The Seattle Times is unhappy with the choice King County Council District 6 voters have between gadfly Richard Pope and barfly Jane!™ Hague. And typically, they blame the Dems:
State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz or King County Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Sheary failed voters in a significant way.
Even before the June 2 driving incident, both knew that although Hague was a leader on the county budget, she was not the most compelling councilmember. They knew, too, that her campaign office had difficulties with contributions and that her district is turning more Democratic every day. Where were these two when there was a chance to mount a strong challenge against her?
Truth is, I haven’t been shy about criticizing my party for failing to be in a position to take advantage of this opportunity, and have openly ridiculed the hopeless primary write-in campaign. But in all fairness, the blame deserves to be spread more broadly, and shared not just by the party leadership but also by the unimaginative field of potential challengers who refused to take a fly at the unimpressive if well-funded Hague.
The most heavily recruited challenger was state Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48), who might have decided to run had he received a little encouragement from key Dems on the council who rightly perceived him as a threat to their ambitions for the executive’s office. Not that it would have mattered, as his relapse of lymphoma would have pulled Hunter out of the race well before the filing deadline. I also know that an effort was made to recruit Darcy Burner, who surely would have kicked Hague’s drunken ass, with or without the public scandal… that is, if Burner wasn’t already running for Congress, and, um, you know, if she actually lived in the district.
Those are the only names I know for sure, but I can think of at least three or four state legislators who stood a decent shot at winning, while risking little damage to their careers in a loss. It would have been nice to see somebody like, say… Rodney Tom take one for the team. But not a single Dem stepped up to the plate.
That said, there is a choice in this election, and I hope both the Times and my fellow Dems eventually focus back on this race with a fresh perspective. Richard Pope may be more than a little odd, but he’s smart, well-informed, and he doesn’t drink let alone drive drunk. If you actually sit down and talk with Pope about the kind of issues that routinely come before the council, he does generally come across as both reasonable and a Democrat, and his personal experience fighting for an education for his autistic daughter should make him a powerful advocate for adequate state funding of our schools.
I don’t expect the Democratic Party to embrace or support Pope, but I do strongly encourage my fellow Dems not to work against him. I’ve heard some talk of launching a write-in campaign in the general, to which I say “show me the money,” for unless Dems come up with a few hundred thousand dollars and a compelling candidate, any such effort would be counterproductive. Instead, I suggest the party and its surrogates focus all their efforts on attacking Hague, and educating voters on her blatant disrespect of both the law and our law enforcement officers.
And if we somehow stumble into Bizarro World and Pope actually wins an election, what’s the downside for Democrats? Nobody is going to blame the Dems if Pope’s antics cause embarrassment, and what would the Dems rather face in 2011, a general election battle with Jane Hague (or more likely, her incumbent, appointed replacement,) or a primary battle against Richard Pope? I’d choose the latter.
Of course, there is the Doomsday scenario: Pope not only wins, he turns out to be no worse than your average councilmember. Now that would be an embarrassment to both parties, and to the many journalists, editorialists and bloggers who have had so much fun poking fun at Pope over the years.
Marvin Stamn spews:
Ouch, doomsday if the guy does an average job because you’ve been poking fun at him. The politics of personal destruction.
I don’t care what anyone thinks. I want Pope to win.
John Barelli spews:
Since you’re new around here, you don’t recognize the good natured ribbing that Goldy is giving Mr. Pope.
My understanding is that Goldy has already come out in support of Mr. Pope, opposing the write-in campaign that the KC Democratic leadership insisted on.
Mr. Pope is, on national issues, somewhat to the right of most folks here. (If that has changed, Richard, you have my apologies).
Goldy has made the point that on the issues that come before the County Council, we have reason to believe that he’s with us all the way.
So, other than the fact that support around here might just be that bit of extra “push” needed to get Mr. Pope elected, what is your problem?
And considering how often you’ve criticized folks around here for simply parroting the party line, I would think that you’d be happy to see some of us criticizing our own party for doing what we see as something stupid.
We don’t know how Mr. Pope will do in elected office, but at least some of us are willing to give him a chance to show us, especially as he could hardly be worse than the alternative.
That is the point Goldy was making. The worst conceivable scenerio is that he does no better than the person he’s replacing.
I think he’ll surprise a lot of folks and do much better. and I also think that the KC Democratic Leadership will continue to oppose him.
