Last night at the 46th Legislative District Democrats monthly meeting, elections activist Jason Osgood announced his intention to run for King County Elections Director… which really didn’t come as much of a surprise considering Jason told me as much Tuesday night at Drinking Liberally.
I like Jason, and I appreciate his activism (if at times I think his focus is misplaced), so I sure hope he hasn’t conflated the 1.2 million votes he received in his recent run for Secretary of State into some sort of base of support. Sure, Jason ended up pulling in about 41.5% of the vote while barely spending a dime—but that’s still only a few percent of voters greater than those who would pretty much vote for anybody with a “D” next to their name, and not much better than then-Republican Richard Pope, who in the 2000 Attorney General’s race garnered more than 38% of the vote against popular Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire. Indeed, Richard actually won 14 of 39 counties, while Jason barely eked out a victory in just tiny San Juan.
Still, if this were a normal election, I’d urge Jason to pursue his bliss, as he’ll certainly add some important issues to the debate. Unfortunately, it’s not a normal election, and as I told him privately Tuesday night, I hope he’s prepared to bow out if support coalesces around a qualified candidate.
See, the Elections Director will be chosen in a February special election, with no primary, top-two or otherwise, to thin out the field. And while the office is officially nonpartisan, we all know that true nonpartisanship is a fiction that lives only in the minds of editorialists and idiots.
From all accounts, Republican wingnut State Senator Pam Roach intends to throw her hat in the ring as the culmination of her decades long quest to earn a six figure salary from the government she loves to cut. And given a crowded field of Democrats on the other side, she very well could win.
This would be a disaster.
A number of other names are being bandied about, but if we want this to be a fair fight they’re going to have to agree to agree to winnow themselves down to one. The name that intrigues me most thus far is Port Commissioner Lloyd Hara, an uninspiring politician, but an auditor by trade, who would arguably bring the appropriate skill set and temperament to the office. Despite his best efforts to show up at the right events, Hara doesn’t strike me as particularly progressive or Democratic; in fact, from a partisan perspective, he doesn’t strike me as much of anything. And isn’t that, combined with competence, exactly what we need from an Elections Director to restore and maintain confidence?
So Jason, good for you for acting on your activism, but if you really care about elections integrity, I’m hoping you’ll step aside if the alternative means handing the election to Roach.