Legislative races take off, rumors fizzle in Federal Way | Inside Politics

Bob Roegner - Contributed
Bob Roegner
— image credit: Contributed

And they’re off! Well, sort of. Over the last two months there were so many rumors, conspiracy theories, questions about party loyalty and suggestions of questionable motives to keep track of. I put all of them in one column and suggested that you tape it to your refrigerator to try and follow what was going on.

At this point, all the rumor spreaders and speculators seem to be wrong and the races will be fairly straight forward and direct. If you just ran to the refrigerator to throw away that column, I would wait a couple of weeks. I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Control of the Senate is the big prize as the Democrats control the House of Representatives and the Governor’s Office. But the Senate is up for grabs and just a couple of races could decide which party wins. One of those races is right here in the 30th District. Former Democratic House member Mark Miloscia filed as a Republican as expected, and has to be considered the front runner. He is a hard campaigner and was elected here several times before stepping down to run for state auditor, which he lost.

To try and minimize likely attacks for switching parties, Miloscia uses “independent” in a lot of his comments to try and attract Democratic votes.

Shari Song filed as Democrat to oppose Miloscia. Song used to live here and last year ran for the County Council on the Eastside. She has moved back into the same neighborhood as her parents. But Federal Way, like most suburban communities, changes by a third every few years and she will have to work very hard to meet all the voters who won’t know her. And she will need a lot of money to get to voters who are not involved in party politics. Advantage —Miloscia.

In position No. 1, Republican Linda Kochmar, who is running for a second term, is also using phrases, such as “independent.” Kochmar is one of the most well known public officials in town after serving on the City Council for 14 years. Her opponent, Democrat Greg Baruso is chair of the city Diversity Commission and is a captain in the Port of Seattle Fire Department. Uphill climb at this point for Baruso. Advantage — Kochmar.

Position No. 2 was the one everyone was watching to see if incumbent Democrat Roger Freeman would stay in the race. Some Republicans expected him to drop out and open the door for someone else. At closing last Friday, he was still in the race and was being opposed by former mayor and Councilman, Republican Jack Dovey. These two ran before for the City Council and Dovey won. This time, Freeman is the incumbent and Dovey will have to run very hard. Advantage — Freeman.

In two adjoining districts, 47th Republican Sen. Joe Fain will likely win, as will Democrat Sen. Karen Frasier next door in the 33rd.

The most fun race to watch may be in the 31st as Republican incumbent Pam Roach is being opposed by Republican House member Cathy Dahlquist. Allegations of dirty tricks have started already as Democratic House member Chris Hurst was accused of helping out Dahlquist. And suddenly two Democrats got into the race. This seat will stay in Republican hands no matter who wins, but it will be a wild race.

The next most fun race may be in the 33rd as appointed incumbent Democrat Mia Gregerson is challenged by independent  Kent City Councilwoman Les Thomas, who used to be a Republican. Jeanette Burrage, a Des Moines Republican, who has held both City Council and judge positions, is also in the race.

And unless something changes, most pundits are seeing Republicans taking control of the state Senate.

Local Democratic Congressman Adam Smith should win comfortably. The big Congressional race is over in the 4th District in Yakima, which hasn’t elected a Democrat since Gov. Jay Inslee represented the area 20 years ago. State Sen. Janea Holmquist, former state cabinet official Dan Newhouse and former football player and several-time candidate Clint Didier are all running to replace Doc Hastings.

Now, remember that list you wanted to take off your refrigerator? You might want to keep it there because the candidates all have several days to change their minds. That slap you heard was some voters smacking their forehead in frustration.

It’s politics, keep it on the refrigerator just in case.

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


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