Republican Loren Culp has his sights set on unseating Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) in Washington’s Fourth Congressional District after Newhouse broke with his party in January to vote in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump.
Culp, who ran for governor against Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in 2020, told Breitbart News in a phone interview that he is hoping to continue his political momentum. Culp lost to Inslee by 13 points in the solid blue Evergreen State, but, he noted, he received the most votes for a Republican gubernatorial candidate in state history.
“I didn’t want to lose this momentum that ‘we the people’ had going. We’ve got to do something to fix this country,” Culp said.
Newhouse was one of ten Republicans who bucked the GOP in favor of impeaching Trump following the January 6 Capitol riot. Culp, who officially filed his paperwork to run in April, said Newhouse’s vote “pissed off a lot of people” and that it was “the last straw” after the Washington congressman had already voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 40 percent of the time during his last term.
Culp, the former police chief of the small city of Republic, served in the Army for four years and then ran a construction business for two decades before joining law enforcement. He served as a narcotics officer, K9 handler, sergeant, and then chief of the one-man department in Republic.
While he was police chief, Culp made headlines for refusing to enforce Initiative 1639, a gun control measure that passed during Culp’s tenure that tightened restrictions primarily on “semiautomatic assault rifles,” raising the age one could buy a semiautomatic rifle to 21 and implementing new gun storage requirements and waiting periods after purchase.
“I swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, and I wasn’t going to violate adults’, Americans’ rights. And so I made it public I wouldn’t enforce that, and I got a lot of flak from the left, the attorney general and the governor, both far left,” Culp said, adding that numerous sheriffs in the state ultimately followed his lead and refused to enforce the new gun restriction.
The Washington Republican explained that he had not anticipated a career in politics, but after writing a book about the events surrounding his gun law defiance — American Cop: Upholding the Constitution and Defending Your Right to Bear Arms — and conducting a small book tour in his state, Culp said the outpouring of support he encountered drove him to challenge Inslee.
“People started asking me to run for office, and into the summer of 2019, a lot of people everywhere I would go, it was like, ‘You need to run for governor. Get this idiot out of here.’ So I did,” Culp said.
Culp’s now congressional pursuit comes after Newhouse’s district voted 18 points in favor of Trump in 2020, making it the most pro-Trump district in the state.
After Newhouse voted to impeach Trump, GOP chairs from six of the eight counties in his district sent him a letter informing him his “vote for impeachment was blatantly against the voters’ wishes” and that “an overwhelming majority of our county constituents are calling for your resignation,” backlash that suggests a potentially rocky reelection road for the congressman.
Another one of the ten, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), represents the neighboring Third District, and she faces a difficult midterm herself against Green Beret veteran and Gold Star husband Joe Kent.
Trump — who is publicly backing multiple Republicans primarying his impeachment voters — has endorsed Kent, as well as challengers to Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Fred Upton (R-MI).
Trump also celebrated the announcement that Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), also an impeachment voter, would not seek reelection, but the former president has not weighed in on Washington’s Fourth District. Culp said that while he is a Trump supporter and advocate of the America First agenda and that the Trump seal of approval would be welcome, Culp asserted, “The only endorsement that I seek is from the voters, the constituents of the Fourth Congressional District.”
Other Republicans who have launched bids against Newhouse include state Rep. Brad Klippert, who has an extensive law enforcement and military background, and Jerrod Sessler, a former NASCAR driver, Navy veteran, and cancer survivor.
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