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Inside Olympia – Republican Chair Caleb Heimlich, Capitol Journalists

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The chair of the Washington State Republican Party is stepping down after nearly six years as chair, and more than a decade of various positions within the WSRP. How does Caleb Heimlich size up the state of the party and its future in what seems to be an increasingly blue Washington – where no Republican can be found occupying any of the state’s nine statewide offices?

Heimlich has been the longest serving State Party Chairman since Jennifer Dunn in the 1980s. He was hired as State Party Political Director in 2011, promoted to Executive Director in 2013 and elected Chairman in January of 2018. He was re-elected unopposed in 2019, and was re-elected in 2021 and 2023 with wide margins of support. He lives in Pierce County with his wife Mackenzie, and their three children ages 9, 7 and 2.

Host Austin Jenkins sits down with Heimlich for an exit interview, discussing both the state and national political scenes, and the future of the Republican party in Washington state.

Plus, State Capitol reporters discuss the upcoming statewide elections. Claire Withycombe, who recently reported on the Oregon State Legislature from Salem, now writes for The Seattle Times. And Laurel Demkovich reports for the Washington State Standard, a new entity covering the State Capitol, and part of a network of bureaus covering state capitols across the country.

Though it’s not yet 2024 yet, three-term Governor Jay Inslee’s recent announcement he would not run again brought a slew of announcements from those who will run for governor. On the Democratic side, that includes State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, and State Senator Mark Mullet of Issaquah; and on the Republican side, Richland School Board member Semi Bird and Yakima area doctor Raul Garcia.

Who are the candidates, and what other issues are making news at the State Capitol these days? Tune into Inside Olympia for the discussion.