If you thought politics was fun last year, you are going to have a bit of a letdown this year. However, not to worry: 2012 will more than make up for it.
2011 is a “local” year, which means races at the county and city level. However, there are already significant movements in preparation for 2012, so we will touch on those.
In Federal Way, there will continue to be a focus on new Mayor Skip Priest and his progress. Priest only has a three-year term, so potential challengers will be watching him closely. Incumbent city council members Jack Dovey, Dini Duclos, Jim Ferrell and Mike Park are all up for re-election, and all are expected to run. No one else has announced an intention to run. However, rumors abound and include Mike Peterson, who has run before, along with Anthony Kalchik and Shawn Sullivan, who have both run for the Legislature. Another interesting name is Bob Celski. He has been more visible lately, leading to additional speculation.
Federal Way School Board members Tony Moore, Amye Bronson-Doherty and Suzanne Smith are up for re-election this year. Moore ran a competitive, but unsuccessful, race for the State Senate in 2010. Board members are elected districtwide, but must live in the district they represent on the board.
In Auburn, the rumor that council members Sue Singer and Lynn Norman won’t run again continues to make the rounds. Some also expect Mayor Pete Lewis to find an opponent to run against council member Virginia Haugen. Haugen ran against Lewis for Mayor last time out.
Up north, Democratic Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, who may be a candidate for governor in 2012, could have two potential challengers. Republicans Mark Lamb (mayor of Bothell) and State Rep. Mike Hope are considering the race.
In Pierce County, the highlight will be the attempted recall of Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam. Washam was elected under a short-lived voter priority system. Voters should have known any election system imported from Louisiana was going to be trouble. It was, and they scrapped it. If the recall makes the ballot, the same thing is likely to happen to Washam.
In King County, Assessor Lloyd Hara and Elections Director Sheryl Huff are up for election. King County is non-partisan in name only. Both are Democrats. Hara will run, but Huff hasn’t said yet. If not, watch her deputy, Evelyn Arnold, who was an elected official in another county. Several members of the King County Council are also up for re-election.
Regarding 2012, speculation continues to swirl out of Olympia as to whether Gov. Christine Gregoire will run again. Congressman Jay Inslee, State Sen. Lisa Brown, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Reardon are the Democrats most often mentioned to run if Gregoire doesn’t. Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna is in the race no matter what Gregoire decides. King County Council members Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, and Reagan Dunn, a Republican, are both said to be interested in the expected vacancy in the Attorney General’s office.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Brad Owen may not run again. If he steps down, Democratic State Sen. Tracey Eide of District 30 seems likely to step up. She could run without giving up her seat in the Legislature. The same doesn’t hold true for Democratic State Rep. Mark Miloscia, also of District 30, who could be interested in either State Auditor Brian Sonntag’s job or Secretary of State if Sam Reed doesn’t run again. Either way, Miloscia would have to vacate his seat to run. If that happens, the dominoes would be fun to watch as Tony Moore, Carol Gregory, Jim Ferrell along with a cast of thousands could be interested. While 2011 may lack the drama of 2010, it will still be entertaining.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.