Topic: Kirby Wilbur
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November 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Updated at 1:17 p.m. with comment from protest organizers
After a group of women was arrested at state Republican Party headquarters in Bellevue on Thursday during a protest about national immigration policy, state GOP Chairwoman Susan Hutchison issued a friendly statement saying she shared their concerns.
“Like them, we agree that our immigration system is broken and we must find a solution,” Hutchison said, saying it was “unfortunate” she was in Washington, D.C., and unable to hear the protesters’ concerns.
But former state GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur had a more hostile reaction, taking to Twitter to lob personal insults at the group.
“I missed all the fun at State HQ today as the left wing witches and hags protested and got arrested. They look so old and ugly…” Wilbur tweeted.
Police arrested 33 women at the Bellevue protest, including Peggy Lynch, the wife of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. The women were arrested in an act of civil disobedience after refusing to leave when asked by the building owner.
Keith Schipper, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, said the group clearly wanted to get arrested, but did not get personally insulting toward GOP staff. “The ghost of Kirby Wilbur has no influence on the Washington State Republican Party any more. He doesn’t speak for the party,” Schipper said.
Wilbur, the former conservative talk-radio host, quit as state Republican Party chair in July to take a job with Young America’s Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Asked whether he thought his tweet was appropriate, Wilbur emailed “Yup.” He added in a subsequent email that liberals frequently call conservatives racist and said “preventing innocent people from working and conducting their business isn’t cordial in my book.”
Protest organizers were angered by Wilbur’s comment.
“We’re discouraged and appalled that the GOP’s response to a powerful action geared towards raising awareness about a substantive issue resorted to sexist name-calling and degradation,” said Rachael DeCruz, communications director for Washington CAN!, which helped organized the protest.
July 30, 2013 at 1:31 PM
Update 3:30 p.m. Added comment from King County Republican Party chair Lori Sotelo.
The surprise resignation of state GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur has sent a flurry of text messages and emails flying in Republican circles, as party activists chat up possible successors.
One name that has emerged is Susan Hutchison, the former KIRO-TV anchor who unsuccessfully ran for King County Executive in 2009 largely downplaying her ties to the Republican Party.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Hutchison confirmed she is thinking about running for the GOP job.
“I think it’s an exciting job, and I think there is a lot to be done, and it requires someone who is dynamic, understands the territory and the state and can raise money and bring people together,” Hutchison said. Asked whether those were qualities she possesses, Hutchison replied: “I think they are.”
As for her efforts to portray herself as “nonpartisan” in the 2009 King County Executive race, Hutchison said “that was what was required in that job — it was a nonpartisan position.”
“I ran a very good nonpartisan campaign,” she said. “And if the other side would have run a good nonpartisan campaign it would have been a fair contest.”
The King County executive position was made nonpartisan by a voter-approved initiative in 2008. But Democrats made sure voters knew about Hutchison’s GOP connections when she ran for the office the following year. Dow Constantine emerged from the primary field and won the general election race in part by savaging Hutchison’s conservative ties.
Hutchison praised Wilbur’s work as GOP chairman, saying he is “well loved,” but said there is plenty of work to do to get the GOP competitive again in state races. ”It is not a good thing that our city our county and our state have become one-party dominated,” she said.
For now, the state party is being led by vice chair Luanne Van Werven, who said she is not ruling out seeking the job on a permanent basis. “I haven’t made my decision yet. I want to be very deliberate,” she said.
Lori Sotelo, who chairs the King County Republican Party, also said Tuesday she is thinking about a bid, but wants to “let the dust settle” and weigh what would be best for the party.
The GOP state committee is scheduled to meet in late August in Spokane, but Van Werven said that may be too soon under GOP rules to hold an election for Wilbur’s replacement. The party’s has up to 90 days to pick a new chair. The chair is elected by 117 Republican officials from each of Washington’s 39 counties.
Another likely factor in the GOP race will be the cohort of energetic supporters of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, who have organized as the Republican Liberty Caucus. That group has frequently clashed with establishment GOP leaders, who viewed them with suspicion.
Matt Dubin, a Seattle attorney and leader in the Republican Liberty Caucus of King County, said in a blog post the election of a new chair “presents a rare opportunity for us to unite and invigorate our party.”
Dubin blasted state party leaders for fighting the “libertarian wing of the party with particular vehemence and venom” — infighting that he said drained the party of time and money to fight Democrats. “It is time for this nonsense to stop,” he said.
