Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 9, 2013

Friday Odds and Ends: State GOP and the Seattle Mayor

Hello Loyal Readers,

With the primary election behind us (read my election night liveblog here) and the long brutal slog of the general election stretching out before us, we can take a breath to glance around the state and see what is going on.

Luanne Van Wervan and myself at a Tea Party rally

Luanne Van Werven and myself at a Tea Party rally

The state Republicans recently had a crisis of leadership when their top executive, Kirby Wilbur, suddenly took a job with a Washington, DC think tank, leaving Whatcom County’s own Luanne Van Werven in charge of the state-wide operation for the interim. Van Werven is not wasting any time and has already declared her ambition to be elected as the full-time chair, but with big names like Rob McKenna and Seattle Republican Susan Hutchinson being discussed as possible replacements for Wilbur, Van Werven might find herself outgunned.

That said, Van Werven is a very capable organizer. As Whatcom County Chair, she did a fantastic job recruiting good candidates, raising gobs of money and building a solid get-out-the-vote machine. Personally, her views are much farther to the right than most in the state-wide party would be comfortable with (Van Werven was a big Santorum supporter last year) but those qualities are not nearly as important as staying on message and raising money.

Locally, this might have an impact on our County Council and legislative races with statewide Republican resources potentially used to capture the council and build a Republican volunteer base for whomever runs against Rep. Suzan DelBene next year.

Ed Murray

Ed Murray

The other big story is that the race for the Seattle mayor’s seat has been whittled down to just two contenders. The race features the incumbent mayor (Mike McGinn), an environmental advocate turned political candidate with a reputation for stubbornness and a public fight against coal trains facing down a challenge from a long-time moderate legislator (Ed Murray) running on a platform of building better relations. Yes, I’m still talking about Seattle. Sure there are some differences, such as municipal issues are actually discussed in McGinn and Murray’s race, but either way I will be very curious to see if history repeats itself.



  1. Mike’s a real hero in the anti-coal movement for continuing the work Dan started with his outreach to the rail communities. He’s been a strong voice of opposition for Washington’s coastal cities and though GPT seems as dead as a doornail, we would miss his voice.

  2. Luanne’s views are more to the evangelical than most in the state party, on everything else she is the compatible amount to the right. Calling Ed Murray moderate is also not a good descriptor across the board for an openly gay legislator who helped win the marriage war for his community. Painting with broad strokes doesn’t always fit.

    • Yes, he was great on that issue but on issues of transit, infill and business development, he is much more of a moderate, compared to McGinn.

  3. […] meteoric rise of Whatcom County’s Luanne Van Werven to chair of the State Republican party had an immediate and financial impact on the races here. On July 25th, the State Republican party […]

  4. Results on a second question get to the heart of the legislative debate and appear to endorse the state Senate’s hold-the-line position on taxes, 51-36. Voters were asked about one approach being considered at the statehouse – an aggressive effort to end tax exemptions and extend the “temporary taxes” imposed in 2010 that are scheduled to expire in June. Both Gov. Jay Inslee and the House Democrats favor that position, though it should be noted that the House Ds dropped their plan to continue a beer tax the day after polling commenced. The Senate has passed a budget with no tax increases, while boosting spending on K-12 education by $1 billion.

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