Former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride is stepping aside to allow freshman state Rep. Cyrus Habib to run for the state Senate.
Instead, McBride said Monday morning she’ll run for Habib’s House seat in the Democratic-leaning 48th Legislative District, which includes parts of Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond.
The move, essentially a swap of the two Democrats on the November ballot, caps a week of speculation following the news that Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom would not seek re-election due to health and family reasons. Before Tom’s announcement, McBride was planning to challenge him while Habib was planning to seek re-election.
Habib hinted last week that it might make more sense for him to run for the Senate because his name recognition would help the Democratic Party win the seat while saving money for other races. The Democratic Caucus is fighting to take back the Senate from a majority coalition of 24 Republicans and two Democrats (Tom and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch).
Habib, one of country’s first legally blind state lawmakers, is seen as a rising star.
On Monday, Habib’s campaign said in its own news release that McBride mounted “a strong campaign that placed pressure” on Tom.
“I am excited to work with Joan as a colleague who shares my passion for strong communities, good schools and a transportation system that works,” Habib said.