Dubin said the Liberty Caucus will be actively involved in the coming election but did not yet name any candidates.
July 29, 2013 at 5:50 PM
Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur resigned Monday, announcing he is taking a job with a conservative group in Washington, D.C.
Wilbur, a former conservative talk radio host, was elected to lead the state GOP in 2011, and was re-elected earlier this year despite a mostly dismal 2012 for local Republicans.
In a news release, Wilbur said he’d been offered a five-year contract with Young America’s Foundation (YAF), which seeks to train the next generation of conservative youth. Wilbur has served for years on the YAF board of directors.
“It has been an honor to serve as chairman of the WSRP since January 2011. We have had many successes and I have had some failures. The Party has a good crop of up-and-coming leaders, and a strong staff, and it will continue to move forward no matter whose hand is on the helm,” Wilbur said in a news release.
Wilbur touted some victories, including the Republican pick up of a state House and state Senate seat last year, the latter resulting in the legislative coup that brought the Majority Coalition Caucus into power in Olympia this year. Left unmentioned were last year’s GOP setbacks, including Rob McKenna’s loss in the gubernatorial race, and Democratic victories in each of three open congressional seats.
WSRP Vice-Chair Luanne VanWerven will serve as interim chair of the party until a replacement can be elected. Party spokesman Keith Schipper said that may happen at the next GOP state committee meeting, scheduled for Spokane in late August.
February 4, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Both Washington state political party chairmen are coming back: Dwight Pelz has been re-elected to another stint at the helm of the state Democratic party. And the loquacious and quotable Kirby Wilbur, state Republican Party chairman, was elected to another term. Pelz had a far better showing in the 2012 election. Democrats won the governor’s office, the attorney general’s contest and other posts. Wilbur’s victory point was Kim Wyman, the new Secretary of State and only Republican statewide elected official on the West Coast.
Are you yea or nay on proposed relaxation of motorcycle helmet rules? Doesn’t matter. You will want to watch this smoking TVW testimony on a proposed change in the current helmet law.
State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, has been introducing a lot of bills this session and one, Senate Bill 5143, would allow motorcyclists 18 and over to go without a helmet.
The national media love to talk about our pot law: CNN Money had a jolly time describing the latest job opening in Washington, pot consultant. Check this link.
Politico has the photo proof, Obama is getting a little older. Click and see.
Hardy perennial: Almost every legislative session, a bill is introduced to allow digital billboards next to highways. Hearings on the latest plan will be held this week.
Check out our new Facebook page.
December 3, 2012 at 5:05 PM
A Public Disclosure Commission review has determined that state Auditor-elect Troy Kelley violated a handful of minor regulations while disclosing his finances as a state representative.
But the commission also found that other allegations made by Republicans during a nasty campaign for state auditor were unfounded.
PDC Chairman Amit Ranade has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to settle the case and potentially determine a punishment. The maximum fine is $500.
The PDC review found that Kelley, a Democrat from University Place, failed to file a revision to his personal financial affairs statement in a timely manner. It also found that one of Kelley’s financial statements failed to disclose a set of required facts about a company he partially owned, the mortgage document-tracking company, United National, LLC.
“The PDC staff is recommending a minor violation,” Kelley said through a spokesman. “I’ve been working with the PDC staff to ensure everything is filed correctly.”
Indeed, PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson described the allegations as minor.
They came to the agency’s attention from a lengthy complaint filed in September by Republican State Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur. At the time, Republicans were seeking to highlight a variety of financial issues in Kelley’s past, including a 2010 case in which he paid an undisclosed settlement to a business customer who accused him of ”fraudulently transferring funds, intentional spoliation of evidence, shady business schemes, tax evasion, and hiding from creditors” $3.8 million in newly formed accounts.
Kelley beat Redmond business-development consultant James Watkins 53 percent to 47 percent last month.
November 9, 2012 at 1:54 PM
Post updated at 2:09 p.m. with comment from Koster campaign manager Larry Stickney.
Finger pointing has erupted in the Republican Party over John Koster’s loss to Democrat Suzan DelBene in the 1st Congressional District.
Trailing 47-53 percent, Koster announced he’d concede the race Friday. But in a letter to supporters, he took shots at national and state Republican leaders for not helping him enough.
“Sadly, and for reasons untold, neither the National Republican Congressional Committee nor the Washington State Republican Party stepped up to provide us with anything more than token support. To be frank, we were on our own, yet thanks to people such as you, we nearly overcame the odds,” Koster wrote.
