Continuing his revenge spree against Republicans who voted to impeach him for stoking the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, former President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Loren Culp, the former Washington gubernatorial candidate and challenger to U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse.
Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, was among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year, along with fellow Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground.
In a statement, Trump bashed Newhouse for joining “the Radical Left Democrats to vote for the Impeachment Hoax.” He called Culp “a man of the people” who would stand up for “Election Integrity” and gun rights.
“Loren will never turn his back on Central Washington, or our Country. Loren Culp has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump wrote.
The endorsement continued Trump’s pattern of exerting influence on Republican primary races across the country — and seeking to oust politicians who have refused to echo his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
Like Trump, Culp, the ex-police chief of Republic in Ferry County, has sought to undermine trust in the results of the election by lobbing false claims of widespread voter fraud.
He refused to concede the 2020 gubernatorial race after losing to Gov. Jay Inslee by 545,000 votes. Culp also filed a lawsuit over the results but quickly withdrew it after his attorney was threatened with sanctions for making meritless claims in a court of law.
In a livestreamed video posted to Facebook, Culp said he spoke with Trump for about 10 minutes on Wednesday, calling him “the greatest president of my lifetime.”
A Newhouse campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In voting for impeachment, Newhouse cited “the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capitol” and said Trump, by failing to halt the Jan. 6 attack, had “failed to fulfill his oath of office.”
Elected to Congress in 2014, Newhouse is seeking a fifth term this year in Washington’s solidly conservative 4th Congressional District, which spans Central Washington, including the Tri-Cities and Yakima areas.
Culp served as a police officer and then police chief of the small town of Republic for a decade. For the final few years it was a one-man department. Culp’s job was eliminated due to budget cuts shortly after the 2020 election. He has since moved to Moses Lake for his 2022 campaign, according to voter registration records.
It was Trump’s second endorsement in Washington ahead of the 2022 midterms. He endorsed Joe Kent, a challenger to Herrera Beutler, last September and hosted him at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser last week.
The endorsement was a blow to other pro-Trump Republicans vying to take on Newhouse in the Aug. 2 primary, including Jerrod Sessler, an ex-NASCAR driver who has loaned his campaign more than $350,000, and state Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick.
Trump’s endorsement of Culp could provide a lift for a campaign that has gotten off to a slow early fundraising pace. The campaign has reported raising $145,000 so far as of the end of 2021, and spent about $25,000 more than it took in over the final three months of the year. Newhouse has raised $971,000.
Culp’s gubernatorial campaign was built largely on opposition to coronavirus-related public health measures including mask mandates and business restrictions.
He has continued to criticize Inslee and President Joe Biden over vaccination mandates as he runs for Congress.
In an email to supporters earlier on Wednesday, Culp said he knows several people who have recently contracted the coronavirus, including a few who have died from COVID-19 and others who were hospitalized for lengthy periods.
He did not advise supporters to take the safe and widely available vaccines that have been shown to vastly reduce deaths and other severe COVID outcomes.
Instead, Culp suggested people follow his lead by paying a Florida telehealth clinic to mail treatments including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, drugs hyped by vaccine skeptics that have not been authorized for use in treating COVID-19.
Culp wrote many doctors refuse to prescribe the treatments due to “the lies coming from Big Pharma, the US Government, the media, and of course Dr. Fauci.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other health agencies have cautioned against using both medications outside of clinical trials, noting they have not been proven effective against COVID and can have serious negative side effects.
Culp did not respond to requests for further comment on the Trump endorsement and his medical advice.
Correction: The Culp campaign raised $145,000 through the end of 2021. An incorrect figure was reported in an earlier version of this article.