Chris Vance (politician)

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Chris Vance
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 31st district
In office
January 1991 – January 6, 1994
Preceded byErnie Crane
Succeeded byLes Thomas
Personal details
Born (1962-05-01) May 1, 1962 (age 57)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (before 2017)
Independent (2017–present)
EducationWestern Washington

Chris Vance (born May 1, 1962) is an American politician who served two terms on the Metropolitan King County Council and is a former member of the Washington State Legislature. Vance is also a former chair of the Washington State Republican Party. He and his wife Ann raised their son and daughter in Auburn, Washington.

Vance ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, losing to Demcratic incumbent Patty Murray in the 2016 election.

In September 2017 he announced that he had left the Republican Party and had become an independent.[1]

Early life[edit]

Vance was born in Seattle in 1962,[2] and lived in Bellevue until the eighth grade, when his family moved to east Pierce County. In 1980, Vance graduated from Sumner High School.[3] He attended Western Washington University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science.[2]

Political career[edit]

After college Vance went to work for former Congressman Rod Chandler, then served as a research analyst with the Washington State Senate.

From 1991 to 1994 Vance served in the Washington House of Representatives for the 31st Legislative District, following an unsuccessful 1988 bid. He was the second ranking Republican on the House Education Committee, and was elected by his colleagues to the position of Assistant Floor Leader. From 1994 to 2001 he represented the 13th district of the King County Council, acting as a leader in the areas of budget, transportation and land-use. In 2000, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress.

In 2001, Vance was elected Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. He worked to get Republican officials elected, including Rob McKenna, the first Republican State Attorney General in 13 years.

2004 Washington gubernatorial election[edit]

Vance also played a role in Dino Rossi's failed bid to become the Governor of Washington. After winning the first two statewide ballot counts, Secretary of State Sam Reed certified Rossi as the winner; however, a statewide hand recount resulted in the election of Democratic Party candidate Christine Gregoire.

The Rossi campaign and the Washington State Republican Party filed an election contest in Chelan County Superior Court. The controversy over the election lasted over six months, with Vance often serving as a spokesman for the party and Rossi's campaign.


On January 9, 2006, Vance announced he would resign his position and pursue opportunities in the private sector.[4] He currently works as a public affairs consultant, a member of the management team of King County Assessor John Wilson,as well as being an instructor at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs, and is a frequent media commentator on Washington State politics. Since April 2007, Vance has been a contributing writer with the online newsmagazine,,[5] and is a regular guest columnist on the website

On September 8, 2015, Vance announced that he was running for the US Senate against Democratic incumbent Patty Murray. During the campaign he announced that could not support Donald Trump for President. Vance received 41% of the vote in the November 2016 election.

In 2017, Vance joined the American Civil Liberties Union.[6]

Departure from Republican Party[edit]

On September 29, 2017, Vance announced on KUOW's "Week in Review" podcast that he had left the Republican Party, saying the following:

I now consider myself an Independent. I am no longer a Republican after 36 years...For years I've seen the party move away from things I believed in...It didn't begin with Trump, but he certainly accelerated the process...I just don't agree with [the Republican Party] on 90% of the issues they talk about today.[7]

Vance said he would be focusing future efforts on helping to establish an independent centrist movement in the country and would encourage Independents across the country to run for office. A month earlier, Vance had formally announced his support of and participation in the Centrist Project, with the goal of electing enough centrist candidates that Republicans and Democrats would have to negotiate with each other.[8]


  1. ^ "Podcast: Former state GOP chair Chris Vance on ditching the party and joining a centrist movement". The Seattle Times. 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  2. ^ a b "Vote Smart: Chris Vance's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "1980 Sumner High School Yearbook". Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  4. ^ State Republican Party Chairman Steps Down Archived August 31, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Chris Vance (bio)". Crosscut. Retrieved August 20, 2011..
  6. ^
  7. ^ "KUOW Week in Review: NFL takes a knee, Washington takes on Big Pharma". September 29, 2017. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "Former state GOP chair aims to grow 'Centrist Project' in WA". August 22, 2017. Retrieved October 1, 2017.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Dino Rossi
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Washington
(Class 3)

Most recent