Help wanted after historic 2008 election

Wow, there’s a lot of political maneuvering and speculation going on.

Wow, there’s a lot of political maneuvering and speculation going on.

Many pundits, politicians and potential candidates are evaluating the last election and looking at how the political opportunities shape up for the future. What jobs are open and who will move?

Now that Christine Gregoire has been re-elected Governor her name will disappear from the list of possible candidates for the Obama administration, at least for four years as some don’t expect her to run for a third term.

Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna is maneuvering himself into position to run for Governor in four years. But since it would be up or out, he will weigh his options carefully. Publicly he supported Dino Rossi, but a Rossi win would have put his plans on hold for eight years. If Gregoire doesn’t run, possible Democrats include Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, King County Executive Ron Sims, assuming he wins next year’s Executive race against Councilman Larry Phillips, and House Speaker Frank Chopp.

Chopp’s name has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for Mayor of Seattle. Well-financed Seattle businessman Greg Smith is also considering the Mayor’s job. Current Mayor Greg Nickels is planning to run for one more term. But it looks like he’ll have company.

On the national level, others mentioned as possible Obama appointments include: Sims, former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, former Governor Gary Locke, and Congressman Adam Smith. Locke and Smith would seem like legitimate possibilities. If Smith leaves, the race for his seat will get exciting.

Dave Reichert’s re-election also had secondary implications. Republican County Councilman Reagan Dunn whose mother held this seat for several years would like to return it to the family. Some jokingly suggested that he had a Darcy Burner sign in his yard. Now he has to try and talk Reichert out of running or wait. He was likely hoping to run against Burner.

Speaking of Burner, there were many who wanted her to run against County Councilman Jane Hague last year. With all the problems that surfaced around Hague, Burner would have won easily. She missed a golden opportunity and after two Congressional losses, she might want to take a second look at the Council spot. But now she has to wait three years. Of course, if Reichert drops out she could run again for Congress, but that seems unlikely.

Several more names have surfaced as possible candidates for the new elected position of Director of King County Elections. Political gadfly Chris Clifford of Renton, Julie Ann Kempf who served as Superintendent of Elections but was fired after the 2002 elections, and Ellen Hanson, who was Manager of Elections a couple of decades ago, are said to be interested. That puts the possible list of candidates into double figures. One County elections watcher described the list as “weak”. Another, noting the position requirements to become a certified elections official said, “I’m not sure half these people could pass the test, even though it’s open book!” The County Council is working in job requirements which may affect who can run. We’ll see who actually files for the position. The good news in this potentially crowded field is that the Municipal League of King County will conduct a candidate evaluation process so voters will have some independent analysis to guide them.

Over in Pierce County, Auditor Pat McCarthy was elected Executive and Dale Washam Treasurer/Assessor after several round robin redistributions of votes under the new instant runoff voting system. Many believe under the traditional system, McCarthy probably would have won anyway but Washam probably would not have. Washam has run unsuccessfully for office many times. One regional newspaper called his election a “threat” and stated flatly, he doesn’t belong there”. The new system is likely to receive a second look.

A bigger surprise in historically Democratic Pierce County is the County Council which is now dominated by Republicans. In Tacoma, an effort to abolish term limits failed so you’re going to see a whole new set of candidates stepping forward.

Finally, in looking at the last election, what commercials or brochures caught your attention? Which were most humorous, or turned you off? What strategy or comment perked your interest or tickled you funny bone?

With all this serious political stuff, it’s time for a more lighthearted look at this wonderful democratic process of ours. So let me know our thoughts.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn, can be reached at