Money matters in heated 30th District Senate race | Inside Politics

Bob Roegner - Contributed
Bob Roegner
— image credit: Contributed

You can tell the race for the 30th District Senate seat between Democrat Shari Song and Republican Mark Miloscia is of statewide significance as the gloves came off this week.

This race is one of four that has special interest groups on both sides very concerned about the outcome. It could determine control of the state Senate and could get brutal before it’s over.

The seat has been held by Democrat Tracey Eide for several years. However, the forecast is Republicans will control the Senate by one vote and Miloscia will win the Federal Way seat, moving it to the Republican column.

But that could change — it’s all up to the voters and money will play a big role.

Song recently returned to Federal Way after several years living in other areas. When she lived here previously, she was very active in the community. She ran for the King County Council on the Eastside last year and lost.

Protecting the Senate seat and keeping it in the democratic column is so important, she was recruited by state Democratic leaders because of her ties to the area. She has relatives here and moved into their neighborhood. She has spent a considerable amount of money on ads and mailers trying to overcome Miloscia’s lead in name recognition. Much of the money has come from out of the area, another sign of this race’s significance. Miloscia’s supporters say she is a carpetbagger and the money is more a sign of her lack of connections to the district.

Even though Miloscia has served as a substitute teacher in the Federal Way school district, Song has emphasized her commitment to education and accused Miloscia of cutting funding for K-12 and colleges and universities when he previously served in the Legislature.

Miloscia not only held office for 14 years, he has been active in many local organizations. As a result, Song needs a wedge issue to separate herself from Miloscia, and her newest mailer highlights her support for  women’s health issues such as “choice,” in contrast to Miloscia, who she describes as “anti-choice.” She also highlights her endorsements from women’s groups.

Her supporters remind voters that Miloscia switched parties and is now a Republican.

In fact, Miloscia is running as a Republican after representing this area for many years in the state Legislature as a Democrat. Local political observers say that some of Miloscia’s beliefs were inconsistent with Democratic views and he never appeared comfortable in the Democrat Party, even though he was a strong supporter of several Democratic policy positions.

Miloscia says, “I don’t care much about political parties,” and he has highlighted his “Independent” views on several occasions. Given that he shares some political beliefs with each party, that may be accurate.

However, Miloscia knows the district leans Democratic and there are some Democrats who aren’t happy about Song being recruited from outside the district to run. As a result, his “Independence” might be calculated to appeal to Democratic voters, who previously voted for him.

And he apparently cares enough about political parties that much of his literature is paid for by the state Republican Party, and groups affiliated with the Republican party.

All those years in office provide Miloscia with a significant name advantage. Just as Song supporters have  attacked Miloscia for switching parties, not supporting education or women’s issues, Miloscia supporters have struck back with a mailing piece calling Song a carpetbagger for only moving here to run for office. And Miloscia’s recent mailer makes a point of including all his local service on boards.

Both candidates will have a lot of money to spend but will benefit by third party expenditures who will likely do most of the “hit” pieces.

These independent expenditures are not supposed to coordinate with the candidate, and it is harder to track who they represent.

In most cases, they are funded by special interest groups and will spend significant amounts of money to elect the person that will support their legislation. And as I said earlier, this race will get nasty even if the candidates stay within normal boundaries.

As a suggestion, every time you get a mailer, read a newspaper ad or watch a television commercial, check to see who paid for it.

On television they will tell you and in written material it will be printed on the ad or mailer. If it didn’t come directly from the candidate, ignore it, unless you recognize the sponsor and believe them to be credible.

If the candidate puts their name on it, there is some accountability if you have questions.

A good rule of thumb, don’t believe everything you hear about each candidate. Good or bad.

Both candidates are nice people to talk to and they will know the issues. But they are very different in their policy positions.

Miloscia is the frontrunner and Song has to make up for the lost time she has been out of the community.

Will this turn in to a close race? Money could make the difference.

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


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