If you thought politics were done for awhile, you were very wrong.
Candidates for 2016 have been active for several months and candidates for 2017 are already making moves. Presidential candidates will take up most of the evening news, followed by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s race with Chris Vance.
Advantage goes to Murray, but 2016 is a “state” year, meaning all statewide offices and control of the Legislature will be up for grabs. Currently, all statewide offices are held by Democrats, other than secretary of state, which is held by Republican Kim Wyman. She will be hard to unseat.
The race between incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant will be a great one. Both are issue oriented, smart, capable and unlike some of the presidential candidates, bring two rational points of view to the debate.
Those with political party ties already know who they will support. But for the Independents, who will actually decide the race, should take the opportunity to see and hear both candidates. They are good.
Inslee’s current chief of staff and former campaign manager Joby Shimamura is leaving to return to her former business. She is well respected, and that is a big loss for Inslee, but he will still be the frontrunner.
The race for lieutenant governor to replace Brad Owen will get very crowded, and watch the battle for superintendent of public instruction. More on those races later.
Locally, Republican state Sen. Mark Miloscia announced several months ago that he is again running for state auditor.
We don’t know if embattled incumbent Troy Kelley will be around for the election or not. It doesn’t matter, he can’t win anyway. Democrat state Rep. Derek Stanford is likely to get in the race and others may follow.
Control of the Legislature is in question and the battles will get ugly.
Most of the attacks will come from special interests groups that will benefit by whichever party holds power next December.
Miloscia’s seat is not up in 2016 but both Republican Rep. Linda Kochmar and Rep.-elect Teri Hickel will be on the ballot. Hickel is new and the most vulnerable.
Watch to see who the Democrats recruit. Two new names have circulated but no one is making any announcements yet.
If Miloscia were to become state auditor he would vacate his state Senate position and his replacement would be appointed by the King and Pierce County Council’s from three names submitted by the 30th District Republicans.
Insiders are already maneuvering for the appointment, should Miloscia win.
Even though 2017 is the next “local” year, movements are already being made. Incumbent Mayor Jim Ferrell’s strategy appears to be scaring opponents away by using the power of the incumbency along with raising a war chest.
He has already held one fundraiser. Despite his successes, Ferrell has also had several missteps that potential candidates have noticed.
Incumbent mayors frequently use the mid-term review as a time to make changes in preparation for the next election. That is right now for Ferrell.
Bringing in former campaign advisor Steve McNey as part of city staff was a positive move, although there are still many questions about whether or not Ferrell has the right team in place for the future.
He has carefully staged several public events over the next 18 months to coincide with his election schedule.
But his missteps need attention.
Speculation about possible opponents has been high during the holiday parties and we will take a closer look at the mayor’s race after the first of the year.
The same “plan ahead” logic applies to potential candidates for the City Council in 2017 as it does to the mayor.
Seats currently held by Council members Kelly Maloney, Martin Moore and Deputy Mayor Jeanne Burbidge will be on the ballot.
Maloney and Moore seem certain to run to keep future options open. Both are Republicans and if Democratic candidates were to defeat Kochmar and/or Hickel in 2016, Maloney and Moore could be legislative candidates in 2018.
However, Burbidge may give some thought to retiring from the council as the Performing Arts and Events Center will be completed in 2017.
The names may change over the next year but speculation has centered on recent council candidates Julie Hiller, P.K. Thumbi and former legislative candidate Shari Song.
Mark Greene had a creditable showing in his council race and may resurface by then, but he has run for so many different offices in so many different places we will have to wait and see.
Politics are never boring, and never ending!
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact him at email@example.com.