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Politics Northwest

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

December 11, 2012 at 3:56 PM

If Tom becomes state Senate majority leader, who exactly would he lead?

A day after Republicans announced they plan to make Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, the Senate majority leader, a key question remains: Who would he lead?

The GOP, with the help of Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, said Monday they expect to take control of the Senate.

Republican Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, however, said in an interview Tuesday he’s still the leader of the GOP caucus and they will continue to meet and discuss issues and strategies important to Republicans.

Democratic Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, is still the leader of the Democratic caucus.

So if Schoesler is leading the Republicans and Murray is leading Democrats, who would Tom lead?

No one has a good answer at this point, other than the “majority coalition.”

Tom said Tuesday he expects to move into the corner office, on the Democratic side of the Senate chambers, traditionally held by the Senate majority leader. And that he plans to walk over to the GOP side to caucus with Republicans.

Asked what he plans to do in the GOP caucus, Tom said: “I’d be there to listen. I’m there to keep the coalition moving forward and together.”

Tom said he hopes other Democrats will eventually join his cause, but so far has no takers.

For now, this is less of a “power-sharing coalition” and more like a Senate controlled by Republicans — with the help of two Democrats.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: ed murray, Majority Coalition Caucus, rodney tom


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