Add another possibility to the race for chair of the Washington State Republican Party: state Sen. Pam Roach.
Roach, R-Auburn, stood with other candidates Sunday at a GOP meeting in Pierce County and answered questions as though she is running for the job, event attendees confirmed. (You can see photos of Roach addressing the crowd at the meeting at the Pierce County GOP Facebook page.)
In an interview, Roach wouldn’t say for sure whether she is running. But she had plenty of criticisms of the state party, particularly around fundraising, and plans to deliver her thoughts in a missive this week.
“I think we need to have some things discussed and I am going to help that happen,” Roach said. “I’m there to escalate the level of the debate.”
It’s not clear Roach would have support on the 117-member GOP state committee that will meet in Spokane this Saturday to elect a new chair.
Other candidates have been campaigning for weeks, including former KIRO-TV anchor Susan Hutchison, current interim party chair Luanne Van Werven, and Jim Walsh, a Grays Harbor County GOP state committeeman endorsed by a group representing the libertarian wing of the party.
Roach, first elected to the state Senate in 1990, frequently has been in the news for clashes with colleagues and staff. In 2010, she was barred from the Senate Republican caucus after a confrontation with a staff attorney. A report on the incident noted previous incidents in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008 and earlier in 2010. She was allowed to rejoin the caucus in 2012, because her vote was key for budget deals in the divided chamber.
The GOP leadership vacancy was created by the sudden resignation of Kirby Wilbur as party chairman last month. Wilbur, formerly a well-known conservative radio talk show host, took a job with the Young America’s Foundation in Washington, D.C.