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Washington State Republican Party
ChairpersonCaleb Heimlich
Vice ChairLisa Evans
Senate LeaderJohn Braun
House LeaderJ. T. Wilcox
HeadquartersBellevue, Washington
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
Political positionRight-wing
National affiliationRepublican Party
U.S. Senate delegation
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U.S. House delegation
3 / 10
Statewide offices
0 / 9
Washington Senate
21 / 49
Washington House
41 / 98

The Washington State Republican Party is the state affiliate of the national United States Republican Party, headquartered in Bellevue.[2]


Campaigns and elections

Horace Cayton founded and published the Seattle Republican, an early party mouthpiece.
Horace Cayton founded and published the Seattle Republican, an early party mouthpiece.

Washington voters tend to support Democratic Party candidates, with The New York Times referring to the state as "Democratopolis."[3] The last Republican governor in Washington was John Spellman, who held office from 1981 to 1985. Republicans came closest to recapturing the state's chief executive office in 2004 when Democrat Christine Gregoire secured election by just 133 votes out of 2.8 million cast. The last time Washington gave its electoral votes to a Republican candidate for U.S. president was in 1984, when a majority in the state voted for Ronald Reagan.

Early years

The early history of the state saw firm electoral dominance by the Republican Party. In 1889, Republicans prevailed in the first election for governor and scored majorities in both chambers of the inaugural state legislature. William Owen Bush, Washington's first African-American legislator, is credited with introducing the legislation that led to the establishment of Washington State University. Elected as a Republican from Thurston County, Bush was known as a tireless promoter of Washington agriculture.[4]

Republican policies in the early period of statehood were advanced by the party-connected Seattle Post-Intelligencer and, later, by the Seattle Republican. Founded by ex-slave Horace Cayton, the Seattle Republican would grow to become the second-largest newspaper in Seattle before it folded in 1917. "The success of the Republican Party is one of its highest ambitions," Cayton said of his publication.[5]

In 1922 Republican Reba Hurn of Spokane became the first woman elected to the Washington State Senate, serving from 1923 to 1930. Hurn advocated for conservative fiscal policies and was a supporter of prohibition, but otherwise espoused a generally liberal social agenda, helping to pass the state's first child labor laws.[6]

Charles Stokes became the first African-American elected to the state legislature from King County in 1950. He led the Republican Party delegation to the 1952 Republican National Convention where he spoke in support of Dwight Eisenhower's presidential nomination and later introduced the legislation that created Washington's Lottery.[7]


After a period of declining fortunes, in 1964 Republican Dan Evans was elected governor at the age of 39, becoming the youngest person to hold the state's chief executive office. The architect of Evans' victory, C. Montgomery Johnson., became the party's first full-time chairman. Johnson, a former forest ranger, publicist for Weyerhauser, early pro-choice advocate and champion of limited government, led a purge of John Birch Society members from the Washington Republican party, declaring afterward that "we had to make the term 'conservative' respectable again. The only way to do it was to get the far right off the backs of conservatives. The Republican Party is not the far-right."[8]

In 1971 Johnson quit the party chairmanship to form a political consulting firm. With the warning that future tolerance of the John Birch Society would be "the instrument of Republican defeat - statewide, regionally, and locally," party leaders elected Johnson's political ally, Earl Davenport, to replace him as party head.[9] The election, the same year, of Republican Michael Ross from Seattle's 37th legislative district foreshadowed eventual changes in Washington state law. The former treasurer of the Seattle chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, Ross grabbed headlines when he introduced a bill to legalize marijuana. (While the measure failed, Washington would eventually become the first state to legalize the manufacture and sale of marijuana in 2012.) During a period of racial tensions at Rainier Beach High School, Ross commandeered a state vehicle and drove a contingent of armed Black Panthers to the school to protect African-American students. In 1973 Ross attempted an unsuccessful bid for Seattle City Council. One of his campaign volunteers in that contest was the Republican party's 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi.[10]

Republican state legislator Michael Ross meets with Washington's then governor Dan Evans, another Republican, in 1971.
Republican state legislator Michael Ross meets with Washington's then governor Dan Evans, another Republican, in 1971.

