MOXEE, Wash. – On Friday night, just four days before Washington’s primary election, Loren Culp stood in the middle of a restaurant in this Yakima suburb and told his supporters exactly what they wanted to hear.
“It’s time to send Newhouse to the outhouse!” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd of about two dozen.
The former Republic police chief, running to unseat Rep. Dan Newhouse to represent the central Washington district, told the audience they should vote against the four-term Republican from Sunnyside not only because Newhouse voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but because Newhouse is too moderate for Washington’s most conservative congressional district.
“The liberals and the RINO politicians, like Dan Newhouse, want to consolidate power at the federal level,” Culp said, using an acronym that stands for “Republican in name only.”
More than once, he told the crowd Newhouse votes half the time with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. That is not true, although Newhouse has taken President Joe Biden’s position on roughly 25% of votes in the current Congress, according to FiveThirtyEight. That’s about twice as frequently as fellow GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane.
Newhouse’s impeachment vote was what prompted Culp – along with six other Republican candidates – to jump into the race, and Culp claimed Trump merely told his supporters, “Go let your voices be heard peacefully and patriotically.”
“That is not a high crime or misdemeanor,” Culp told the audience in Moxee. “But Joe Biden is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
If he gets to the House, Culp said, he would work with other Republicans to immediately impeach both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for several reasons, including high gas prices and their immigration policy.
Loren Culp, running to represent Washington’s 4th district in Congress, talks to voter Ted Cantrell on Friday outside the Barn Door restaurant in Moxee, Wash. (Orion Donovan-Smith/The Spokesman-Review)
After laying out his philosophy about the Constitution, which he called “the road map” for the nation, Culp reminded the crowd of what may be his biggest selling point: an endorsement from Trump, along with other prominent right-wing figures like Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and gun advocate Ted Nugent.
But, Culp told the audience, “I have never chased anyone’s endorsement except for yours.”
He didn’t shy away from addressing criticisms leveled against him by the other candidates in the race, including over his role in the investigation of a child sexual abuse case when he worked as a police officer in Republic and an allegation that he dodged taxes, which he called “all lies.”
“It pains me to have to go through this,” he said, “but I want you to know I’m an open book.”
While Friday’s event was a far cry from the rallies he held during his unsuccessful run for governor in 2020, Culp said he was confident his name recognition from that race will launch him to November’s general election.
“I just keep doing what I’m doing, going out and meeting the people,” he said before the event. “Whether it’s one person or it’s 50, it doesn’t matter.”
His supporters liked what they heard.
“He’ll stand up for the Constitution,” said Cheri Bethune, 67, of Naches. “That’s probably the most important thing to me.”
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