The Washington State Republican Party is the latest state GOP organization suddenly tasked with electing a new party chairman.
The former state chairman, Kirby Wilbur, announced his resignation suddenly in late July. He left the party to work for a conservative group called Young America’s Foundation, per The Seattle Times.
The top two contenders to succeed him are the interim chairwoman, Luanne Van Werven, and former TV anchor Susan Hutchison.
Grays Harbor County GOP State Committeeman Jim Walsh, Clark County Republicans Operations Director Christian Berrigan and Benton County precinct committee officer Lloyd Becker are also contenders for the position, according to The Seattle Times.
“The person everyone assumes will win is Luanne Van Werven,” former WSRP Chairman Chris Vance said. “Conventional wisdom is that she’s got the votes already at the state committee.”
But Vance cautioned her election is uncertain because it’s up to the state party’s 117-member state committee to select the new chairman. Vance’s concern is that Van Werven, Hutchison and the other contenders diverge from the party’s tradition of picking leaders with experience as operatives or running for office themselves.
But the biggest driving concern for Washington Republicans is that, like so many other Republican state parties around the country, their party faces divisions between the state’s traditional GOP membership and a faction of former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, supporters.
“What we really need in Washington is somebody who can bridge the different gaps within the party ... and start to win high-profile races,” said Connie Partoyan, a former aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers , R-Wash., and former Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash.
State operatives hope that whoever is the new chair will be able to help the party win prominent statewide contests for the first time in 20 years. Despite a couple of thin margins, no Washington Republican has won a campaign for Senate or governor since 1994.
The party’s state committee will select the new chairman on Aug. 24.
Ready for Hillary Is Ready for Another Hire
Democratic operative Rachel Schneider recently joined the Ready for Hillary super PAC as Young Americans director and regional director, according to a news release.
Schneider’s assignment will entail “organizing young Americans across the country in efforts to encourage Hillary to run for president in 2016.” She previously served as associate director for youth outreach on the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Ready for Hillary is an organization committed to building a campaign infrastructure in the event Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for president in 2016. It is not affiliated with Clinton.
Last week, Xochitl Hinojosa left her job as communications director to Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. She heads to the Department of Labor to serve as press secretary for the newly confirmed Cabinet official, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.
Previously, Hinojosa served as a the communications director for former Rep. Shelley Berkley’s 2012 Senate campaign in Nevada.
Rick and Roll
Augusta businessman Rick Allen announced last week his senior campaign staff for his bid for the highly competitive 12th District in Georgia.
Last cycle, Allen lost the GOP nomination and the opportunity to challenge Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., who went on to win re-election by an 8-point margin. The Democrat remains one of House Republicans’ top targets in 2014.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.