Modern era

The Republican Revolution of 1994 helped party candidates score an unprecedented seven of the state's nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In Washington's 5th congressional district Republican George Nethercutt unseated Tom Foley, the incumbent Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Foley's defeat marked the first time a sitting Speaker had been defeated in a reelection in 132 years. Another Republican elevated to national office as a result of the 1994 elections was Jack Metcalf. Described by The Seattle Times as "the vestige of a certain place the Northwest used to be," Metcalf typified the unconventional characteristics for which Washington Republicans had previously been known. One of the few Republicans in the late 1990s endorsed by organized labor, Metcalf blended fiscal conservatism with environmental advocacy, working with the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and sponsoring an abortive effort to require labeling of genetically modified foods.[11]

The Washington state Republican party has, in recent years, struggled with internal divisions between its historic core of social liberals and a strengthening contingent of religious conservatives. The party's 1996 gubernatorial candidate, paleoconservative Ellen Craswell, won the Republican nomination by only a slim margin before being soundly defeated in the general election by Democrat Gary Locke. Craswell would ultimately quit the party to help form the American Heritage Party. Concerns about increasing social conservatism in the party led state legislators Fred Jarrett and Rodney Tom to drop their Republican affiliation in the late 2000s and join the Democratic Party.[12]

A campaign sign for Republican Dino Rossi's unsuccessful 2010 race for U.S. Senate.
A campaign sign for Republican Dino Rossi's unsuccessful 2010 race for U.S. Senate.

Eastern Washington is considered a stronghold of the party. Republican candidates have also performed well in the eastern half of King County and in Seattle's affluent Madison Park neighborhood in the past.[13]

Among the largest recent financial backers of the party's activities are the National Electrical Contractors Association, Kemper Holdings, Microsoft, real estate developer Clyde Holland, and investor Richard Alvord (Alvord's parents, meanwhile, are Democratic Party benefactors).[14][15]

Trump era to present

Since 2016, the state GOP and its voter base have undergone a hard rightward shift in their political views and positions along with the embrace of Trumpism. This includes the party being completely taken over by social conservatives including gun rights and anti-abortion activists.[1] This has led to many people on the Eastside and elsewhere in the state abandoning the party.[16]

After the 2020 Washington gubernatorial election, despite Jay Inslee's large margin of victory, Republican candidate Loren Culp refused to concede his loss and gave no concession speech, while making unsubstantiated claims of voting fraud.[17]

After Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, state Republicans were divided over Trump's false claims of election fraud, with some rejecting or embracing the claims.[18] In the aftermath, some Republicans and county chapters have spread misinformation and conspiracy theories over the 2020 election.[19][20][21] There has been efforts by a few Republican legislators to abolish the mail by voting system that's been used in the state for years, often falsely claiming there was widespread election fraud.[22] It was also reported that a Republican lawmaker proclaimed on social media to "prepare for war" and advocated for others to join following the 2020 election.[23]

Factions and affiliated groups

The Washington chapter of the National Federation of Republican Women was established in 1945 and currently consists of more than 30 local Republican women's clubs.[24]

The Washington College Republican Federation has College Republicans chapters at 10 of the state's colleges and universities. Past members of the University of Washington chapter of the group have included former gubernatorial candidate John Carlson, and former state party chairmen Kirby Wilbur and Luke Esser.[25]

An independent pressure group founded in 1990, Mainstream Republicans of Washington, advances efforts to moderate Republican policies and recruit centrist candidates. The group's members include former state legislators Gary Alexander, Steve Litzow, and Hans Zeiger.

In 2005 an organization of Republican attorneys and former elected officials, the Constitutional Law PAC, was formed to advocate in state judicial elections. The current head of that organization is former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton.

A Washington chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus was organized in 2012 to push a libertarian agenda.[26] Former state legislators Matt Shea and Jason Overstreet have been involved with the group.

Though officially non-partisan, the Olympia-based think tank Evergreen Freedom Foundation has been connected with Republican candidates and causes.[27] When former state Auditor Brian Sonntag, a Democrat, joined the foundation as an adviser in 2013, Washington State Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz declared Sonntag was no longer a Democrat and called on him to "pay your dues to the Republican party."[28]

Washington state has a chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans and the former executive-director of the national group, Patrick Sammon, is a native of Seattle.[29]

