April 15, 2014
As Democrats push gender equality, will they push McBride out of 48th Senate seat?
Washington Legislature News
by Adam Faber, 01:14 PM

State Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom's announcement yesterday that he was dropping his re-election bid due to family and health-related issues shocked the small coterie who intensely follow Olympia politics. Attention immediately turned to the political ramifications of Tom's decision.

For a Majority Coalition Caucus that is trying to maintain and expand on its 26-23 edge, Tom's dropout means races in the 28th, 30th, and 45th Districts are even more important. Democrats were despondent after Sen. Tracey Eide in the 30th opted not to run again, greatly reducing their hopes of taking back the chamber, but Tom's announcement gave them a boost in what is not presumed to be a strong year for them.

Tom had a previously-announced challenger, former Kirkland city councilmember Joan McBride. She has been campaigning for months and had raised more money than any challenger in the state before Tom's bombshell. Not surprisingly, though, the district's representatives, Ross Hunter and Cyrus Habib, are said to be considering which one of them should run for the Senate instead, with the presumption that McBride will be asked to downgrade to a House seat. According to Crosscut:

Habib speculated that Democratic leaders will likely huddle to figure out which of the three candidates should run for which of the three seats -- mulling over campaign cost estimates and who would be the best candidate going against a yet-to-be-determined Republican opponent. "The goal for all of us is to sit down and figure out how to regain the state Senate," Habib said.

The Seattle Times also talked to Habib (Hunter was apparently smart enough not to return reporters' calls yesterday):

Habib said a more high-profile candidate could help the party win the seat while saving resources for other priority races. He said he's "going to have a number of conversations today and tomorrow" with party leaders.

Some might consider it tone deaf for Democrats to steer McBride away to a lower-profile race when the prize of a Senate seat suddenly became easier for one of the district's male representatives to attain. In a year in which Democrats have been trying pretty hard to make gender equality their 2014 election theme, it may seem like 48th Democrats are sending the wrong message. They encouraged McBride when she was doing the difficult work of challenging Tom -- will they now ask her to get out of the way for Hunter or Habib?

**4-17 Update**
Rep. Ross Hunter, the dean of the 48th District delegation, announced he will not run for the Senate and instead run for re-election to the House. Rep. Cyrus Habib has told others he wants to run for the Senate seat. Publicola notes that not everyone is pleased with that idea:

Some party officials, however, have asked the King County Democrats to hold off on giving McBride their early endorsement at this coming Tuesday meeting, to make room for Habib...Habib's apparent machinations are reportedly annoying other Democrats, who don't like the idea of undermining McBride's run, particularly given that McBride stepped up to take on Tom at a time when no other Democrat would. (After Tom's announcement, Habib told PubliCola McBride was "courageous" for taking on Tom.)


Habib runs the risk of angering female voters, female party members, who may see a boys-club aspect to Habib's potential move.

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April 11, 2014
"I expect to be able to respond to your request by April 22, 2014"
King County News
by Adam Faber, 08:31 AM

Wednesday's post noted that King County Councilmember Larry Phillips' office fulfilled a public records request from pro-Proposition 1 campaign manager April Putney with record speed. The request was most likely pre-arranged, with Putney filing the request to make it "official" so Phillips could hand over information she knew was already compiled.

While Phillips' staff fulfilled Putney's request in just a day, the request asked for any lists of identified transit advocates from other council offices as well, which went through the normal process. The timeline for that request is interesting, though, in that council staffers were given a significantly shorter amount of time to comply than in, for instance, my current public records request.

That's notable because Putney's request included all nine council offices, while mine requested only communications between Phillips' office and Putney. Staffers were told to respond to Putney's request with any relevant records to the clerk's office in 13 days. Assuming the usual four day buffer seen in other county records requests, that would be a 17-day turnaround to Putney's request.

Contrast that with my request that was limited to Phillips' office. The county told me they could fulfill that request (and it's not a guaranteed date) in 36 days...which happens to be April 22, Proposition 1's election date. Which I'm sure is purely coincidental.

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