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November 6, 2012 at 10:45 PM
State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur looked at the returns on gay marriage and pot legalization and said he believed Washington was more libertarian than either left or right leaning.
He remained optimistic that McKenna could win. “If I got a governor, that’s not bad.
“We have always been a socially liberal state. It’s tough for Republicans in this state, but it has been tough for a long time. Rob is the most qualified candidate for governor we have had in a long time. There is something so negative, people just won’t vote for Republicans even with qualified candidates.”
Wilbur noted that the incipient recovery of the economy also didn’t help a candidate trying to win on an economic message.
November 6, 2012 at 10:06 PM
It has been a difficult night for Republicans gathered at the party event at the Bellevue Hyatt.
“It’s hard for conservatives,” said Allyn Schinski of Issaquah, wiping tears from her face.
While party leaders and gubernatorial hopeful Rob McKenna urged supporters from the stage to stay upbeat, the mood in the Evergreen Ballroom was sinking fast as the night went on, and the other guy looking like he might win the governor’s race.
“I spent four, five months on the Rob McKenna campaign. I did mailings. Phone calls for hours. Sign waving. If he doesn’t win it’s going to kill me,” said Schinski.
“I’m depressed, I am very said. I have so much respect for Rob, and for Mitt (Romney.),” she said. “I have lived here for a long time and it has been so many years since there has been a Republican governor. It’s not just about party. That is not good for the state.”
November 6, 2012 at 9:27 PM
Even as President Barack Obama was being hailed the victor in his bid to return to the White House, Republicans gathered in Western Washington were urging each other not to lose hope.
At a GOP party at the Bellevue Hyatt, Rachel Kimmel, of Snohomish, said she wanted the charter school initiative to pass so badly she was willing to swallow her disappointment over the rest of the election.
Meanwhile, Kim Wyman, who was running neck and neck with her Democratic opponent to replace retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed told supporters, “Don’t lose hope” – either for her race or for Rob McKenna’s attempts to defeat Democrat Jay Inslee for governor.
“We are going to do this,” she said. “We are going to take this state back. Have a little faith, keep praying.”
She said about 40 percent of the vote remains to be counted and as those ballots came in over the next several days “they tend to be more conservative. I know the numbers aren’t there right now but we are headed in the right direction.”
State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur told the crowd at the part to stay optimistic — there are lots of votes left to be counted.
“We expected to be four or five percentage points down at this point,” he said of the governor’s race. “But I think we are going to see some new state-wide office holders in Olympia.
And Reagan Dunn, who was trailing in his race for attorney general behind Democrat Bob Ferguson, said, “We are definitely in this race right now. There are a lot of votes left to count, and I am very proud of the returns so far.”
His wife Paige was on stage with him. She is due to give birth this week, and is going to be named Jennifer, after his mother, the late member of Congress, Dunn said. But while the baby is sure to come, he doesn’t yet know what the outcome is going to be for his race.
November 6, 2012 at 8:00 PM
To an adoring crowd, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob McKenna took the stage early in the night to thank other GOP officeholders and party officials for a strong campaign effort. “We set a goal of 1 million new phone calls and … today we passed the 1.5 million phone call mark, thanks to many of you.”
He noted that one ninth-grader made over 5,000 phone calls. “When we see you younger people getting involved, it makes all of us feel better. Not just about this election, but about the future of our country,” McKenna said.
Earlier in the evening, the mood was less glowing as a crowd pushed for a change in channels as they watched returns, chanting, “Fox! Fox! Fox!”
“Sorry they don’t get Fox News in the basement,” said state GOP chief Kirby Wilbur. He predicted a long night ahead but urged the crowd, “Don’t get depressed.”
More bars would be opened shortly, he promised. And, he said, “If we can’t elect Rob McKenna, maybe it is time to move to Texas.”
August 7, 2012 at 9:15 PM
As he cruised to victory in the primary race for state Attorney General, Reagan Dunn was pleased … but ask him if his mother, the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, would have been glad for him and he’ll smile and confess:
“She tried to keep me out of politics.
“She said I should go into the private sector. Make some money. But I got bitten by the bug.”
So here he is, headed to victory in the primary. And if he wins in November, Dunn is in for a different kind of busy. For not only will he be swept into a new statewide job, but the same week, his wife Paige is due to deliver their second child – a girl, her middle name will be Jennifer.
August 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM
So how do you dress up the party, Republican style?
Well, there are the pink blazers and gold sandals. (“You look like a golfer! Sooo cute!”) And then there’s the decor: Heavy on the red, white and blue — from the balloons to the sheet cakes with frosting piped on in a nice rendition of Old Glory.
To be sure, that was kind of expected.
The sensibly-sized chocolate cupcakes — cut that fat and waste! — of course. Sam Adams beer, that was a natural.
But a fountain spouting pink punch out of an elephant’s trunk – that was a special touch.
“Never seen that before,” said Joel Hussey, candidate for Position 1 in the 45th District state House race, who gamely caught the spouting pink punch in a plastic glass and swallowed it down.
“Safe and sane,” he said, without even flinching.
August 7, 2012 at 8:04 PM
It was heating up over on the East Side early Tuesday, in a Bellevue glass box that looks like all the others but for the party going on inside at the Republican Party’s gathering.
Where else would you run into a guy wearing a JP MORGAN name tag? “Really?” I said. “Really,” he answered, and didn’t crack a smile.
Outside George Henry was doing a brisk business with his hot dog cart. He cranked up the cart to get out of the house during his retirement.
“I was driving my wife crazy,” he said. “I started with one, now I’ve got three. We design all our dogs ourselves.”
He’s in such demand that the Bellevue School District and the GOP faithful at McKenna’s campaign headquarters patronize him with equal zeal. “They are sort of left,” Henry said of the school district dog fans, “and the GOP, well they are sort of right, but they have worked out a truce. They usually aren’t here at the same time.”
He prides himself on his recipes, including the hot links, split down the middle, piled with cream cheese, with bacon on the side. “In thirty seconds, it’s warming your belly,” Henry said. “That is a favorite of the Woodinville cops.”
So, what’s the GOP dog of choice?
“They like the specials,” Henry said. “But it has to be something red, so that’s a kilbasa. Or maybe a brat.”
But you can never tell a man by his dog, Henry said. Case in point, as Steve Maiers walked up, a GOP faithful sporting his button declaring marriage is between a man and a woman.
He ordered the veggie dog.
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