FILE: Screen shot of election results posted by Yakima Herald-Republic

The Yakima Herald-Republic posted 2022 primary election result numbers on Sunday that were subsequently removed. Fourth Congressional District candidate Loren Culp wants answers about where the numbers came from and why they were put out two days early. 

(The Center Square) – Loren Culp, a Republican candidate in Washington’s Fourth Congressional District race, couldn’t believe it when he saw primary election results posted Sunday night on the Yakima Herald-Republic website.

The numbers put out on July 31 ranked incumbent Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican as the top contender, followed by Democrat Don White and Republican Jerrod Sessler. The other candidates in the race had no numbers in the listing.

Culp, who resides in Moses Lake, screen grabbed what was posted as the 2022 primary election results and the numbers were down by the next morning. Before the newspaper pulled the numbers down, The Center Square verified that the screen grab was genuine.

Culp now wants answers as to why "results" were posted in the first place when the election isn’t until Tuesday.

“It is illegal for election workers to give out early results,” he said. “I want to know where those numbers came from because this looks like election tampering.”

He said Newhouse supporters who saw high numbers might their have thought their vote was no longer needed. And supporters of those with fewer – or no – numbers might have felt there was no point in turning in a ballot.

“I don’t know if this was done by mistake or was a deliberate intent to influence voters,” he said. "What I do know is that someone needs to explain what happened."

Culp has filed a complaint with the Yakima City Police Department asking for an investigation into the matter.

The Yakima newspaper was unable to be immediately reached for comment. The daily publication is part of the Seattle Times family of newspapers and reaches 15,000 readers per day, with 80,000 to 100,000 people accessing its website, according to Charles Horton, senior director of affiliates, in a late 2021 report.

Culp, a retired law enforcement officer who has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, is facing off with four-term Newhouse, who voted for Trump’s impeachment in January 2021.

Also running for the Fourth District are Republicans Benancio “Benny” Garcia III, Jacek Kobiesa, Brad Klippert and Corey Gibson. White is the lone Democratic contender.

The top two candidates from the Aug 2. primary, regardless of party, will be listed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Results will begin to be available Tuesday after 8 p.m. on the county’s website, www.yakimacounty.us, or the Washington Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.wa.gov.

Staff Reporter

RaeLynn Ricarte is the author of two books and an award-winning editor and reporter with more than 25 years in the newsroom. She now covers government in Eastern Washington for The Center Square.