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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Wilbur steps down as state GOP head

Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur resigned Monday afternoon, saying he was taking a job at a conservative youth organization that was too good to pass up.

Wilbur, 59, a former conservative talk show host who still fills in on Seattle’s KVI  radio, is in the middle of his second term as the state GOP chairman, a job he won in 2011 by defeating then-Chairman Luke Esser. He will take a job overseeing a mentor program for young conservative writers in Washington, D.C.

“I have been offered a five-year-contract with the Young America’s Foundation that I would be foolish not to accept,” he said in a statement released just minutes after his 5 p.m. resignation announcement.

The state GOP Central Committee has 90 days to choose a replacement. That could happen at its scheduled quarterly meeting on Aug. 23-24 in Spokane, a party spokesman said.

Along with handling the state party chairmanship, Wilbur also served four stints as chairman of the often fractious state conventions, which in recent years have pitted the Libertarian backers of Ron Paul against more establishment candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain in a fight for delegates to the national convention. Wilbur was known for a good grasp of parliamentary procedure to move things along when needed and an affable nature to smooth over some of the rough spots that invariably develop in such meeetings.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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