Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Brian Noble takes over as chair of Spokane County Republican Party after Saturday election

Brian Noble, a longtime pastor, is the new chair of the Spokane County Republican Party.

Noble took over as party leader Saturday during a reorganizational meeting at Valley Assembly of God church in Spokane Valley.

He was chosen by a vote of the GOP’s precinct committee officers, which are elected, neighborhood-level leaders and organizers of the party. Noble won handily, taking 128 votes while former Vice Chair Susan Schuler took 62 and ex-Marine Lance Barton received five. Brian Steele, who led the party for the past four years, did not seek re-election.

In his post-nomination speech, Noble said the party needs to unite and avoid extremism.

He took a handful of stances during his five minutes on stage, arguing that the party has to fight for free speech, equal justice, limited government, free markets, private property rights and the Second Amendment.

“We have the right to take a stand if the government gets out of line,” he said.

The party needs to resist “woke-ism,” too, Noble said. Liberals often use “woke” as a catch-all word to describe socially aware concepts, such as systemic racism and gender equality. Many conservatives use it as a pejorative when referring to progressive ideas.

Speaking in his own church, Noble also stressed his anti-abortion views. Life starts at conception, he said.

“We are people who will stand in the face of evil for all the vulnerable,” he said.

Noble, 48, is the executive pastor of Valley Assembly of God and CEO of Peacemaker Ministries. He has a master’s in missional leadership from Northwest University and has authored multiple books on conflict resolution written from a Christian perspective.

While he has more than two decades of experience as a pastor, Noble’s a political rookie. He first got into politics this year when he ran for Spokane County Commission District 4 (as Paul Brian Noble) against incumbent Republican Mary Kuney. Kuney took 55% of the vote to Noble’s 43.5% during the November general election.

Kuney bested Noble in fundraising and endorsements, but the pastor’s campaign had a few prominent supporters.

Eastern Washington Liberty, an organization that advocates for seceding from the West Side and forming a 51st state, backed him. Caleb Collier, a former Spokane Valley City Councilman and close associate of former 4th Legislative District Rep. Matt Shea, was among Noble’s biggest donors.

Shea, a precinct committee officer with the Spokane County Republicans, was among the dozens giving Noble a standing ovation after his election Saturday.

Mike Drew was the first to nominate Noble as chair. Rob Linebarger, founder of Washington Citizens for Liberty and a former Central Valley School Board candidate who strongly opposed mask and vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic, seconded Drew’s nomination.

“Brian supports the Spokane County Republican Party platform without compromise,” Drew said.

Spokane County Sheriff-elect John Nowels nominated Schuler, a former Liberty Lake City councilwoman who spent the last two years as the party’s vice chair.

Jeff McMorris, community engagement and public policy adviser for the Spokane County commissioners and the brother of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, seconded Schuler’s nomination. McMorris argued that Noble lacked the experience needed to lead the party given he’s only been involved in county politics since May.

The chair wasn’t the only significant leadership position within the Republican Party to change Saturday.

MJ Bolt, a professional golf teacher, will be Noble’s vice chair. Bolt ran for the position unopposed.

Bolt is a former Central Valley School Board member who serves as Eastern Washington’s elected representative to the state Board of Education. She ran for 4th Legislative District representative this year but failed to advance past the August primary election.

Like Noble, Bolt said members of the party need to come together. The infighting needs to stop, she said.

“I was labeled extreme right and I’ve also heard the term RINO (Republican In Name Only),” Bolt said. “We’ve got to do away with it.”

State committeeman Matt Hawkins will continue to represent the party at state meetings. Steele ran against him, but Hawkins won re-election after receiving 69% of the precinct committee officers’ vote.

Hawkins leads the Republican Party’s election integrity subcommittee, which has repeatedly called for a third-party audit of Spokane County’s 2020 election. The group drew condemnation this summer from former Republican secretaries of state after it claimed, without providing evidence, that the county’s voter registration records are poorly maintained.

In August, Hawkins received a vote of no confidence from the Spokane County Republican Party’s executive board. Steele has said he can’t share the reasons for the vote because the discussion occurred in executive session.

Robin Ball, a former party chair and gun range owner, lost her bid to remain state committeewoman. Ericka Lalka of Keller Williams Realty will take over the job after winning 67% of the vote.