New State Party Chair, Kirby Wilbur, may become known as Washington State's Dubya. Why not? It's time for an outspoken conservative to lead citizens who are gravitating to the Republicans over tax issues. And, party loyalists have been looking for someone to offer grassroot leadership within the party.
As Wilbur said in his speech to the delegates...he was running to be a leader... not a CEO. In fact, he will be both.
Last Saturday the former talk radio host beat out Luke Esser 69 to 36 with 7 votes going to an unknown. Wilbur got 60.5%. (Not bad...but didn't catch your editor's 66.7% of last fall.)
The first reviews of the election were predictable. Liberal pundits only know how to swat at conservatives. Knowing very little about Republican Party inter workings they made a quick weekend out of the change and declared Wilbur's win would work against Attorney General Rob McKenna's presumed gubernatorial candidacy. Then, I guess, they went out to celebrate the win.
Wilbur has what the party operatives want in a state chair. They were wowed by his potential "wow" factor. They wanted someone who could and would lead rallies, motivate the conservative base, and value the bottom up approach in campaigns. Wilbur has stepped up to help carry a banner that has been held by Tim Eyman, Tea Party activists, and a few grassroot elected officials.
Kirby Wilbur's task will be to make sure he has a manager in place to carry on daily operations. He must stop the quiet effort on the part of liberal Republicans to cleanse the ranks of the legislature of Reagan Republicans. Wilbur needs to let us all know right away that he and McKenna can work together to take the mansion. He MUST raise money. He MUST, and I believe will, stop the bleeding of resources that have been spent on failed lawsuits aimed at gaining party powers.
I predict Kirby Wilbur will be involved in the selection of legislative candidates. This will not be to the liking of some in Olympia. I also predict Wilbur will not take part in the very destructive process of "eating our own," to the advantage of the other party. Wilbur said in his acceptance speech that he wants an inclusive party. He needed to say that. He needed to send a message to those who do not play well when left unsupervised.
But Wilbur has a limited cusp of time to work wonders. The pendulum has not reached the point of zero momentum but that will happen during his first term if Republicans continue give away their political advantages in a down economy. By then he needs to have the armaments in place to win in 2012. If he does not...then as the momentum swings...Republicans will have lost their opportunity, again.
Coming Up: Will Wilbur be able to stop the war on conservatives?