Republican candidate for Washington governor Bill Bryant phones potential voters and requests they submit their primary ballots on Aug. 2 at his campaign headquarters in Seattle. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times via AP)

Republican candidate for Washington governor Bill Bryant phones potential voters and requests they submit their primary ballots on Aug. 2 at his campaign headquarters in Seattle. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times via AP)

Gubernatorial candidate Bryant says he won’t vote for Trump

OLYMPIA — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant said Monday he won’t vote for Donald Trump, ending months of avoiding comment on his party’s presidential nominee.

Bryant’s refusal had become an issue in the campaign with incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee portraying it as a tacit endorsement of Trump’s incendiary remarks and controversial policy positions.

Now Bryant hopes his decision, first announced in an interview with seattlepi.com, will squelch conversation on the topic when he and Inslee face-off in their initial debate Wednesday afternoon in Spokane.

“Bill really wants to stay focused on what the issues are in Washington and not litigating what’s happening on the national front,” said Bryant spokesman Jason Roe. “We expect to put a microscope on these past four years. It will be difficult for Jay Inslee to keep talking about Donald Trump.”

Jamal Raad, Inslee’s campaign spokesman, said not so fast.

“I’m sure this will be brought up,” he said.

In the seattlepi.com interview, Bryant said he would not vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton but would take a “serious look” at casting a ballot for Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson. Bryant declined other interview requests leaving it to his spokesman to confirm the candidate’s comments.

Bryant reached his decision after participating in a parade Saturday in his hometown of Morton, Roe said.

Trump’s response to criticism from the Muslim parents of a U.S. soldier killed in combat was on his mind, Roe said. So, too, was the memory of the loss of a Bryant family member in the Vietnam War.

“Some things happened that he couldn’t be silent any longer,” Roe said.

Raad said he still questioned why Bryant chose to condemn Trump’s comments Monday after having refused to do so in interviews in the days following the Republican National Convention.

And he and state Democratic Party spokesman Marc Siegel pointed out the announcement came on the same day as the release of a new statewide Elway Poll showing Inslee leading Bryant by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent. That margin is the same as an Elway Poll in April.

The new poll also found endorsing Trump hurts candidates a lot more than it helps. While 17 percent said they would back a candidate that supported Trump another 50 percent said they would not, for a net negative of 33 percent of the electorate.

“Staying away from Trump appears to be the smart move,” pollster Stuart Elway concluded.

Siegel, noting the poll findings, called Bryant’s decision “politically craven and desperate”.

Bryant is the latest prominent GOP candidate to disavow Trump. Chris Vance, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, did so months ago and Republican Rep. Dave Reichert did so in recent days.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Sunlight illuminates a framed photograph of Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento while their daughter Rowella Sarmiento cries reading her statement to the court during Caleb Wride’s sentencing on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At sentencing, family mourns parents killed in fatal DUI crash

Caleb Wride, 23, of Everett, was sentenced Monday for the head-on crash that killed Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento.

Food forum
Too many Thanksgiving leftovers? Make turkey “glop”

Our reader adapted this turkey casserole from an old Betty Crocker recipe.

The Smith Ave homelessness camp Thursday afternoon in Everett on March 11, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Audit: Snohomish County lacks data-driven approach to homeless services

The Washington State Auditor’s Office this month published a 73-page report looking into four local governments across the state.

(Dutton)
Pulitzer winner’s new book digs into Snohomish County cold case killings

The Everett library will host a talk with Edward Humes on “The Forever Witness,” about a double murder and pioneering DNA evidence.

The crab doughnut at Market in Edmonds is a strange delight, with a sweet and dense glazed doughnut topped with bright and briny dungeness crab salad, nutty browned butter and a shower of smoky bacon bits. (Taylor Goebel / The Herald)
This idyllic dining destination is right in Snohomish County

Edmonds boasts fresh seafood, Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, artisan breads, cocktails and more.

Police: Woman shot boyfriend during argument at Everett apartment

The woman, 36, was reportedly trying to throw out her boyfriend’s belongings when he tried to stop her.

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7

Find information and resources to help make the best choice for you.

Marysville Jail (City of Marysville)
Man with hepatitis C accused of spitting on Marysville jail staff

Hepatitis C is usually spread through blood. The suspect, 28, faces allegations of exposing the officers to a contagious disease.

Lawmakers meet on the Senate floor, Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington lawmakers were wrapping up their work Thursday with final votes on a supplemental state budget and a transportation revenue package before planning to adjourn the legislative session. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Crime, climate, abortion on docket in legislative session warm-up

Washington lawmakers will hold 39 hearings this week. Nearly all will be conducted in person, which hasn’t happened in three years.

Most Read