SEATTLE - Loren Culp held a concert-style rally in Leavenworth, Washington with hundreds of people, few wearing masks last night.
Already, Governor Jay Inslee is going after him for putting people at risk.
The early results from the primary election set up a showdown between the two men with widely differing opinions about the pandemic and how the state should be responding.
“Loren Culp is coming to Olympia and the citizens of Washington are coming with me," Culp said on Tuesday night's rally. "Because we’re tired of our rights being disregarded.”
It's a message he's been spreading from the tiny mining town of Republic. It's in Ferry County, Washington in the northeast part of the state with roughly 1,100 people. It's where Culp’s role as police chief often comes armed with outspoken conservative views.
“We should have law and order in this state and in this country,” Culp said.
The Republican burst onto the national stage in 2018, doing interviews on Fox News and other conservative outlets, by refusing to enforce one of the state’s new gun laws. The law raised the legal age to buy a semi-automatic rifle to 21, from 18 and required enhanced background checks.
During his primary campaign, Culp set his sights on Democrat Gov. Inslee and Inslee’s restrictions on businesses and public gatherings to control the spread of COVID-19.
Just last May, he told Q13 News, "You have people rebelling and that’s what’s going to happen if Jay Inslee continues with this charade of safety over something that’s pretty much already run its course.”
Tuesday night, Culp held what he called an “Insubordinate Victory Rally” on private property in Leavenworth. You could see people in attendance openly packing rifles, but few wearing face masks.
After watching on Q13 News, Gov. Inslee said, “All I can tell you about Mr. Culp is that a person who would purport to be a great leader of this state, would endanger the lives of citizens."
Culp responded, "These people who are attending my event are free Americans. They are free Washington state citizens... and when I’m governor the citizens will be free to exercise their rights.”
Culp has faced a few attacks of his own. The Seattle times highlighted a 2017 lawsuit that accused Culp and other officers of botching a child sex-abuse investigation and intimidating the female victim.
In speaking to the crowd last night, Culp said he’s made a few mistakes, but not nearly as many as Jay Inslee.