Could it be that they’re afraid that he’ll hold them to the same standards of accountability that he tried to hold the KC Republicans to? I certainly hope he does.
So here’s the little secret about the KCC. It’s a club, and the members may squabble but but ultimately go along to get along. Look at how many contribute across party lines to each other’s campaigns. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a fact.
The members of the club, which includes Jane H., are afraid Richard won’t play along. the quote I’ve heard from an insider is that they are afraid he would be “another Derdowski”
I don’t get it – this district went 58-42 or so for Kerry, Rossi only barely won it 51-49. Why didn’t the Dems make a competitive play at it? And why aren’t they at least trying to with Pope? Come on Pelz and Sheary, get your act together!
Pope would not be that bad of a thing on the council. He’d vote with the Republicans most of the time which would have no effect on anything important and vote with the Dems enough to really tick off the wingnuts.
Besides the entertainment value would be enormous!
Another Derdowski? So what. In my view, he’d be a Derdowski without any teeth.
Blah @ 5:
You’re full of shit, there’s no other way to express it. Dwight and Suzie can’t force anybody to run if nobody wants to run. Blame the gutless Dems in the 6th District who simply would not run.
Dwight and Suzie did their best. They called every Dem who even *might* be a viable candidate, time and time again, and they spent months trying to find an opponent for Hague, just as they did trying to find opponents for Reagan Dunn and Peter von Reichbauer.
And Goldy, you’re full of shit, too. You took your shot at Suzie when you thought you were being cool. Now that the Times, uninformed as usual, is piling on, all of a sudden you’re defending her? Like we didn’t notice?
She is the best County Democratic chair we have had in years. No race, even for sewer and water commissioners, escapes her eye. Look at the gains we have made in the 48th, 45th, 47th, and 31st Districts since she became County chair and tell me she is falling down on the job.
Snipe from the peanut gallery all you want. You’re just putting your ignorance on display for the world to see.
Geeze, Goldy, we’re all more than a little odd here, it’s a prerequisite for succesfully surviving this blog. Richard, at worst, would provide badly needed comic relief, but I suspect he’ll win and do fine.
We screech (justifiably) about the horrors of the Republican establishment, then reflexively recoil when one jumps ship and swims toward sanity.
While the term “Democratic Pope” is, in the large sense, an oxymoron, in the local context I find it quite refreshing
No matter how many times you say it, it just isn’t true. I never took a swipe at Suzie. I took a swipe at “the Dems.” We failed to recruit a candidate, and now we are paying the price in missing a golden opportunity.
You inferring and me implying are not the same thing.
“Come on Pelz and Sheary, get your act together!” was directed at them supporting Richard. I’m quite aware they cannot force someone to run and I’m sure they made a valiant effort.
Blah @ 10:
They supported Richard? Are you insane? Or just a liar? Or both?
They supported the write-in candidate Brad Larssen, and at no time, ever, did they support Richard Poop.
No ivan, I’m encouraging them to support Richard now, in the general election.
Dave Gibney spews:
@12 I’m sorry, on multiple levels. I think if I lived there, I’d vote for Richard. I rarely, if ever leave a contested race blank.
But, Richard’s history is not yet repentant (I’m sure there is a better word than this) enough to expect serious support from the offical party organizations.
Assuming he wins against seriously long odds, and serves well, he should get good support for re-election.
I have never wanted a Republican…..errr…Democrat to win more than I want Richard Pope to win in November. A council member who would owe nobody nothing, and knows how to twist tails. It would be awesome to watch the council try to punish that districts voters for straying from the club.
Personally, I don’t particularly want him to win because it’s Richard and it’d be stiking it to the man or anything like that (all though that’s a nice little bonus). I just think the demographics make it a competitive seat – especially now with Hague and her drinky drinky.
But on the subject of Pope himself, I’ve never seen anything to indicated that he’s not a qualified person. He just runs for office a lot and occasionally switches party. That doesn’t really affect my opinion of whether he’d make a better council member than Hague (which I think he would).
Broadway Joe spews:
I LIKE the idea of ‘sticking it to The Man’ when such an entity has clearly blown such a golden opportunity to advance.
Go get ’em Popemeister!
FricknFrack, Seattle spews:
# 14 busdrivermike
“A council member who would owe nobody nothing, and knows how to twist tails.”
