The relationship between the Washington State republican Party and it's endorsed candidate for Governor has been an interesting one.  Much was made about the events leading to Semi Bird's endorsement in the race for the State's top executive at the State Party Convention in Spokane back in April.  Party leaders wanted to hold off on endorsing after information arose regarding a misdemeanor conviction in Bird's past they said he wasn't "forthcoming" about during their vetting process.

WA State GOP Facebook
WA State GOP Facebook

72% of the delegates in attendance felt differently and forced a vote to endorse, resulting in Bird getting the nod over former Congressman and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert.  Roughly a month after that, Seattle talk show host Jason Rantz dropped a bombshell report calling into question aspects of Bird's military service, including claims of 'stolen valor'.  Rantz included interview with veterans he said served with the gubernatorial hopeful and gave accounts that differed from Bird's account.

That Led To The Washington State GOP's Investigation

Bird refuted the claims made in the report, telling KUOW that the attacks were "politically motivated".  He also claimed that the documents Rantz obtained regarding his service record were done so illegally.  The State GOP's Executive Board decided to investigate the most recent claims against Bird and they revealed the conclusions they reached on their website.  In the interim, Rantz released more information from the men who said they served with Bird regarding the allegations.

Juan 92.5 FM logo
Get our free mobile app

What Did They Find?

State GOP Chairman Jim Walsh (who also represents the 19th District in the State House), in a statement, said

The WAGOP has been contacted by many people, asking for a clear explanation of the recent media allegations about Bird’s military service. The Party has investigated the allegations to determine which, if any, can be confirmed. It has contacted relevant military offices and interviewed relevant people, including Bird himself.

He then revealed the results of the investigation.  They found:

  • Bird’s receipt of the Bronze Star commendation was in good order, per U.S. Army standards.
  • Bird wearing certain ribbons and badges was in good order.
  • Bird wearing certain other ribbons and badges was questionable and was the subject of a 2009 General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMR).
  • The 2009 Reprimand memo sent to Bird is real and legitimate.
  • Bird’s written response to the 2009 Reprimand memo is also real and legitimate.
  • Bird’s claim that the 2009 Reprimand memo and his response were obtained illegally from a restricted personnel file is unresolved.
Bird for Gov Facebook/Canva
Bird for Gov Facebook/Canva

Walsh went further to state a particular piece of information troubled him

In his written response to that memo, Bird himself acknowledged: “My actions constitute nothing less than a fraud against the United States Army….” This statement from Bird, in particular, has drawn the attention of both media outlets and people involved in the WAGOP. Understandably so. As WAGOP Chairman, I was deeply troubled to read those words.

Walsh also said that claims made by Bird's supporters that the matters in the memo were unfounded or inaccurate were not supported by any documentation they uncovered in their investigation.

That Statement Didn't Sit Well With Bird

Bird reiterated that he has only worn medals he has earned and told KING 5 in Seattle he wasn't punished for the incident and has reached out to the Department of Defense about the release of the memo from 2009.  Bird didn't stop there.  In an interview yesterday with KOMO Bird went full blast on the GOP Party Chairman, saying Walsh was trying to "undermine" his campaign and of being the ringleader of the movement to discredit him and his campaign.

Jim Walsh and Semi Bird (Bird For Gov Facebook/Canva)
Jim Walsh and Semi Bird (Bird For Gov Facebook/Canva)

Walsh was asked in detail regarding Bird's accusations and the State Party's investigation by KOMO news reporter Chris Daniels.  His comments are contained in the following video.

Voters will ultimately decide if Bird will make it out of the primary in August to the general election in November.  For what it's worth, a recent Rasmussen survey conducted between May 20-23 of 800 registered voters in the State showed Bird with single digit support among those who responded.

The 12 Most Politically Divided Counties in Washington State

How do Washington state counties fare when it comes to the political divide? These twelve are right on the line.

Gallery Credit: AJ Brewster