Why 2016 will be a great political year | Inside Politics

This is what political columnists live for, as 2016 could be one of the most exciting political years in history.

This is what political columnists live for, as 2016 could be one of the most exciting political years in history.

Heading the list of reasons why is the race for president, with candidates more than happy to say dumb things for the media. We could have our first woman president, or our first Latino, or our first doctor whose own staff says he isn’t qualified, or our third Bush, or a businessman who likes to put his name on things.

Or it could be a disaster of global proportions it’s all up to us! Although, I am curious how “Trump Manor” in 20-foot-high letters would look on the front of the White House?

Control of Congress, our state Legislature and all statewide offices are up for grabs.

Not many people know Republican candidate for governor, Bill Bryant, but that is also a plus, as he can define himself for the voters. The numbers favor Jay Inslee’s re-election, as he has done a good job of protecting his base.

But he can’t afford too many more computer issues, such as what occurred in the Department of Corrections. Sen. Patty Murray seems likely to beat Chris Vance and help Inslee increase the Democratic turnout. But we also could see big upsets. Is this still a blue state or are we closer to purple?

Reps. Linda Kochmar and Teri Hickel will be hard to beat, but watch the House races as the Democrats are shopping two good names. One of those candidates state prosecutor Mike Pellicciotti, of Federal Way announced on Thursday morning that he will challenge Kochmar. We’ll see if the other candidate actually gets into the race.

Current Auditor Troy Kelley will not run for re-election. But it will be an uphill battle for local Sen. Mark Miloscia to replace him as two Democrats will be in the race, state Rep. Derek Stanford from Bothell and Jeff Sprung, an attorney from Seattle. If Miloscia is successful, then the King and Pierce County Councils will pick a Republican to fill out Miloscia’s term in the Senate. Several people want the appointment. Watch to see if a new face might surface.

The blood pressure at City Hall will go up steadily the closer the calendar gets to 2017, the next city election year.

As Mayor Jim Ferrell moves toward 18 months left in his term, he will need to stop the unforced errors in his administration, and that may result in changes at City Hall.

And speaking of blood pressure, pay very close attention to the City Council this year. There will be a lot of maneuvering as incumbent council members decide whether or not to run again in 2017 or consider higher office.

In a 5-2 vote, the council has placed a “minor little item” on the mayor-council retreat agenda about the mayor’s authority. Most of the mayor’s authority is spelled out in state law, but there is some room for interpretation.

Also, since most of the council members are Republicans, pay attention to their moves if either Kochmar or Hickel lose their seats in the Legislature to a Democrat. That would open up options for council Republicans, and they could run against a Democrat in 2018.

Ferrell has not been able to build a loyalist majority among council members that he can count on when he needs them. On the positive side for Ferrell, no one else has either. As expected, Jeanne Burbidge was re-elected on Tuesday as deputy mayor. But getting all council members on the same page is a challenge as there are several different agendas in play at any one time. So far that has worked to Ferrell’s advantage.

With every new personality, council political relationships change. Pay attention to how new Councilman Mark Koppang fits in and who he aligns with. He received both Democratic and Republican support in his election to the council. But he is a former chair of the 30th District Republican party. It will be a challenge to maintain that bi-partisan support.

Ferrell supported Koppang over Julie Hillier for the council, but Koppang returning the favor could get awkward depending on who runs against Ferrell. Ferrell himself has some work to do as some Democrats aren’t convinced that he is a Democrat.

The state and national races will be the most noticeable and the most fun. But the second-tier stage setting for 2017 makes the politics at City Hall ripe for “adjustments and re-alignments.” This is going to be a great political year!

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

 


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