Rantz: After sexist insult, Republicans should dump toxic Loren Culp

Mar 6, 2024, 5:56 PM | Updated: Mar 7, 2024, 2:08 pm

Image: Then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp smiles while greeting supporters as he ar...

Then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp smiles while greeting supporters as he arrives at a rally on Aug. 29, 2020, in Mount Vernon, Washington. (File photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)

(File photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)

Former gubernatorial and congressional candidate Loren Culp is becoming increasingly irate and unhinged on social media. He has become so toxic that conservatives would be wise to distance themselves from him, particularly after his latest unnecessary attack and juvenile behavior.

Culp uses social media to criticize Washington Republicans he believes to be RINOs (“Republicans in Name Only”). But his bar is very low. If a candidate doesn’t take a hardline conservative stance on every issue, Culp seems eager to label them a RINO. If you’re a Republican lawmaker who criticizes Culp, he labels you a traitor.

But it’s his criticisms of one Republican lawmaker, and his reaction to everyone who called him out, that went one step too far. He called them “b*****s.”

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Loren Culp targets Jacqueline Maycumber as a ‘female dog’

State Representative Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, announced she’s running to fill the Washington’s 5th Congressional District seat after incumbent Cathy McMorris-Rodgers announced she’s retiring at the end of her term. She’s not conservative enough for Culp.

Maycumber endorsed presidential candidate Nikki Haley for president and received campaign donations from “Big Pharma,” which was enough to earn Culp’s ire. He called her a “back stabbing (insert female dog) to the people in the 5th District of Washington State.” That Maycumber’s brother-in-law played a role in Culp losing his police chief job probably affected why he targeted the Republican lawmaker in this way, not some purely patriotic call to speak up. But the insult is simply inexcusable.

In response, the juvenile insult was rightly condemned by State Rep. Travis Couture, R-Allyn. He called Culp’s insult “absolute trash,” and labeled Culp a “keyboard warrior” and “coward.”

“Hey Loren, you keyboard warrior, why don’t you come to caucus and say it in front of all of us,” Couture posted. “Only a loser trashes women with such language, only a coward does it from behind their keyboard, and only an idiot takes money from JZ Knight and forgets to fill out their voter pamphlet statement.”

Though Culp was objectively wrong for calling a female lawmaker a “female dog,” the former police chief doubled down, this time calling Couture a “uni-party b****.” He warned Couture and other conservatives who supposedly “keep exposing themselves,” they “will find out what WE THE PEOPLE think of TRAITORS. Have a GREAT DAY PATRIOTS!” After his mildly threatening post, he didn’t stop because more criticisms were leveled against his tirade. He went on to complain, “Most Republicans in our State legislature are WEAK.”

Loren Culp will save Washington. Just look at the races … he has lost.

Culp presents himself as a heroic patriot who will shepherd a new era of conservative leadership in Washington. It’s earned the admiration of some grassroots Washington conservatives.

“NO ONE has done more in Washington State to get people to vote R than my supporters and I, NO ONE and we saw the results of that in 2020,” Culp posted on X, trolling his critics. He then linked to a crudely edited compilation video criticizing Reichert. If you don’t align with Culp’s view of Reichert, you “are either complicit in the continued destruction of our State or, after watching it, just an idiot.”

Culp points to his 2020 gubernatorial campaign to show that he has somehow earned a position as the voice of conservative Washingtonians. After all, he proudly boasts he earned the most votes as a Republican candidate for governor. Indeed he did. Loren Culp for Governor also lost by the highest margin in two decades. And despite Eastern Washington being considerably red, Loren Culp for Congress couldn’t survive a congressional primary.

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Loren Culp’s approach is a great way to lose elections

Only a fool would confuse Culp for a patriot.

Culp acts like a recalcitrant child yearning to relive the few weeks where he was relevant. He’s desperately holding on to a small group of conservative activists who make him feel wanted. Rather than help win elections, his attitude explains why Republicans lose winnable races in Washington. That’s why his impact on the grassroots base is nothing short of destructive.

That Maycumber endorsed Haley is not some ideological crime. Endorsing a Republican candidate for president who isn’t Donald Trump is neither sacrosanct nor traitorous.

While I understand critics believe that Trump is better for this country than Haley (which I agree with), they are not entitled to decide how anyone gets to vote, even if they think they can bully and shame someone into supporting their choice. Having good faith disagreements on who is best suited to defeat Joe Biden is how primaries are intended to work.

The “you’re with us or against us” attitude is how you alienate future supporters, especially during a primary where we should choose between more than one candidate before ultimately coalescing behind the nominee. Attacking anyone on your own team who holds a different view makes it more difficult to coalesce behind Trump the way we coalesced behind Culp when he advanced in the gubernatorial race. Did I think Culp was best positioned to win over other Republican candidates? No. But I pushed for him because I feared Gov. Jay Inslee would become even more extreme.

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Purity tests almost never work

Culp seems to employ an ideological purity test. You either hold the most conservative of views on every issue or you’re a traitor and a sellout. He has agreement from some well-intended, like-minded activists. But ideological purity tests seldom work when choosing candidates.

To start, good luck finding any candidate for office that you agree with 100% of the time, including Trump. The voter who says they are in lockstep with every position of a candidate or lawmaker is a liar. We all go through an inner conversation of alignment versus agreement. You don’t have to agree with every position, but you must be willing to align with the people who best match your views and principles and can actually win.

Purity tests are also politically ignorant. That ignorance is on display when it comes to gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert targeted as a RHINO because of select votes he took when representing Washington’s 8th Congressional District in Congress. You’d think he was a progressive Democrat the way Culp characterizes Reichert. That’s hardly the case. Lawmakers often take strategic political votes that help them retain their seats in competitive districts. Those votes rarely impact whether or not legislation lives or dies. It’s a vote that better aligns with the political beliefs of their purple districts and helps during re-election time.

Politically motivated votes may leave a sour taste in one’s mouth, but it’s pragmatic and strategically wise. That some demand ideologically stringent votes on every issue is precisely why a radical Democrat now holds the 8th District. We went from having a member of Congress who votes conservative 9 times out of 10 to someone who never does.

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Be wary of who you follow. It shouldn’t be Loren Culp.

Republican voters can choose who they want to represent them. They don’t need Culp (or me) to decide for them. But they shouldn’t be fooled into thinking Culp is helping the state.

I rarely get involved in intraparty squabbles, especially between grassroots activists and lawmakers. But seeing Culp’s behavior and understanding how well-intentioned activists may inadvertently undermine efforts to defeat the Radical Left, it’s worth speaking up. I’ll no doubt be labeled a grifter or an establishment stooge, or whatever other silly insults he will send my way for speaking up. So be it.

It’s unwise to pretend a two-time losing candidate knows what it takes to put the state on the right path. Culp very clearly doesn’t, even if he thinks he’s acting with good intentions. And he’s behaving in such chaotic ways that it’s almost like he wants Republican candidates to lose.

Culp is creating unnecessary division and will try to sabotage candidates who advance if they don’t perfectly align with his views. The grassroots activists who follow his lead will ensure a repeat of what keeps happening in winnable races: we lose.

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Rantz: After sexist insult, Republicans should dump toxic Loren Culp