“The party can come and go … the Constitution is first and foremost,” Culp said. “God, family, country. That’s what’s important.”

Culp served as a police officer and then police chief of the small town of Republic for a decade. His job was eliminated because of budget cuts shortly after the 2020 election. He has since moved to Moses Lake.

Schaefer isn’t surprised so many Republicans decided to challenge Newhouse.

“The vote to impeach Trump put a target on him,” Schaefer said, noting that Newhouse otherwise seems a good fit for the district. The 4th runs from the Canadian border to the Columbia River through the agricultural heartland of the state east of the Cascade Range. The district is home to apple and cherry orchards, vineyards and wineries and a bounty of other farm crops and its biggest population centers are the Tri-Cities and Yakima.

Newhouse, who won 66% of the vote in 2020, so far has run a low-key campaign campaign, although he has veered to the right in an effort to fend off the challengers.

Newhouse, first elected in 2014, has raised $1.2 million and had $928,000 in the bank as of March 31.

“Dan is going to win because voters see that he’s a real conservative who works hard and gets results for the people he serves,” Newhouse campaign manager Derek Flint wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

The Washington State Republican Party will not endorse a candidate prior to the primary, chair Caleb Heimlich said.

The party last year decided it was “disappointed” with Newhouse and U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington’s 3rd District for voting to impeach Trump. The party said it would treat the incumbents and any GOP challengers as equals this year.

“We want to make sure we hold the seat,” Heimlich said. “It’s up to the voters of the 4th Congressional District who they want to represent them.”

Heimlich predicted that two Republicans will likely emerge from the primary to the general election in what is considered the state’s most conservative district.

But Schaefer said with so many Republicans in the primary, it is possible that White, the lone Democrat in the race, could finish in the top two and advance to the November general election.

“But whoever gets the Republican nomination will have the advantage,” in the general election, Schaefer said.

The endorsement of Culp continued Trump’s pattern of seeking to oust politicians who have refused to echo his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Trump has also endorsed Joe Kent, a challenger to Herrera Beutler.

Like Trump, Culp has lobbed false claims of widespread voter fraud.

He refused to concede the 2020 gubernatorial race after losing to Inslee by 545,000 votes. Culp also filed a lawsuit over the results but quickly withdrew it after his attorney was threatened with sanctions for making meritless claims in a court of law.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Bosnian man casts his vote at a poling station in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Polls ope...
Associated Press

Voting begins in Bosnia election, little expected to change

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Polls opened Sunday in Bosnia for a general election that is unlikely to bring any structural change despite palpable disappointment in the small, ethnically divided Balkan country with the long-established cast of sectarian political leaders. The election includes races for various levels of government that are part of one of the […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Vehicle overturn kills 26, injures 10 in India

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — A farm tractor pulling a wagon loaded with people overturned and fell into a pond in northern India, killing 26 people, most of them women and children, officials said Sunday. Superintendent of Police Tej Swaroop Singh said the wagon was carrying around 40 people returning from a ceremony at a nearby […]
23 hours ago
Women walk past election campaign posters in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Bulgar...
Associated Press

Bulgarians hold 4th election in 18 months amid turmoil

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarians on Sunday cast their ballots in a general election — the fourth in 18 months — marked by a raging war nearby, political instability, and economic hardships in the European Union’s poorest member. Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT). First exit poll results will be announced after polls […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com, raises his arms to celebrate the IP...
Associated Press

Chinese billionaire Richard Liu settles US rape allegation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student who alleged he raped her in her Minneapolis apartment after a night of dinner and drinks with wealthy Chinese executives in 2018, attorneys for both sides announced late Saturday. A settlement amount […]
23 hours ago
This satellite image taken at 20:20 UTC and provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Orlene on Saturda...
Associated Press

Hurricane Orlene heads for Mexico’s former prison islands

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Orlene rapidly strengthened as it swirls toward Mexico’s northwest Pacific coast, with a likely close brush with former prison islands being developed by the government as an ecotourism destination. After growing into a hurricane Saturday, Orlene quickly added power, and its maximum sustained winds were up to 110 mph (175 […]
23 hours ago
Electoral workers move electronic voting machine boxes at a distribution center in Rio de Janeiro, ...
Associated Press

Brazil holds historic election with Lula against Bolsonaro

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — More than 120 million Brazilians will vote Sunday in a highly polarized election that could determine if the country returns a leftist to the helm of the world’s fourth-largest democracy or keeps the far-right incumbent in office for another four years. With polls opening at 8 a.m. Brasilia time, the […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Trump-backed candidate in Wash. House race appears to stall