Kirby Wilbur, the head of the Washington state GOP, resigned on Monday and has left the party struggling to find a new leader. As chair he led the Republicans to take greater control of the state Legislature but lost key races for governor and attorney general.
Wilbur signed a contract with the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative organization with a mission to train young people for jobs in the media.
Chris Vance, a former chair of the Washington state Republican Party, said the resignation caught everyone in the party by surprise.
“This is a big problem, because the state party is a multi-million dollar political operation; and you can’t just elect somebody who is a local party activist who has never managed a political staff, who’s never run an office like that, is completely unknown to major donors, can’t raise money, can’t deal with the Seattle media," he said.
Since Washington does not require registered voters to choose a political party, Vance said the chair’s biggest job is identifying party members and making sure they vote. He said the Republicans fell short in that mission in the last election cycle.
Vance spoke on The Conversation today with Ross Reynolds.