Podcast | Kim Wyman, the GOP’s great West Coast hope

Reporter Melissa Santos discusses the politics and path of the only Republican elected to statewide office in one of the nation’s bluest regions.

Kim Wyman in an archive

Kim Wyman was the only statewide elected Republican in the 2020 election. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

Statewide success in electoral politics has been hard to come by for Washington's Republican party. The state has not sent a member of the GOP to the governor's mansion or the U.S. Senate in decades, and voters haven't supported a Republican presidential campaign in generations. The lone, consistent bright spot has been the Office of the Secretary of State, which has remained red for more than 50 years.

Kim Wyman kept that streak alive when she won reelection this month, outperforming her party's gubernatorial and presidential candidates by double digits and making her the GOP's only statewide elected official on the West Coast of the lower 48.

Some in the party see her appeal to split-ticket voters as the path to statewide relevance, perhaps as a candidate for governor. Yet the rightward swing of the base during the Trump era complicates the equation. 

This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, we speak with politics reporter Melissa Santos about Wyman, how she is able to keep her office in such a deep blue state and the tough choices ahead for the Republican party.