Party chairmen

Name Year Place of birth County of residence Profession
C. Montgomery Johnson 1964–1971 Seattle, Washington King County publicist
Earl Davenport 1971–1974 Clayton, Washington Lincoln County
Ken Eikenberry 1977–1981 Wenatchee, Washington King County attorney, politician
Jennifer Dunn 1981–1992 Seattle, Washington King County engineer
Ben Bettridge 1992–1993 Tacoma, Washington Pierce County attorney
Ken Eikenberry 1993–1996 Wenatchee, Washington Thurston County attorney, politician
Dale Foreman 1996–2000 Wenatchee, Washington Chelan County farmer, attorney
Don Benton 2000–2001 Santa Clarita, California Clark County entrepreneur, politician
Chris Vance 2001–2006 Seattle, Washington Pierce County politician
Diane Tebelius 2006–2007 North Dakota Pierce County
Luke Esser 2007–2011 Seattle, Washington King County journalist, attorney
Kirby Wilbur 2011–2013 Washington, D.C. King County journalist, activist
Luanne Van Werven 2013 Lynden, Washington Whatcom County politician
Susan Hutchison 2013–2018 Fairfield, California King County journalist
Caleb Heimlich 2018–Present Puyallup, Washington Pierce County executive

Current elected officials

The Washington State Republican Party controls none of the nine constitutional offices and holds a minority three of the state's 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republicans are the minority in the Washington Senate and Washington House of Representatives.

Member of Congress

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

District Member Photo
3rd Jaime Herrera Beutler
Jaime Herrera Beutler, official portrait, 112th Congress (cropped).jpg
4th Dan Newhouse
Dan Newhouse official congressional photo (cropped).jpg
5th Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Cathy McMorris Rodgers official photo (cropped).jpg

Statewide offices



Election results


Washington Republican Party presidential election results
Election Presidential Ticket Votes Vote % Electoral votes Result
1892 Benjamin Harrison/Whitelaw Reid 36,460 41.45%
4 / 4
1896 William McKinley/Garret Hobart 39,153 41.84%
0 / 4
1900 William McKinley/Theodore Roosevelt 57,456 53.44%
4 / 4
1904 Theodore Roosevelt/Charles W. Fairbanks 101,540 69.95%
5 / 5
1908 William Howard Taft/James S. Sherman 106,062 57.68%
5 / 5
1912 William Howard Taft/Nicholas M. Butler 70,445 21.82%
0 / 7
1916 Charles E. Hughes/Charles W. Fairbanks 167,208 43.89%
0 / 7
1920 Warren G. Harding/Calvin Coolidge 223,137 55.96%
7 / 7
1924 Calvin Coolidge/Charles G. Dawes 220,224 52.24%
7 / 7
1928 Herbert Hoover/Charles Curtis 335,844 67.06%
7 / 7
1932 Herbert Hoover/Charles Curtis 208,645 33.94%
0 / 8
1936 Alf Landon/Frank Knox 206,892 29.88%
0 / 8
1940 Wendell Willkie/Charles L. McNary 322,123 40.58%
0 / 8
1944 Thomas E. Dewey/John W. Bricker 361,689 42.24%
0 / 8
1948 Thomas E. Dewey/Earl Warren 386,315 42.68%
0 / 8
1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower/Richard Nixon 599,107 54.33%
9 / 9
1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower/Richard Nixon 620,430 53.91%
9 / 9
1960 Richard Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. 629,273 50.68%
9 / 9
1964 Barry Goldwater/William E. Miller 470,366 37.37%
0 / 9
1968 Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew 588,510 45.12%
0 / 9
1972 Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew 837,135 56.92%
9 / 9
1976 Gerald Ford/Bob Dole 777,732 50.00%
8 / 9
1980 Ronald Reagan/George H. W. Bush 865,244 49.66%
9 / 9
1984 Ronald Reagan/George H. W. Bush 1,051,670 55.82%
10 / 10
1988 George H. W. Bush/Dan Quayle 903,835 48.46%
0 / 10
1992 George H. W. Bush/Dan Quayle 731,234 31.97%
0 / 11
1996 Bob Dole/Jack Kemp 840,712 37.30%
0 / 11
2000 George W. Bush/Dick Cheney 1,108,864 44.56%
0 / 11
2004 George W. Bush/Dick Cheney 1,304,894 45.64%
0 / 11
2008 John McCain/Sarah Palin 1,229,216 40.26%
0 / 11
2012 Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan 1,290,670 41.29%
0 / 12
2016 Donald Trump/Mike Pence 1,221,747 36.83%
0 / 12
2020 Donald Trump/Mike Pence 1,584,651 38.77%
0 / 12


