What We Heard From Loren Culp at the Gubernatorial Debate

Loren Culp showed once again how unfit he is to hold the office of governor

For Immediate Release | October 8, 2020

SEATTLE —  At the October 7 gubernatorial debate between Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican candidate Loren Culp, Inslee clearly made a strong case for his re-election, and how his strong, smart, and effective leadership is what Washington needs to help us get through the COVID crisis. Meanwhile Loren Culp once again showed how unfit he is to hold the office of governor with a barrage of statements that were flat out lies, contradictions, extremely conservative and out of touch with Washington voters, or some combination of all those. His continued refusal to support the use of masks to protect us from COVID or to enforce voter-approved and constitutional gun safety laws put Washingtonians at risk, and his rhetoric is extreme and disqualified. Washington deserves better than Loren Culp. 

At 6:46 in the debate, Culp made the claim that he never opposed the use of masks, only a mandate to require them. But Culp’s own words show that he does in fact oppose the use of masks:

At 19:20, Culp made the claim that Inslee isn’t enforcing laws – omitting that he rose to prominence himself for saying that he wouldn’t endorse the state’s voter-approved and constitutional gun safety laws. 

At 22:30, Culp accused politicians of turning their backs on communities of color after the election. Culp himself accelerated the process by ignoring organizations representing communities of color before the election, refusing to appear in a joint event with Gov. Jay Inslee organized by the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of WA and Asian Counseling and Referral Service in September. 

At 25:36, when challenged about police officers who use unlawful force, Culp stated that no reforms to policing are necessary and that “officers are prosecuted all the time.” Investigative journalism shows how it is almost impossible to get an officer decertified from being able to hold the position in Washington state. But Culp’s personal case shows that officers can be sued from time to time for misconduct. Culp is currently accused in a lawsuit of “mismanaging a child sexual-abuse investigation.” The victim alleges Culp intimidated and failed to protect her. By Culp’s own admission, he accused the victim of “made up” allegations. In addition to dismissing the victim’s allegations, Mr. Culp further defended his actions and the abuser, saying of the man who eventually pled guilty to abusing a 12-year old, “Not everyone who takes a plea deal is actually guilty.” Culp did not notify state welfare agencies of the abuse allegations, as required by law.  

When challenged further at 28:20 about whether cops who are fired for improper use of force should be able to get rehired, Culp melted down, accusing the debate moderators of calling former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best “a racist”. 

In general, Culp felt that as a law enforcement officer, he should be allowed to enforce the law however he saw fit, with no apparent regard for what the actual laws really are. At 35:18 he claimed that he had the personal discretion to choose not to enforce voter-approved gun safety laws, but that he would crack down on and arrest peaceful protestors. 

At 36:25 in a discussion of the state’s budget, Culp claimed that his first step would be to freeze all new spending – an action that would prevent the state from doing anything new to respond to the COVID pandemic and its economic fallout. A freeze on any new spending would mean no new assistance to struggling small businesses and restaurants, no ability to pay for more personal protective equipment or help hire more doctors and nurses to provide care. 

At 42:23, Culp made the false claim that he had never said the wildfires that wracked our state in September were the result of conspiracy – a rumor debunked by law enforcement, that fire fighters begged people not to spread. In a video posted to Culp’s own website, he said that “To have that many fires set all over the state, it’s gotta be coordinated.” 

At 46:09, Culp said that he had no plan to respond to climate change. He went on to repeat debunked Republican talking points about “global cooling” and to question the science behind climate change and humanity’s role in it. 

And at 54:18, Culp closed the debate by talking about how Washington doesn’t have a gun violence problem. According to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a person is killed with a gun every 14 hours in Washington state, more people are killed with guns than die in car accidents, and firearms are the second leading cause of fatal injury for children. 

All these statements and more show how unfit Loren Culp is to serve as governor of Washington State. His debate performance was a disgrace to himself and his party, and the event served to rally support for Gov. Inslee’s re-election and show the importance of electing a responsible leader who will listen to facts, data, and science.