Candidate Files 'No Contact' Order Against Loren Culp Campaign Manager


A candidate in the race for the 4th Congressional district is asking for a no contact order against an opponent's campaign manager.

Jerrod Sessler, who is running against several others for a chance to unseat Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, filed a petition for an order of protection against Christopher Gergen, who is Loren Culp's campaign manager.

The petition was filed in Benton County. There does not appear to be any criminal investigation into the matter.

Sessler is claiming Gergen has harassed him, and was aggressive toward him after an event in Yakima on May 7. Gergen's lawyer, Gregory L. Scott, told the Herald the petition is unfounded and politically motivated.

Sessler filed the petition on May 9 in Benton County Superior Court and appears to be representing himself. A temporary protective order is in place until a July 8 hearing before Judge Joe Burrowes.

Sessler and Culp previously vied for a coveted endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump after Newhouse voted to impeach him. Culp ultimately received the nod.

Culp, Sessler, state Rep. Brad Klippert, Benancio Garcia III, Corey Gibson, Jacek Kobiesa and democrat Doug White are all running against Newhouse.

The top two vote-getters in the August primary will face off in the November general election.

The complaint

According to the petition, Sessler said Gergen confronted him as he was walking off stage after a debate at the VFW Hall in Yakima on May 7.

Sessler claims Gergen "aggressively approached (him) with clear anger" as he was walking off stage, and that Gergen "approached me with strong rage in his face and body language. He got so close to me that his wiskers (sic) and breath were on me."

The stage in question appears to be a small dance floor area in a banquet room that was set up with music stands for to hold speakers' notes, according to images posted to Facebook by the VFW Hall.

Sessler continues, claiming that Gergen "accused me falsely and was goating (sic) me to be aggressive in response to him." He claims Gergen said "something like a teen would say, like 'let's do this right here' or something like that."

Sessler claims he felt Gergen was so physically aggressive, even in a room full of people, that he was unsure if the confrontation would become physically violent.

"I do not want to be in any sort of positions with him again. He violated my constitutional rights as they are understood through the social compact (sic)."

Scott said that Gergen came up to Sessler because he had made inappropriate remarks about Culp's volunteers, and he told Sessler that was out of line.

Scott said the room was likely loud, but he does not believe his client was being aggressive.

"To my knowledge there has been nothing untoward, illegal, threatening or anything else," Scott said. "Politics is a hard business and sometimes people get their feelings hurt, but to my knowledge there has been nothing that is untrue, malicious or personal attacks."

Sessler also wrote in the petition that Gergen previously "sent (a) letter in 2021 threatening lawsuit for running for office."

Scott said that letter was not a threat, but a notice that several of Sessler's staffers previously worked for Culp and were beholden to nondisclosure agreements.

"He said (Gergen) sent a letter threatening a lawsuit about running for office, that's flat out wrong," Scott said. "There was a letter sent early on saying that (Sessler) had hired a few folks and they had an NDA with the Culp campaign, and if any of their information was used, there could be legal action."

Sessler also wrote under "other incidents" that there were "multiple videos online including false information and threatening innuendos."

It is unclear what he is referring to. Scott told the Herald that he has been trying to contact Sessler to determine how to best defend his client, but Sessler has not responded to requests for information.

Sessler wrote that the incidents made him feel threatened, bound and under attack. He also said he believes that without a temporary protection order, he could suffer from disruption of schedule, physical harm or death.


Sessler did not respond to multiple attempts by the Herald to contact him about the order request.

Scott said he has not seen anything that would lead him to believe his client had done anything wrong.

"Mr. Sessler was not very specific in what his accusations are," Scott said. "We believe that it is motivated by politics."

He also said that the petition is interfering with Gergen's ability to do his job in the middle of the campaign season.

"I have asked him to let us know what information he believes supports his accusation, so we can be prepared to meet that, and so far he has not," Scott said.

The petition was filed a week before candidate filings opened, and a tentative court date is set for less than a week before mail-in ballots are sent out to voters.

Ballots for the Aug. 2 primary are to be mailed about July 13.

"You've got to be able to go to the political events, got to be able to do your job and there's nothing in here that would support excluding my client from events," Scott said.

"I cannot tell you off the top of my head everything that was said by either candidate, but I believe strongly that everything is above board, and I don't know of anything that can remotely be considered harassment."