Rumors swirl around Miloscia’s comeback | Inside Politics

Bob Roegner - Contributed
Bob Roegner
— image credit: Contributed

Could former Federal Way democratic state Rep. Mark Miloscia be planning a political comeback? As a Republican? As a “leans” Republican? As a Democrat? As a “leans” Democrat? All are possible.

This time of year, the politics of running for the Legislature are always full of rumor and speculation. Whoever has control of the state Legislature, Republicans or Democrats, has the power to decide who wins and who loses important legislation.

With Democrats in control of the House and Governor’s office, and Republicans holding the Senate, with the help of two Democrats, everything is aimed at winning a solid majority in November.

But how you get there and what your label is, is often more complicated.

Miloscia is well known having served several terms as a Democrat in the state House before stepping down to run for state auditor. He lost in the primary to current Auditor Troy Murphy.

Rumors have circulated from different directions the past few weeks that Miloscia might be entertaining thoughts of returning to politics as a Republican in a bid against incumbent democratic state Sen. Tracey Eide. But in today’s politics, candidates can select “leans” Republican.

While he was in the Legislature, Miloscia was frequently more conservative than his party on some issues and Republicans tried to recruit him to switch parties. At one point, he challenged House Speaker Frank Chopp for the speakers job. Chopp won comfortably.

At the same time, there has been additional speculation that Miloscia might run as a Democrat against incumbent Republican Rep. Linda Kochmar. However, Miloscia probably would not want to return to the House of Representatives without a firm commitment from Chopp that he would be given a significant role, such as a committee chairmanship. That commitment seems unlikely.

Miloscia is a good campaigner and has defeated several well known local candidates over the years. If he were to run against Eide, Miloscia would be formidable. Republicans have been looking for a candidate with good name identification and he would have appeal to conservative independents, and using the more vague “leans” Republican, he might attract some conservative Democrats.

In past races, he received some crossover support from Republicans because of his conservative views on some issues. And with control of the senate hanging in the balance,  Republican interests would be able to raise significant amounts of campaign cash.

And while  Miloscia might receive critical comment for switching parties, the stigma doesn’t hold like it did many years ago.

Eide has the advantage of being the incumbent, she is well known and well liked in Federal Way. She has tried to work across party lines and co-chairs the Senate Transportation committee with a Republican. She has brought home several projects and is respected in Olympia. She would be  hard to beat.

But money can even out a race pretty quickly, and since Miloscia does not currently hold a state office, he could start raising money while Eide is still in session and precluded from raising money. And Miloscia could appeal to a different constituency than a typical Republican.

Eide continues to say she is planning to run, and while Miloscia would only say he is considering his options, probabilities suggest he will run.

If the 30th District has a senate race between Eide and Miloscia, it could be the most competitive, high profile and expensive race in the state this year.

Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn: bjroegner@comcast.net.


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