This could be one of the most unusual years ever in politics as both parties vie for control of the state Legislature. But it would be hard to find a more interesting group of candidates, or potential candidates, than the lovable, zany and wacky group we have right here in the 30th District.
No insult intended, as they all have something to offer. But you’ll need a score card to keep track of the plots, sub-plots and relationship twists.
Formal filing isn’t for two weeks and we already have charges of carpetbagging, party disloyalty in the name of job hunting, and accusations of one candidate being a rino, while also being a dino. We have some local party loyalists unhappy the state party is telling them who their candidates are going to be, and indications that both parties will spend big to win the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tracey Eide. Control of the state Senate could hang in the balance.
Wow! First a roadmap of terms and who is who. Get out your pen and paper; you will need them.
Eide’s departure creates a vacant seat in the Senate. Because the current alignment is within a couple of votes, winners in the 48th, 28th, 45th and 30th districts become critical to determining control.
Former Democratic House member Mark Miloscia announced he would run as a Republican for the Senate. Some Democrats have referred to Miloscia as a dino (Democrat in name only). At the same time, some of his new Republican allies have called him a rino, (Republican in name only).
Then former candidate for the Legislature and City Council, Democrat Roger Flygare announced he would also run for the position. Speculation was that his announcement was done quickly to try and keep Shari Song out of their race. Song is a Democrat and former Federal Way resident who still has relatives here.
Most recently, she lived on the Eastside and ran against Reagan Dunn last year for the County Council. She lost and Republicans have tagged her as a carpetbagger because she had to move back into the district to qualify to run. She was reportedly recruited by the state party, which has caused some local Democrats to be upset with the party for recruiting candidates from outside the district. Other Democrats will support Song as they think she has the best chance of winning.
However, Flygare’s ploy didn’t work as Song rented a place near her relatives and went ahead with her announcement. Then Flygare announced he was dropping out and it was anticipated that he would endorse Song, but so far no endorsement.
I hope you readers are writing this down because it gets more complicated.
City Councilmember Martin Moore, who is an active Democrat and relied on party regulars to help him win his election to the Council last year over a Republican, said he was going to support newly-minted Republican Miloscia, rather than the Democratic candidate Song. Moore’s day job is as an assistant to incumbent Democratic State Rep. Roger Freeman. Some have openly speculated that Moore is job hunting and wants to be Miloscia’s administrative assistant if Miloscia wins.
Freeman announced his bid for reelection and has been going through the motions. Former City Councilmember and Mayor, Republican Jack Dovey, recently decided to run against him.
There is another twist in this race. Several years ago when Dovey was on the Council, Freeman ran against him and lost. This time, the roles are reversed with Freeman as the incumbent. It is well known that Freeman has cancer.
He says his health can withstand the hard work and stress of a campaign. However, many Republicans believe he will drop out on the last day of filing to clear the way for a Democratic ally.
Remember I told you to write all this down.
The current rumors are, if Freeman does drop out, some think Moore would jump in the race and hedge his bet. If he wins, he is a state legislator. But since state representatives are only elected to two-year terms, some think Moore might consider trying to keep his City Council seat with its additional salary and benefits. If he were to lose, he would still keep his Council seat and could go to work for Miloscia.
And since both Democrats Freeman and Moore consider Republican Miloscia a mentor, this scenario isn’t as far-fetched as non-political observers might think. But whether he is in the race or not, who would Freeman endorse? His mentor Miloscia or Democrat Song?
Several Democrats believe Moore is very politically ambitious and they are troubled by his support for Miloscia after they supported him for the Council. He has also supported conservative candidates in the past. Some have wondered if Moore might change parties. Moore says no, but he still may run into difficulties within the party. One said supporting Miloscia would hurt him in the future, and another said some Democrats felt used.
And let’s not forget about Democrat Flygare, who dropped out of the Senate race for party unity. Rumors persist that he has talked to the Republicans about switching parties. He says absolutely not.
Several other Democrats don’t believe the rumor either, and note his father-in-law was long-time Democratic state Sen. Frank Warnke. However, there is still some thought that if Freeman drops out, Flygare could jump in even if it means a primary battle.
Also, don’t forget that Republican House member Linda Kochmar is running for reelection and is being challenged by Democrat Greg Baruso, although so far it has lacked the intrigue of the other races. Kochmar has been courting Democratic votes and there were some Democrats at her kick-off that will start more rumors.
I will admit to some tongue-in-cheek commentary in this column because of all the twists and turns. Partisan politics is serious business to party activists and this election season may test relationships, party loyalty and future party support.
There you have the current rumor mill and behind-the-scenes maneuvering. What will actually happen?
We won’t know until it plays itself out. But if you learn anything in politics, it is that ambition and opportunity make for some shocking and sometimes unpredictable moves. I hope you wrote all that down. Now tape it to your refrigerator so you can keep track.
Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn: firstname.lastname@example.org.