When longtime political operative Nancy Biery dropped out of the race for state Democratic Party chair last week, she issued a terse statement blaming unnamed “status quo” forces inside the party.
In an interview this week, Biery elaborated, blasting supporters of rival Dana Laurent, the former political director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, who has amassed the support of a small army of influential Democratic donors and political consultants.
Biery claims she was elbowed out of the race. A former chair of the Jefferson County Democrats who worked as an aide to Gov. Gary Locke and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, Biery argued she was the most qualified.
But political consultants and donors wanted “somebody they could control,” Biery said. “It became clear the powers that be did not want me to be party chair.”
The final straw seems to be when Joby Shimomura, chief of staff to Gov. Jay Inslee, threw her name behind Laurent — a move Biery and others viewed as signaling the governor’s own preference.
While not naming names, Biery said she got the message from the Seattle-centric Democratic consultant “machine” that “I was not wanted and my life would be rather miserable if I won and tried to do the job.”
Current state Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz dismissed Biery’s conspiracy talk as “sour grapes.” While he’s not endorsing a successor, Pelz predicted the front-runners will be Laurent and Jaxon Ravens, the state party’s current executive director.