By Duane Davidson
In the 2016 Election, with the help of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington (MRW), I made history – becoming the first Republican to win an election to be Washington’s State Treasurer since 1952.
MRW helped at every step of the way. Recruiting me to run, educating me about the challenges and intricacies involved in running a statewide campaign and supporting me to victory. Happily, after a successful campaign, MRW also advised on transition and the initial steps in taking office.
MRW is really the “brain trust” for Republicans who want to win campaigns in Washington state. They can draw on the collective wisdom of their many successful members – such as Daniel J. Evans, Slade Gorton, Ralph Munro, Sam Reed and Kim Wyman. In recent decades Washington hasn’t had any winning statewide Republicans who weren’t Mainstreamers.
Their help made a huge difference in building my confidence that I could make the leap from being Benton County’s Treasurer to now being Treasurer for the whole state. Until I got that first call from Sam Reed asking me to consider running for State Treasurer I’d never really thought such a move would’ve been obtainable.
MRW recognizes that to win in a statewide race in Washington Republican candidates generally need to be clearly better qualified than the Democratic candidate. Republicans who are seen as too conservative can’t generate enough votes in the moderate suburbs of the big counties in Western Washington to gain a winning majority. Being able to demonstrate the ability to work across party lines is something that most voters really want to see.
Competence and moderation alone don’t win elections. MRW’s knowledgeable leadership was able to provide feedback, advice, endorsements and even some funding that all helped to make my campaign a success.
In the years ahead it will be even more important to bolster the MRW brand that stands for competence in governing and the ability to work across the aisle while safeguarding the public purse.
I’m pleased that we were able to double the number of statewide elected Republican office holders in 2016. With MRW’s continued efforts in recruiting, education and support we have a chance to increase that number in 2020.