Gergen and Culp both attacked other Republicans in the state, most notably Republican minority leader JT Wilcox, who criticized Culp’s campaign in a recent post-mortem GOP caucus, and Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who urged Culp to make a concession. Wilcox told his caucus that he believed some of Culp’s campaign rallying techniques were “plain”, including speaking and meeting the crowds without wearing a mask.
Gergen initially shared with his Facebook livestream audience that he was exploring similar avenues as the Trump legal team by investigating the possibility that Dominion voting machines – which, according to the Trump team, were responsible for changing votes in key elections – in Washington could have played a role condition. He noted that only one county in the state used Dominion systems: Franklin County in east Washington. (In fact, Franklin County strongly favored Culp in the elections at 60-39%, though Gergen didn’t mention it.)
Then Gergen told a story alleging that the Washington Department of Licensing – which oversees the state’s motor voter registration program – was responsible for “thousands” of illegal votes because it had evidence that foreign workers here with H- 1B-Visa voting papers were given and asked to vote. He closed it all off with a threatening abuse that threatened revenge on his opponents, both within the GOP and elsewhere, who he claimed tried to “intimidate us”:
I don’t know about you guys out there, but I can speak for myself. I’m tired of being betrayed. I’m tired of the left getting away with all the things it gets away with. I get sick and tired of the people coming out, the antifas, different people trying to intimidate us. I will not be intimidated. Mr. Culp will not be intimidated. My employees are not intimidated. And we’ll pick you up. We will make sure that you have no business or power.
Earlier this week, Culp had a similar livestream chat with his supporters and also insisted he would never admit:
We have to do that – stand up for our rights. Always ask why. Why do these things happen? Why does the governor do such things? Why is he trampling on freedom? Always ask why. Why is the liberal new media, along with some so-called Republicans, questioning articles and asking why? Why won’t Loren Culp admit it? “Loren Culp did not admit.”
Why do you want me to admit? Why the rush? Why not make sure every legal vote is counted? …
And we should question everything. Why? Why the rush? Why the pressure to admit? I will not admit. I am not giving up. I am committed to the people. I represent that. And I’m not backing down. …
That’s who you chose is a fighter, not someone who would just turn around and admit, and, “Well, I think it’s always been like that.” If people did that, we would never have any inventions, would we? Nobody would ever have said, “Well, I wonder if we can light up a lightbulb? Why can’t we have light from a lightbulb? Why can’t we make electricity produce light? ‘ Why? If no one had ever asked this question, we would have no lights or electricity in our homes right now. Always ask why. Always question the status quo.
In conclusion, he warned the “RINO Republicans” who want him to admit that “something else is coming”. You either stand up for us humans or you make hell out of the way. “
Culp has a history of right-wing extremism that dates back to the early days of his political career when he was hailed by the far-right Association of Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers who named him “Police Chief of the Decade” for refusing to enforce a gun law through citizens’ initiative and 67 % of votes. The CSPOA, closely associated with the Cliven Bundy family and their armed standoffs, preaches that county sheriffs are the law of the country and can override federal laws and law enforcement officers.
His campaign reflected a similar Bundyesque tone and seemed to take much of his advice from Ammon Bundy’s resistance campaign in Idaho to COVID-19 public health measures, calling Inslee the “dictator” for such moves in Washington state and himself publicly refused to wear a mask as well as refusing to enforce mask requirements at his rallies.
Culp’s Trumpian behavior has clearly exacerbated the state’s GOP establishment, but most have ducked for cover. According to the Tacoma News-Tribune, neither Pierce County (second largest in the state) GOP nor the state’s Republican Party had returned calls or emails for comment on Culp’s refusal to admit. “At this point their silence is viewed as tacit confirmation of bad behavior and contrary to the will of the people,” the newspaper edited.
However, some Republican observers think it likely that he is trying to stimulate the takeover of this establishment by the far-right populist insurrection that his candidacy represents. Former GOP state chairman Chris Vance, who left the party during its Trumpian round, told the Seattle Times that he now regards Culp as “the leader of the Republican Party” in the state. “The party’s base is currently much closer to Loren Culp than it is to JT Wilcox,” he said.