Radio Talk Host Kirby Wilbur Announces Challenge for State GOP Chair

As Republicans in Washington State assess the fallout from last Tuesday’s elections, upturning the state party hierarchy is becoming an outlet for a very real sense that opportunities for GOP gains were missed because of a lack of a ground game.

By telephone this morning, Kirby Wilbur informed me that he would be running for chair of the State Republican Party, and that he had made an earlier call to Luke Esser to let him know of the decision.  Wilbur cited the lack of a ground effort to reach voters as a critical failure in last week’s election, and said that his decision to challenge Esser was a difficult one that he nevertheless felt compelled to make.

Wilbur is a longtime talk radio host and currently heads up the Washington chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative education and advocacy group. His announcement was also confirmed by email to The Everett Herald.

By voicemail message, Luke Esser confirmed that he will be running for re-election and that he looks forward to building on gains made in recent years.

Changes may also be afoot on the spot that some define as the scene of the crime, the Democratic stronghold of King County. Current KCGOP vice chairs Walter Liang and Jill Fagan will not be seeking re-re-election and two suitors have quickly stood up to run for their slots.

Jennifer Burke announced on her Facebook page this morning her intent to run for the open vice chair positions. Burke gained exposure during her husband Matthew Burke’s primary campaign in the First Congressional District. Her experience in the field of education could be seen as a valuable asset to a party that has struggled to make inroads into the Democrats’ most popular affinity constituency.

Matthew Lundh also confirmed by email that he will seek the other vice chair spot. Lundh has worked on communications and campaign strategy for the Republican Party both here in Washington State and in D.C.

An email was sent to current KCGOP chair Lori Sotelo shortly before the publication of this post to ask whether she intends to run to keep her position at the helm. Although it is assumed that she would like to continue in the position, there have been no public statements confirming.

UPDATE: Lori Sotelo confirmed last night that she will run for re-election to the KCGOP chair. Sotelo has set up a Facebook page to channel support for her effort.


[Cross-posted by author from Red County.]