February 14, 2005
Sheriff Bart to take on Reardon for Snohomish County Executive

While the vast majority of the 2006 political races have yet to take shape, a major 2007 race is already beginning to heat up. Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart, a Republican, announced his candidacy for Snohomish County Executive last week, running against Democrat Aaron Reardon.

Bart and Reardon have been feuding for quite a while, since Reardon threatened to cut 2% from Bart’s budget. Bart garnered the support of the Republican-controlled county council, which prevented the cuts, but tensions have certainly not cooled between the two men. Saturday at the Snohomish County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner, Bart said that he decided to run against Reardon after coming home complaining about him once too often, and his wife told him to stop complaining and do something about it.

He's got a very good shot at doing it, too--possibly the best a Republican has ever had. Bart is very popular in the county, and has a great deal of support across party lines. Dave Reichert just showed everyone that popular, effective sheriffs can parlay their experience into significant electoral support, and I certainly hope Bart has a chance to get advice from Reichert soon.

The challenge for Bart will be to make sure that his candidacy is not percieved as revolving around a single issue, or as being a "grudge match" against Reardon. If he his candidacy focuses on more than just last year's attempted budget cuts, Bart has a great chance to unseat someone the Republicans would dearly love to see unseated.

Reardon has criticized Bart for declaring his candidacy so early, saying "I think Rick owes it to the citizens to focus on the job he has and not politicize public safety." Unfortunately for that line of reasoning, Reardon filed for reelection back in October, scarcely ten months after taking office, and has already taken contributions.

Bart was first elected back in 1995, the first Republican sheriff in the county since the 1940’s. He would be the first Republican county executive in the county’s history. This Seattle Times feature gives a nice overview of the man who once described Reardon to a reporter as an “arrogant son of a bitch”:

Outspoken and gregarious, Bart bad-mouths his political opponents publicly and torments his peers with practical jokes.

You're as likely to see him in his sheriff's uniform as in his other "uniform": a Hawaiian shirt and khakis, with a .45-caliber handgun tucked into his waistband. When he sees his friends, he's as likely to wave hello as to grin and flip them "the bird."

It will be a sharp contrast to Aaron Reardon, the Democratic golden boy who at 32 was the youngest Snohomish County executive ever elected. Reardon was given lots of help on his way to his narrow victory over Dave Earling in 2003. Earlier that year his wife, Kate Reardon, was appointed public relations director for the city of Everett, while Reardon himself was the director of the office of neighborhoods the same time as serving as a state Senator and running for county executive.

Reardon’s very ambitious and has been very successful so far—Saturday, Bart recounted hearing Reardon boast that he had “never lost an election.” Bart said he aims to change that, and knocking Reardon’s rising star off course would help Republicans immensely. If Reardon continues his political success, he'll end up running for governor or the senate, and it would be nice to put a dent in those plans early.

The two men do have something in common—their pants. While Bart's "other uniform" is khakis and a Hawaiian shirt, Reardon reportedly “wears khakis even on the weekends, in case he bumps into a constituent who wouldn't be impressed by sweatpants.” Same pants, two very different people.

Cross posted at The Flag of the World.

Posted by Timothy Goddard at February 14, 2005 01:29 PM | Email This
1. I never realized that you had Sheriff Bart in the same county with Sideshow Bob. What offices do Homer and Krusty hold?

Posted by: north clark county on February 14, 2005 01:35 PM
2. ha ha, I bet Reardon is going to think at some point in his life that it sure won't have been worth it for a stab at 2% of Sheriff Bart's budget just to try to show him who's boss!

Go Sheriff Bart!

Posted by: Cryptometaphor on February 14, 2005 02:09 PM
3. $20 says Reardon wont run. Sheriff has too much support and is way too popular for Reardon to win. He will take a different rung on his political aspiration ladder in '06/'07

Just goes to show that Reardon is an empty suit

Posted by: Joe on February 14, 2005 02:46 PM
4. I hope Reardon runs, so I can vote against him. Didn't get a chance to last time; we were legally TX residents at the time and, unlike others, I only vote in one state at a time.

He has already stated his candidacy...of course, he has the right to change his mind, and he probably should, because he ain't very popular to say the least.