That enraged state Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur, who called Koster’s assessment hogwash.
“They simply ran a horrible campaign, and they’re blaming it on us,” said Wilbur, who put much of the blame on Koster’s campaign manager, Larry Stickney.
Wilbur said the Koster campaign didn’t get more help, because it failed to meet targets set out by the NRCC, which had to decide where to divvy up its money among Republican Congressional candidates nationally. Although Koster was named to the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, he did not receive cash to buy the TV advertising needed to compete with DelBene.
“The NRCC wanted to work with them, wanted to help them, wanted to give them money – they didn’t meet any of the marks,” Wilbur said, adding the campaign also resisted advice from the state party.
Wilbur said the tension between the Koster campaign and the NRCC was building since at least the summer. On a conference call in July, Wilbur said he heard Stickney accuse a top NRCC operative of not liking the Koster campaign, because the operative was a “liberal.”
In an email, Stickney disputed Wilbur’s account of the campaign, saying Koster had met very rigorous standards to be named to the NRCC “Young Guns” program. Yet the party still did not come through with the help needed.
“The NRCC as well as the WSRP simply chose to not weigh into our campaign to a degree that would impact our race in a meaningful way… and the bottom line is that we lost because we were outspent 5 – 1,” Stickney wrote.
It’s not clear whether more cash or a better-run campaign would have pushed Koster over the top. The 1st District was redrawn last year to be the state’s only true swing district – equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. In other words, a district likely to favor a political centrist.
But Koster, a Snohomish County Council member, is a longtime social conservative who embraced the tea party movement and joined other national Republicans in making controversial comments about rape and abortion.
September 10, 2012 at 6:10 AM
Ryan in the Northwest: Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is spending part of Monday in our corner of the Northwest, fund-raising for the Republican presidential ticket. A couple of events are planned: an evening reception on the Eastside with two levels of entry, $1,000 for general participation, $2,500 for a picture with Ryan, and a dinner afterward costing closer to $25,000.
No public events are planned. State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said the local party suggested one, because their vice-presidential candidate is so charismatic. But he didn’t have time. Wilbur called this event a “hit-and-run,” using common political terminology for these short visits by national big name politicians. Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna is not attending the Ryan events because he has a previously scheduled campaign fundraiser of his own in Moses Lake.
Attorney general debate: The Seattle Times and the Washington Coalition for Open Government are bringing the two attorney general candidates, Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republican Reagan Dunn, together for a debate this Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at The Seattle Times, 1000 Denny Way. Seating is limited — two seats per request — and can be obtained by sending an email to AGdebate@seattletimes.com.These two candidates are feisty debaters. The event will be broadcast (at a later time) on KUOW-FM and TVW and live-streamed on TVW and The Seattle Times website.
Marijuana activism: Get ready for some impromptu posters and chalking around Seattle. The Responsible Marijuana Project will launch its visible effort, Project Green Light, to end marijuana prohibition. The group will do some of its work near City Hall and police stations, you know, to make a point to people who have some say in the debate. This campaign is in it for the long haul, according t0 the article in the Seattle Weekly.
August 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM
Updated to include comments from Republican John Koster, candidate in Washington’s 1st Congressional District contest.
Several prominent Washington state Republicans Monday joined a growing chorus calling on U.S. Rep Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race.
Akin, a veteran conservative congressman challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, is under fire for comments he made Sunday about rape and abortion. Asked whether abortion should be allowed in the case of rape, Akin said pregnancy is unlikely — the body somehow prevents the pregnancy – in cases of “legitimate rape.”
He has since repeatedly apologized, saying he was misinformed and misspoke. Despite blistering criticism, he has insisted he is staying in the race.
On Monday, Washington state’s top-ranking Republican questioned that decision.
“Rep. Akin’s remarks are both deeply offensive and ignorant,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna, who is moderate on abortion and running for governor. “He should give the people of Missouri a real choice for the U.S. Senate this November by withdrawing from the race, and allowing a replacement on the ballot.”
Kirby Wilbur, the chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, was equally blunt.
“Kirby believes Akin’s statement was ridiculous, insulting, and reprehensible and that Akin should step aside and let someone else run,” said Meredith Kenny, party spokeswoman.
The criticism was just as fierce from Republicans who, like Akin, oppose abortion in cases of rape.
Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, who is running for Congress in the 1st district, called Akin’s language about “legitimate” rape “reprehensible and bizarre.”
“I can’t believe anybody would actually say that,” said Koster, who agreed Akin should step down.
He added that he wanted it to be known that “not all pro-life people are crazy.”
Meanwhile, the state party’s 2012 Senate nominee, Michael Baumgartner, released a statement calling Akin’s comments “inexcusable.”
“I completely disagree with Mr. Akin’s ignorant remarks regarding the links between pregnancy and rape,” Baumgartner said in the statement. “To belittle the trauma rape victims go through is extremely offensive, and I am horrified that he would show such little empathy.”
In a follow-up email, Baumgartner spokeswoman Jami Herring clarified that the candidate “is not issuing a call for him to step aside, but would support finding an alternative candidate.”
Baumgarter is pro-life and has also publicly spoken against abortion in cases of rape. He is challenging Maria Cantwell in a race that is not expected to be close.
Before this incident, McCaskill was considered among the most vulnerable Democratic senators in the country.
Republicans are hoping to take back the Senate this fall.
August 9, 2012 at 5:59 PM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rallied support for gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna before a crowd of about 200 Republicans in Bellevue Thursday afternoon.
“He has earned your trust,” said Christie, a GOP firebrand and rumored vice presidential candidate, in town to raise money for McKenna. “He has earned your respect. He has earned your support through his deeds.”
McKenna, the state attorney general, finished second behind former Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee in the primary on Tuesday.
But Christie said he’s “got a feeling” McKenna will win in November.
He spent most of his 20-minute speech highlighting his tenure in New Jersey, where he took a hard line with a Democrat-controlled Legislature and, he said, eventually achieved better prioritizing and job growth.
“I can’t wait to come back here in 2013 and watch Rob McKenna do it for the state of Washington,” Christie said.
The “unity rally” at the Westin Bellevue was meant to inspire Republicans in the wake of the primary.
McKenna issued his standard stump speech, calling for changes to the state’s education system, streamlining of state government and enacting “tax and regulatory relief.”
Several other Republican candidates were also in attendance, including attorney general candidate Reagan Dunn, U.S. Senate hopeful Michael Baumgartner and John Koster, who is running for Congress in the 1st district.
Before the rally, Democrats held a news conference of their own outside the hotel.
Marko Liias, one of six openly-gay members of the state Legislature, highlighted Christie’s recent veto of a same-sex marriage legislation in New Jersey, as well as his opposition to abortion rights.
“Christie’s record in New Jersey has been nothing short of a disaster for women and gays and lesbians,” said Liias, D-Edmonds, who was joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By standing with such a divisive figure, Rob McKenna is showing his true colors.”
Wilbur, the state party chairman, rejected that criticism.
In an interview, he said he wanted to bring Christie to Washington because he knew the governor would “get everybody fired up.”
“He’s been a reform-minded governor, much as Rob will be,” Wilbur said. “He’s popular, and he’s going to help us raise some money.”
After the rally, Christie and McKenna were scheduled to attend a pair of fundraisers, also in Bellevue.
August 7, 2012 at 6:11 PM
Kirby Wilbur, the voluble chairman of the state Republican Party, has been pulling out all stops in recent weeks to champion a most unlikely candidate: progressive Democrat Darcy Burner.
It is no charity. Wilbur hopes Burner advances past today’s hot 1st Congressional District primary to face Republican John Koster. Burner is the most liberal of five Democrats in the race and, to Wilbur, represents Koster’s easiest path to victory in a district that looks to be a toss-up.
A selection of Wilbur’s recent incantations:
“I am lighting candles, sacrificing sheep, whatever it takes,” he told KUOW’s Deborah Wang. “I’m begging, talking to God every day that it be Darcy Burner, because she is the Dennis Kucinich of Washington state. If Darcy is the nominee, we will get 60 percent of the vote, easy.”
“Seriously, folks. Give me Darcy,” he wrote in Publicola. “Many on the left claim John Koster is far right, but John has run and done well in this portion (of the district) before and Darcy is so far left, she makes John look like a moderate Republican.”
And last week, he told me: “It will prove that God is a Republican if Darcy Burner wins the primary.”
Burner laughed it off. “I was honored to have his support and endorsement in the race and would be honored to have it in November as well. If wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare and thinking that politicians rather than doctors should be making medical decisions for women is moderate, I’m terrified by what far right represents.”
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