Letter to the editor: Semi Bird’s candidacy is a dead duck


As reported in The Chronicle, the recent Republican convention in Spokane, intended to burnish and unify the party, was discordant and futile.

Washington state GOP Chairman Jim Walsh denied this reality, as was his responsibility.  But the facts contradict most of what Walsh claimed.

According to public opinion polls and to campaign contribution data, the leading Republican candidate for governor, by far, is moderate  Dave Reichert. Yet the former sheriff and congressman was short changed at the convention, and withdrew his name from consideration for official endorsement.

Instead, the convention bestowed its preference on Semi Bird, whose qualifications for the office, to say the least, are difficult to discern. Reichert slammed this process as “unorganized,  deceitful and deceptive,” and dismissed Bird as a “crook” and a “snake oil salesman.”

Since Washington joined the federal union in 1889, 12 of our 23 governors have been Republican.  But the GOP has lost every gubernatorial race since incumbent John Spellman lost to Booth Gardner in 1984, which is 10 elections in a row.

Incidentally, Ronald Reagan demolished Walter Mondale in Washington in 1984 with 59% of the vote as part of his 49-state re-election landslide.  Spellman was remarkably unpopular.

But several of the GOP’s losses during this period were by very narrow margins and could easily have gone the other way.  In 1992, Ken Eikenberry won 47.8 % of the vote against Gardner, and Rob McKenna garnered 48.3% against Jay Inslee in 2012.

Both Eikenberry and McKenna served as highly respected attorneys general of Washington and were considered moderate, experienced and responsible.

Then, of course, there was Dino Rossi, who lost to Chris Gregoire by all of  129 votes in 2004.  Again, Rossi was considered to be experienced and sensible.

Completely to the contrary were Bob Williams in 1988, Ellen Craswell in 1996, John Carlson in 2000 and the ludicrous Loren Culp in 2020, all far-right extremists who lost in landslides. Carlson, in fairness, seemed honest and pleasant, but his only experience was as a radio talk show host.

Which brings us to Semi Bird. Evidently, Bird is an experienced public speaker, and apparently has some skill promoting right-wing cliches to receptive audiences. But his background is threadbare if not dubious, and promises no managerial skill whatsoever.

Massachusetts, which elected Edward Kennedy to the Senate nine consecutive times beginning in 1962 and was the only state to support George McGovern in 1972, is often regarded as solidly Democratic. Yet for 35 of the last 61 years, the Bay State has had Republican governors, evidence of a strong two-party system that should limit complacency and corruption.

One-party rule should never be endless.

Semi Bird is another Loren Culp, this time with a larceny conviction.  The Bird candidacy is a dead duck.

If, after 44 years, the Republicans actually want to win for a change, their only candidate is Dave Reichert. Serious competition would do the Democrats some good.


Joseph Tipler