A closer look at Republic, the town gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp calls home

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s one of those towns where everybody knows your name.

“Peaceful, quiet and just a good place to live,” Andre Ciais said.

Republic may not have a flashy downtown scene, like some bigger cities, but you also won’t make it through town without someone waving at you or stopping to strike up a quick conversation.

That’s one thing that makes this community so tightknit.

“I’m from New York City and look at Republic as a small melting pot—a crosscut of the United States with people from all over,” local business owner Ron Ciais said.

Many of those people are excited to see their police chief, Loren Culp, representing the small town in Washington’s race for governor.

“I’m amazed he’s gotten this far,” Ron Ciais said. “I’m kind of proud of him for taking it as far as he has.”

Culp and a K9 make up the entire Republic Police Department. He’s also owned a construction businesses for the last 20 years.

Some people in Republic believe those responsibilities make up for his lack of political experience.

“I think he’s great, and I think he’s a solid family guy,” Andre Ciais said. “He’s got good values, he knows the Constitution. I read his book and he’s got my vote.”

That small town attitude is what’s connecting Culp to these voters. That’s something they believe is lacking with Washington’s current politicians.

“They say they have, but they’ve never done what we’ve done,” Mike Campovasso said. “They have not missed meals, they haven’t had to walk to work because their car broke down or they were out of gas. All that stuff happens to us.”

Governor Inslee has run with a small-town platform before, often pointing out the fact that he has three sons in Selah.

Some people in Republic said they’d much rather have Inslee stay in office. They weren’t comfortable going on camera because of the overwhelming support in town for Culp.

“Definitely there’s some people a lot stronger to the left, a lot stronger to the right,” Ron Ciais said. “I’m kind of in-the-middle kind of person. I like good things from each side.”

Despite that difference in opinion, the people of Republic rely on each other too much to let it divide them.

“When we’re in times of tragedy, our community pulls together and everybody’s there for each other,” Campovasso said. “To me, that’s what kind of makes us.”