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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 11, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Wednesday briefing: the Pflug/Rossi/Wilbur matter; Sims not backing Nickels; Publicola back

Good morning.

Retiring state Sen. Cheryl Pflug R-Maple Valley
Credit: Associated Press

Former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug  is unhappy — really unhappy –– that former Republican  gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi was named interim fill-in for her old Senate seat, serving until the next election is certified. Keep in mind that wouldn’t include a legislative session or vote, as far as anybody can tell. He would, however, engage in constituent services.

Pflug, a Republican, issued a strongly worded press release, in which she said she had “grave concerns” about Rossi’s appointment.

“The Senate appointment should be about constituent service, not about using a state office for campaign purposes. I’m a Republican. I believe Rob McKenna will be a great governor because he’s honest, and he’s a brilliant unifier.”

Some background:  Pflug had a break with the Republican Party, starting with her vote in favor of gay marriage last winter. She then aggravated the state party chairman, Kirby Wilbur, by not telling party leaders about her plan to leave the Senate until after the Friday filing deadline in May. She bolted from the race the following Monday, when it was too late to fill with a better-known Republican than the person who did file, Brad Toft.

Pflug is taking a job with the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board. That would have —  could have — been the end of it, but Pflug is also endorsing the Democrat in the race,  Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet.

What does that have to do with Rossi? Pflug says Rossi is helping Toft. She wanted another Republican from the 5th legislative district, former King County Councilmember David Irons,  to fill the seat. Rossi was sworn in Tuesday afternoon.

Wilbur was not kind in response: “Nobody considers her a Republican anymore after what she did to the party,” he said, referring to not telling anyone about her job plans until after filing closed.

Wilbur said, “Cheryl should keep her irrelevant thoughts to herself –- no one cares.”

Not all is copasetic in Democratic circles, either. Former King County Executive Ron Sims and former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels were tight when they both pushed for Sound Transit light rail. But Sims is backing another Democrat, Kathleen Drew, in the Secretary of State’s race.

What’s that about?

Former King County Executive Ron Sims
Credit: Seattle Times

“Kathleen asked me a long time ago (to support her), well before Greg announced,” Sims said. “She asked me when Greg wasn’t even thinking about it; I kept my word.”

Sims also said he thought Drew would be electable statewide, and he supported some of her positions for managing the elections office.

Those scrappy, biting political writers at Publicola are back. After bouncing around the online journalism universe — from to to the new home Publicola@SeattleMet — Josh Feit and Erica Barnett have returned.  Here is the link.

The Secretary of State’s office is not printing a voter’s guide for the August primary, although many counties are. The Secretary of State’s office is offering an online video voter’s guide. Take a look.

If you have a moment, like us on Facebook. Seattle Times Politics: Election 2012


Comments | More in homepage, Politics Northwest | Topics: Dino Rossi, greg nickels, legislature


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