Agreed with your thought busdrivermike! It would be refreshing to see Mr. Pope as King County Council Member, working for us taxpayers. I think Pope has an honest to goodness CLUE of what all the regular common folks, needing to manage or scrape by to exist, are having to face daily. I would love to see Richard Pope win this, too, rather than merely handing the seat over to the DUI/Excuses Lady – handed over due to some ‘snit fit’ because the Dems were either asleep at the wheel or their mechanisms were foiled.
I still say, if they had voted him into the Port Commissioner job against Pat Davis last time, Pope would have helped clean up the Port (instead of attempting to hand Dinsmore the Golden Parachute letter)! Our loss that voters flunked out in that election – so get Mr. Pope working to keep King County’s tail twisted!
Luigi Giovanni spews:
David, you sound like an “internet fulminator.” It’s time come to come out with an unequivocal endorsement for Richard Pope, one with a splashy, unequivocal headline.
Also, do I need to remind you again of your commitment of 08/22/07?
Roger Rabbit spews:
Instead of blaming Democrats for not running a candidate against a drunken mediocrity, the Seattle Times should blame Hague for being a drunken mediocrity.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Now isn’t this just like the Seattle Times: A Republican councilmember is a drunken mediocrity, so their editorial writers blame the Democrats.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Well, Goldy, you know there IS a precedent for the Democrats waging a successful write-in campaign.
“In 1998, Looper sought the Republican nominations for the 6th Congressional District of Tennessee and the Tennessee State Senate in the same primary. … He won the state senate nomination by default … as he was the only Republican candidate on the ballot. This set up his campaign against … Democratic state senator Tommy Burks. …
“On the morning of October 19, … Burks’ body was found with his head resting on the steering wheel of his pickup truck. … Looper was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. …
“An obscure Tennessee state law required that a candidate’s name be removed from the ballot and not replaced if he died within 30 days of the election. Even the Putnam County Election Commission did not know it existed before the Burks murder. Looper’s name therefore was the only one listed on the ballot, and for a few days it looked like he would win by default. This may have been Looper’s intention. …
“To counter Looper’s potential election on a technicality, Burks’ widow, Charlotte, ran a write-in campaign for the seat. Dozens of volunteers helped her campaign …. On election day, Charlotte Burks, as a write-in candidate, won the seat with 30,252 votes compared to Looper’s 1,531 votes …. Charlotte Burks remains a popular member of the State Senate.”
Roger Rabbit spews:
@1 You oughta go easy on Pope, Stamn. He was a Republican until 5 minutes before the filing deadline. He has run as a Republican in 14 elections, and lost all 14 times. As a Republican, he has lost to almost everyone who is anyone in this state, as well as some nobodies. In fact, he’s probably the losingest Republican of all time in this state. You can’t blame him for wanting to try a different brand name in Campaign #15.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@6 Anyway, what could Pope screw up as a King County Council member? I mean, 75% of the budget goes cops, courts, and jails. The other 25% isn’t too hard to figure out. What damage could he do?
Roger Rabbit spews:
@8 “Geeze, Goldy, we’re all more than a little odd here, it’s a prerequisite for succesfully surviving this blog.”
Not me — I’m perfectly normal, as talking rabbits go.
Marvin Stamn spews:
#22 Roger Rabbit says:
Thanks for filling me in on the details. He’s not good enough to win as a publican but he might as a democrat. Now I see why Goldy views it as doomsday.
It’s only since I came here that I started conversing with lagomorphs. Now I hear rabbit echoes in my head at night.
Are you visible to humans, Rog?
Winston Smith spews:
Why is the Times blaming the shortcomings of Republican Jane Hague on the Democratic Party?
Oh, those terrible Democrats, forcing Republican Jane Hague on us voters.
Mrs. Rabbit spews:
I say give Richard Pope a chance.
Piper Scott spews:
Not that I’m a Jane Hague fan, but I am gleeful that you Dems now have peripatetic Pope all to your very own! You deserve each other!
Linde Knighton spews:
This just illustrates the wider problem. There are too few candidates. The state elections boasted(?) 36 unopposed candidates, with 2 districts running all legislative races unopposed. To change it, a group calling itself More Voter Choice is pushing legislation to make it a bit easier for indpendent and 3rd party candidates to get on the final ballot. It would cut out the fake Nominating Convention, and give them more than one day to gather their signatures.