Posted by: SnoCo Voter on February 14, 2005 02:52 PM
5. I voted for Reardon the last election and was hoping he could use the executive office as a stepping stone for US Senator (ala Scoop Jackson, my hero). Heavens knows, we have the two lousiest Senators in the history of the State and a Reardon would bring some spunk into our delegation.

With that said, Reardon has had "foot in mouth" disease since he took over. From the County going broke to NASCAR to the airport situation, what has the young man done?

I was hoping he would get some 'seasoning', but he isn't. And isn't Bart getting 'term limited' like a couple of the other politicians? Sievers went from Treasurer to Council and his time is over.

Posted by: swatter on February 14, 2005 04:21 PM
6. Yes, Bart's done with being sheriff after this year because of term limits, not just because he's set his sights on higher office. I forgot to mention that. It provides him with the perfect opportunity to really put his back into this, though.

Posted by: Timothy on February 14, 2005 04:33 PM
7. The last county sheriff went to the City of Everett and is getting ready to retire. I wonder, like in hmmm, whether Mayor Ray will offer the police chief job to Bart. Mayor Ray and Exec Aaron were back and forth between themselves as to whom would run for mayor and county exec. After all, Aaron's wife has a high 5 digit salary courtesy of Mayor Ray. ...hmmmm.

Posted by: swatter on February 14, 2005 04:51 PM
8. I would not vote for any so called Republican that actively supported Democrats in races that had better qualified Republicans like Bart has done in more than one legislative race in the last few years.

Posted by: Souppete on February 14, 2005 05:21 PM
9. Go get em Bart. My father was a mild mannered but exceedingly stubborn Police Chief and elected constable in Michigan. Like Bart he wore kakhis, kept a solid opinion, never arrested anyone unless they needed it, and hated the town council's pandering to special interests and their own businesses. He successfully ran for council on his retirement and served one term in which wide spread reform was enacted. COncerted effort was made by his opponent with money, advertising, and a smear campaign to unfortunately get my father out of office. Immediately a destruction of what he had worked for went into effect. Until this happened I rarely took part in politics. Now I'm very political. Rock on Bart.

Posted by: Mark Beyer on February 14, 2005 05:27 PM
10. I'm not a big fan of Bart's, afterall he has been somewhat of a turncoat in the past. He is a bit coarse for the Exec position, and needs a VERY STRINGENT "vetting" before he is endorsed by the WSRP.

Other than that, the farm team is developing very nicely. However, more support is needed if we are to ever take this state back. We got lucky in this last election with McKenna and Rossi, but that luck doesn't have to last.

Remember, this state is a liberal as they come- probably only second to California and Kerryland, MA.

If we want to continue to WIN, or at least progress towards our goal of TOTAL DOMINATION, then we had better get down to the particulars of running the FARM TEAM!

Posted by: CR ACTIVIST on February 14, 2005 10:26 PM
11. Bart isn't my favorite person, but he is the only person that has a realistic chance at beating Reardon, so this is a good deal.

Let me tell you Republicans who don't like Bart and said you wouldn't vote for him, let me tell you right now: If Bart doesn't unseat Reardon, Reardon WILL BE GOVERNOR. Reardon could already be in congress, but he elected to wait and run for County Executive because he wants to be governor. It's just a matter of time. Bart is the only one who can stop him.

Keep that in mind.

Posted by: Cliff on February 15, 2005 01:10 AM
12. It does my heart good to read that there truly are people that know Reardon..I would far rather have someone who could use a little taming but I know will say it like it is than a namby pamby spoiled little boy that has been a protege of Ron Sims from day one. Believe me, he has much bigger sights than the governship.

Posted by: reardonfannot on February 18, 2005 06:02 PM
13. I wouldn't elect the sheriff to be dog catcher, let alone higher office. I have had tens of thousands worth of property stolen in unincorporated Snohomish County, have seen depositions taken by a deputy stating who was seen selling these stolen goods, with no further action taken NINE months later.

Since the head of the department with this shameful history is the sheriff, I hold him responsible.

Vote for the sheriff, if you want to promote an incompetent to yet higher office, so he can screw that up too. I don't care what party he belongs to, he is not fit to hold any office.

Posted by: T. Dunn on May 22, 2005 09:56 PM
14. Before you vote, check out Rick Bart's record in animal cruelty cases. Check out the Pasado's Safe Haven website for case specifics. I don't even live in Snohomish county, but what I read infuriated me.

Posted by: tqwood on September 8, 2005 12:37 PM
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