Washington Republican Party senatorial election results
Election Senatorial candidate Votes Vote % Result
1914 Wesley Livsey Jones 130,479 37.79% Won Green tickY
1916 Miles Poindexter 202,287 55.39% Won Green tickY
1920 Wesley Livsey Jones 217,069 56.40% Won Green tickY
1922 Miles Poindexter 126,410 42.93% Lost Red XN
1926 Wesley Livsey Jones 164,130 51.31% Won Green tickY
1928 Kenneth Macintosh 227,415 46.45% Lost Red XN
1932 Wesley Livsey Jones 197,450 32.70% Lost Red XN
1934 Reno Odlin 168,994 34.02% Lost Red XN
1938 Ewing D. Colvin 220,204 37.12% Lost Red XN
1940 Stephen F. Chadwick 342,589 45.84% Lost Red XN
1944 Harry P. Cain 364,356 44.44% Lost Red XN
1946 Harry P. Cain 358,847 54.34% Won Green tickY
1950 Walter Williams 342,464 45.98% Lost Red XN
1952 Harry P. Cain 460,884 43.53% Lost Red XN
1956 Arthur B. Langlie 436,652 38.91% Lost Red XN
1958 William B. Bantz 278,271 31.38% Lost Red XN
1962 Richard G. Christensen 446,204 47.31% Lost Red XN
1964 Lloyd J. Andrews 337,138 27.79% Lost Red XN
1968 Jack Metcalf 435,894 35.26% Lost Red XN
1970 Charles W. Elicker 170,790 16.01% Lost Red XN
1974 Jack Metcalf 363,626 36.08% Lost Red XN
1976 George M. Brown 361,546 24.25% Lost Red XN
1980 Slade Gorton 936,317 54.17% Won Green tickY
1982 Douglas Jewett 332,273 24.28% Lost Red XN
1983 (special) Daniel J. Evans 672,326 55.41% Won Green tickY
1986 Slade Gorton 650,931 48.67% Lost Red XN
1988 Slade Gorton 944,359 51.09% Won Green tickY
1992 Rod Chandler 1,020,829 46.01% Lost Red XN
1994 Slade Gorton 947,821 55.75% Won Green tickY
1998 Linda Smith 785,377 41.59% Lost Red XN
2000 Slade Gorton 1,197,208 48.64% Lost Red XN
2004 George Nethercutt 1,204,584 43.74% Lost Red XN
2006 Mike McGavick 832,106 39.91% Lost Red XN
2010 Dino Rossi 1,196,164 47.37% Lost Red XN
2012 Michael Baumgartner 1,213,924 39.49% Lost Red XN
2016 Chris Vance 1,329,338 40.86% Lost Red XN
2018 Susan Hutchison 1,282,804 41.48% Lost Red XN


Washington Republican Party gubernatorial election results
Election Gubernatorial candidate Votes Vote % Result
1889 Elisha P. Ferry 33,711 57.68% Won Green tickY
1892 John McGraw 33,281 37.01% Won Green tickY
1896 Potter C. "Charley" Sullivan 38,154 41.68% Lost Red XN
1900 John M. Frink 49,860 46.81% Lost Red XN
1904 Albert E. Mead 74,278 51.34% Won Green tickY
1908 Samuel G. Cosgrove 110,190 62.56% Won Green tickY
1912 Marion E. Hay 96,629 30.35% Lost Red XN
1916 Henry McBride 167,809 44.44% Lost Red XN
1920 Louis F. Hart 210,662 52.25% Won Green tickY
1924 Roland H. Hartley 220,162 56.41% Won Green tickY
1928 Roland H. Hartley 281,991 56.22% Won Green tickY
1932 John Arthur Gellatly 207,497 33.75% Lost Red XN
1936 Roland H. Hartley 189,141 28.12% Lost Red XN
1940 Arthur B. Langlie 392,522 50.24% Won Green tickY
1944 Arthur B. Langlie 400,604 48.12% Lost Red XN
1948 Arthur B. Langlie 445,958 50.50% Won Green tickY
1952 Arthur B. Langlie 567,822 52.65% Won Green tickY
1956 Emmett T. Anderson 508,041 45.00% Lost Red XN
1960 Lloyd J. Andrews 594,122 48.87% Lost Red XN
1964 Daniel J. Evans 697,256 55.77% Won Green tickY
1968 Daniel J. Evans 692,378 54.72% Won Green tickY
1972 Daniel J. Evans 747,825 50.78% Won Green tickY
1976 John Spellman 687,039 44.43% Lost Red XN
1980 John Spellman 981,083 56.68% Won Green tickY
1984 John Spellman 881,994 46.69% Lost Red XN
1988 Bob Williams 708,481 37.79% Lost Red XN
1992 Ken Eikenberry 1,086,216 47.84% Lost Red XN
1996 Ellen Craswell 940,538 42.04% Lost Red XN
2000 John Carlson 980,060 39.68% Lost Red XN
2004 Dino Rossi 1,373,228 48.87% Lost Red XN
2008 Dino Rossi 1,404,124 46.55% Lost Red XN
2012 Rob McKenna 1,488,245 48.33% Lost Red XN
2016 Bill Bryant 1,476,346 45.49% Lost Red XN
2020 Loren Culp 1,749,066 43.12% Lost Red XN

