State Sen. Ed Murray — the Seattle Democrat who was set to lead the Senate before two members of his party defected to form a new majority caucus with Republicans — said Tuesday he would rather be in the minority than participate in the coalition’s “power-sharing” proposal.
“I don’t believe that the Democrats will be in the majority,” he said. “I don’t believe that at all. But I do think that we can find a more functional way for the Senate to operate than this.”
Speaking in an interview with members of The Seattle Times Editorial Board, Murray cautioned he was not speaking for anybody but himself. Senate Democrats plan to meet sometime in the next week to form a response to the proposal from the new coalition, which includes 23 Republican senators and Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch.
The proposal would install Tom as majority leader and Sheldon as president pro tempore while giving each party equal committee chairmanships. The most powerful committees, however, would be reserved for the Republicans.
Murray said he hopes to negotiate “a more bipartisan way of moving forward.”
But if the choice is between accepting the proposal as announced or being the minority party with no committee leadership positions, Murray said he would choose the latter.
“I think it would be healthier for the institution if 24 of us are a strong minority influencing the process as a minority,” he said. “I think it would make for a better product in the end.”