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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Republican congressional candidate sends cease and desist letter to Loren Culp

Loren Culp talks to voters July 29, 2022, during his run for Washington’s 4th Congressional District seat at the Barn Door restaurant in Moxee, Wash.  (Orion Donovan-Smith/The Spokesman-Review)

State Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber has sent a cease and desist letter calling for Loren Culp, a deputy and former Republican gubernatorial and congressional candidate, to retract a “deepfake” social media post the Republican representative alleges was meant to tarnish her campaign to represent Eastern Washington in Congress.

Culp, the former police chief of Republic, ran for governor in 2020, losing to incumbent Jay Inslee, and ran for Congress in the 4th district in 2022 against incumbent Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, losing in the primary.

On March 7, he shared a screenshot of a tweet ostensibly made by Maycumber weeks before the 2020 election encouraging Republicans to vote for Joe Biden for president rather than Donald Trump.

“The people of the 5th District in Eastern Washington will reject this ‘Republican for Biden’ WHOLESALE, GUARANTEED!” Culp added.

In the cease and desist letter, Possinger Law Group, a law office representing the Maycumber for Congress campaign, writes that the tweet purportedly from Maycumber, also of Republic, was fake, and that Culp either knowingly or with reckless disregard spread this “false, defamatory” social media post in order to influence the election in favor of another candidate.

“Loren Culp has obsessed over my candidacy for Congress,” Maycumber wrote in a Tuesday press release. “He knowingly promoted false deepfake tweets. He pretends to defend Election Integrity but knowingly promotes material designed to influence the Election for another candidate.”

In a brief interview, Culp said he had not yet received the cease and desist letter, which Maycumber’s campaign consultant Peter Graves said was sent by email and certified mail early Tuesday morning.

“I don’t even remember doing that,” Culp said. “So I retweeted it and she hired lawyers? It’s America, right – she can get a lawyer to do anything.”

Culp is a prolific user of X. In recent months, he has taken to criticizing and often insulting Republicans he believes are insufficiently conservative, or “Republican in name only.”

Culp has insulted few as often as he has Maycumber, including having also referred to her as a “swamp creature,” a “Dirty Political Hack” and a “clown,” attacking her for backing Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who has since dropped out, and for accepting sizable campaign contributions from businesses and corporate political action committees during her runs for state Legislature. In numerous tweets, he has referred to her as both a “female dog” and the more explicit associated sexist slur.

In response, a number of Republican state lawmakers and conservative commentators condemned Culp’s derogatory language, including Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, who is running for the same congressional seat as Maycumber.

Culp has also used the same slur to refer to a number of male politicians, including state Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Ferguson in an April 8 tweet and Republican state Rep. Travis Couture. He’s also used it on some conservative political commentators, such as Brandi Kruse, who was among those critical of Culp’s insults toward candidates and politicians.

Culp said Tuesday that he was the one being attacked. He pointed to a video of Kruse “ranting” about him, which he edited so that it “pokes fun back at her,” and posted it to his YouTube page last month. Kruse later responded, Culp said, in a way that “wasn’t poking fun at me, it was just being derogatory.”

In another April 8 tweet, Culp referred to Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert using a slur for female genitalia that is also frequently used to denote perceived weakness in men. Culp endorsed Semi Bird, the other major Republican gubernatorial candidate, last year.

In response specifically to the tweets addressing Maycumber and Couture, leaders of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs wrote that the association was considering expelling Culp, who is a member. The WASPC executive board will vote on the proposed expulsion on April 29.

In response, Culp wrote on X that it seemed like “I’m always under attack these days,” adding that “apparently free speech isn’t allowed, or could it be, speech that goes against THEIR endorsed candidate isn’t allowed and this is just an excuse?” He then asked his social media followers how to respond, including whether to “tell them to pound sand,” while also referring to them by the aforementioned sexist slur.