See also


  1. ^ a b "A Former Washington State Republican Leader Looks Back: How Did It Come to This?". Niskanen Center. 2019-11-25. Retrieved 2021-08-21.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Washington State Republican Party. Retrieved on May 13, 2010.
  3. ^ Johnson, Kirk (27 November 2012). "In West's 'Democratopolis,' Winning an Election With Only 8 of 39 Counties". New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Bush, William Owen". BlackPast. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Cayton, Horace (1859-1940)". HistoryLink. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Hurn, Reba". HistoryLink. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Stokes, Charles". HistoryLink. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  8. ^ "C. Montgomery Johnson". University of Virginia Social Networks and Archival Context Project. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Johnson Warns Leaders". Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. 10 January 1971.
  10. ^ "Loss of Michael K. Ross—Washington State's Last Black Republican Legislator". The Seattle Medium. August 2007.
  11. ^ Postman, Dave (5 September 1999). "Washington's 19th Century ManJack Metcalf's Days In Congress Are Numbered, Along With The Spirit Of An Older Northwest". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  12. ^ Postman, Dave (14 December 2007). "Once-mighty GOP on the Eastside takes another hit". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  13. ^ Modie, Neil (11 August 2005). "Where have Seattle's lefties gone?". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  14. ^ "ADVANCED SEARCH DETAILED CONTRIBUTIONS". Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  15. ^ Westneat, Danny (30 August 1998). "Patrons Of Politics: Washington State's Top 50". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  16. ^ Brunner, Jim (November 10, 2020). "Republican Loren Culp lost King County by the worst margin in at least four decades in Washington governor's race". The Seattle Times.
  17. ^ Brunner, Jim (November 21, 2020). "Loren Culp, refusing to concede Washington gubernatorial race, turns on top Republicans". The Seattle Times.
  18. ^ Hyde, David; King, Angela (2021-02-19). "WA state GOP remains divided over false 2020 election fraud claims". Retrieved 2021-07-13.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ "Republicans in Washington state still pushing the election conspiracy that won't die". The Seattle Times. 2021-03-27. Retrieved 2021-07-13.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Camden, Jim (26 June 2021). "GOP lawmaker tours Cyber Ninjas 'audit,' considers changes in Washington called unnecessary | The Spokesman-Review". Retrieved 2021-07-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ Brunner, Jim (2021-08-13). "Washington Republican legislators push election fraud narrative at hearing on Sunday". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2021-08-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Krieg, Hannah (8 March 2021). "WA looking at ranked-choice voting among election reform ideas | Crosscut". Retrieved 2021-08-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ Westneat, Danny (16 December 2020). "'Prepare for war': A local GOP official goes all-in with election conspiracy theories". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  24. ^ "About". Washington Federation of Republican Women. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  25. ^ Rolf, Amy (8 February 2008). "UW's GOP fans few but dedicated". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  26. ^ Modie, Neil (28 April 2013). "Republican Liberty Caucus elects leaders in Washington". Yakima Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  27. ^ Postman, David (14 February 2005). "Election dispute attracts 5 who lost race". Seattle Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  28. ^ Smith, Erik (29 August 2013). "Former Auditor Brian Sonntag No Longer a Democrat". Washington State Wire. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Log Cabin Republicans appoint new leader, Seattle native, to top post". Seattle Gay News. 5 January 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2013.