A Stunning Upset in Washington

This weekend the Washington State GOP dumped its chairman and elected longtime radio host - and serious pro-life conservative -- Kirby Wilbur to lead the Party into the 2012 elections.

Washington State is divided politically, as well as geographically, by the Cascade range of mountains.  On the East side of the Cascades, often called "the other Washington," the state is solidly and reliably Republican.  On the West side of the Cascades -- which is to say, Seattle -- the state is about halfway between left-wing Socialist and middle-of-the-road Commie.  (This is an observation, not an accusation.  Seattle voters keep sending Jim McDermott and Norm Dicks to the House of Representatives, and in the Fremont district of Seattle there's a statue of Vladimir Lenin.)  Since a few more voters live West of the Cascades than East of the Cascades, GOP candidates usually lose statewide elections.  For example, last November the GOP candidate for US Senate, Dino Rossi, lost to Democrat Patty Murray.  (There are exceptions; down in the Third Congressional District, which is south of Seattle, they elected a very bright young Republican to the House of Representatives, Jaime Herrera.)

For more than two decades now, a civil war has raged within the State GOP.  The grass roots has been conservative, while the party leadership -- known to grass roots Republicans as the Bellevue Establishment, and led by former US Senator Slade Gorton, who hails from the Bellevue suburb of Seattle -- has been, well, establishment.  During the 2010 election cycle, Gorton and his Establishment cronies stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Tea Party movement, and ignored its candidates.  (During the 2010 primaries Dino Rossi, the Establishment's candidate, literally never mentioned his two Tea Party rivals and declined more than a dozen invitations to debate them.  With the Establishment's money and enthusiastic support Rossi won the nomination and then - for the third time in six years, after two failed races for governor - lost to Patty Murray.

Now the grass roots Republicans have risen up and wrested control of the GOP from the Bellevue Establishment.  Out here, this is nothing short of a revolution.

For 20 years, Wilbur's early morning talk radio show was must-listening for anyone in and around Seattle with even the slightest interest in local, state and national politics.  (For my money, he was the country's smartest, sharpest radio host, and also its most gracious and congenial.)  He's solidly conservative, and seriously articulate.

Don't be surprised if Kirby Wilbur emerges as one of the national GOP's leading spokesmen.
This weekend the Washington State GOP dumped its chairman and elected longtime radio host - and serious pro-life conservative -- Kirby Wilbur to lead the Party into the 2012 elections.

Washington State is divided politically, as well as geographically, by the Cascade range of mountains.  On the East side of the Cascades, often called "the other Washington," the state is solidly and reliably Republican.  On the West side of the Cascades -- which is to say, Seattle -- the state is about halfway between left-wing Socialist and middle-of-the-road Commie.  (This is an observation, not an accusation.  Seattle voters keep sending Jim McDermott and Norm Dicks to the House of Representatives, and in the Fremont district of Seattle there's a statue of Vladimir Lenin.)  Since a few more voters live West of the Cascades than East of the Cascades, GOP candidates usually lose statewide elections.  For example, last November the GOP candidate for US Senate, Dino Rossi, lost to Democrat Patty Murray.  (There are exceptions; down in the Third Congressional District, which is south of Seattle, they elected a very bright young Republican to the House of Representatives, Jaime Herrera.)

For more than two decades now, a civil war has raged within the State GOP.  The grass roots has been conservative, while the party leadership -- known to grass roots Republicans as the Bellevue Establishment, and led by former US Senator Slade Gorton, who hails from the Bellevue suburb of Seattle -- has been, well, establishment.  During the 2010 election cycle, Gorton and his Establishment cronies stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Tea Party movement, and ignored its candidates.  (During the 2010 primaries Dino Rossi, the Establishment's candidate, literally never mentioned his two Tea Party rivals and declined more than a dozen invitations to debate them.  With the Establishment's money and enthusiastic support Rossi won the nomination and then - for the third time in six years, after two failed races for governor - lost to Patty Murray.

Now the grass roots Republicans have risen up and wrested control of the GOP from the Bellevue Establishment.  Out here, this is nothing short of a revolution.

For 20 years, Wilbur's early morning talk radio show was must-listening for anyone in and around Seattle with even the slightest interest in local, state and national politics.  (For my money, he was the country's smartest, sharpest radio host, and also its most gracious and congenial.)  He's solidly conservative, and seriously articulate.

Don't be surprised if Kirby Wilbur emerges as one of the national GOP's leading spokesmen.

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