Wilbur resigns as leader of state Republican Party

Washington State Republican Party chairman Kirby Wilbur quit Monday to take a job with a national group working to organize a movement of young political conservatives.

Wilbur accepted a five-year contract with the Young America’s Foundation in Washington, D.C. which he said he “would be foolish not to accept.”

Wilbur had served as party chairman since January 2011. He won re-election seven months ago for a two-year term.

On his watch, the Republican Party could not pull off victories in any major statewide and federal races in 2012. And last year the party also lost one of its two statewide seats, attorney general. While there was some criticism of Wilbur’s leadership among the party insiders, he won another term pretty handily.

“I will be moving to the “other” Washington within the next couple of months to write this next chapter of my life,” he said in the release. “We have had many successes and I have had some failures. The Party has a good crop of up-and-coming leaders, and a strong staff, and it will continue to move forward no matter whose hand is on the helm.”

Wilbur, a Duvall resident, will be joining an organization for which he’s been serving as a member of its Board of Directors.

Vice-Chairwoman Luanne Van Werven assumed power as interim chairman Monday.

“I am excited to step up and get to work with the great WSRP staff to ensure a seamless transition,” she said in a statement. “Working toward a Republican majority in both chambers of the Legislature will be my goal, as it was my predecessor’s. I can’t wait to work with all the great Republicans across this state as we seek to reform state government so that it once again works for Washington’s families.”

WSRP bylaws require the election of a permanent chair within 90 days of Wilbur’s resignation, according to information put out by party officials.

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