UPDATED 2/13 @ 5 p.m. — Washington gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman had a “Big Wednesday,” declaring he will run his campaign as a Republican, and winning a major victory in King County Superior Court, which rejected most of the issues in a challenge to Eyman’s $30 car license tab initiative passed in November.
Eyman initially said he would run for governor as an Independent, but during an appearance in Yakima, he made it official he’s running as a Republican. He joins a field already populated by state Sen. Phil Fortunato and Republic Police Chief Loren Culp, and two others. Liberty Park Press received a link to his Yakima speech late Thursday.
Eyman has become known primarily for fighting taxes, a crusade that has made him one of the least-liked people in Democrat-dominated Olympia. Backers of the lawsuit challenging Eyman’s Initiative 976, which once again affirmed the public’s support for $30 tabs were dealt a nasty blow by Judge Marshall Ferguson. He ruled that King County and “a coalition of Washington cities” had failed to convince the court that Eyman’s initiative was unconstitutional. As a result, according to KOMO News, the ruling “largely revokes state and local governments’ authority to add new taxes and fees” on license plate tabs. The ruling leaves the injunction against enforcement of the initiative in effect, however, ” while two outstanding challenges against the measure are resolved,” the KOMO story noted.
Whether Eyman can convince gun owners he’s their best choice remains to be seen. He promised gun owners at a rally last month in Olympia he would veto all gun control legislation if elected. Both Culp and Fortunato have proven track records on that account, and Culp, especially, has garnered a large following in the Second Amendment community since his announcement late last year.
Gun owners will play a key role in the November elections. Their anger at restrictive gun control initiatives passed by well-financed campaigns in 2014 and 2018 has been reinforced by the many proposals submitted to the Democrat-controlled Legislature earlier this year.
Culp is the lawman who sparked the “Second Amendment Sanctuary” movement in Washington state when he publicly refused to enforce provisions of I-1639. That measure outlawed the sale of so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles” to anyone under age 21, and created a definition of such a firearm that ensnares every semi-auto rifle ever manufactured, including popular .22-caliber small game and target rifles.
Fortunato is known as a fiscal conservative and strong Second Amendment defender in a legislature dominated by anti-gun Democrats, and he is popular with voters in and beyond his district.
Eyman’s name recognition around the state gives him an edge over other candidates, but it might also be a negative. While he has become widely popular from one corner of the state to the other, Eyman also has his critics, especially in the Puget Sound area.
But by joining the Republican slate, Eyman doesn’t run the risk of splitting the conservative vote.