I’m not really sure why I still bother to read him, considering nobody else of influence seems to bother to read him much these days, but I couldn’t help but be amused by our friend Stefan’s conspiracy theories about “Blagojevich-style quids pro quo in the elections director race.” Stefan obsesses on efforts by state and county Dems to consolidate support around a single candidate, ultimately current elections director Sherril Huff, and not surprisingly determines the process was criminally corrupt:
The “read between the lines” understanding among people who are familiar with the discussions is that Osgood and Hansen were promised jobs to get out of the race and Baker was promised help with a bid for Seattle City Council.
Oh no… unnamed sources “familiar with the discussion” (but not actually present), “read between the lines” to conclude that Osgood and Hansen were promised pay to not play! Quick, call the FBI!
Still, I have sources too, first hand at that, and I’m even willing to name some of them. KC Dem Chair Suzie Sheary, one of the participants at the meeting in question, simply laughed off Stefan’s speculation as “a hoot,” while Jason Osgood, who Stefan essentially accuses of taking a bribe, sarcastically sighed “And here I am thinking people are starting to take me at my word…”
“No machinations. I woke up, read that Huff was running, called her to confirm, congratulated her, told her she was the right person for the job, and bowed out. I heard about the Tuesday meeting after the fact. I haven’t spoken to anyone who participated.”
Say what you want about Jason, but he’s nothing if not a true a believer. With his accumulated name ID coming off his recent run for Secretary of State, and his unquestioned devotion to election reform, he would not have dropped out of the race if he wasn’t convinced that Huff was both qualified and, in a better position to win.
Jason’s take on the process? “Play to win and know when you’re beat.”
Of course for Stefan, Jason and Suzie’s denials only prove his suspicions:
Naturally, folks who were at the meeting claimed that “They weren’t pressured into bowing out and weren’t offered anything for doing so”. What would one expect them to say even (especially) if there were pressure and inducements to bow out? But why would these folks go to a meeting to discuss this at Democratic Party HQ in the first place?
Yup, that’s the sort of journalistic rigor and “when did you stop beating your wife” kinda logic we’ve come to expect from WA’s preeminent righty blogger, relying on speculation from unnamed secondhand sources to charge conspiracy, while tautologically proffering the alleged participants’ firsthand denials as incriminating evidence. But, then, you know… anything related to King County Elections brings out the very worst in Stefan, so I guess we should cut him some slack.
So what really happened at last Tuesday’s meeting? Dwight and Suzie kicked the GOP’s ass, that’s what, consolidating support around a single, viable candidate, while the Republican faithful will largely split between armed and dangerous Pam Roach and David Irons and his dangerous hands.
Political horsetrading is neither illegal nor unethical; candidates are pressured all the time to bow out of races with promises of future support and/or threats of political retaliation. And if that’s what was necessary to clear the field for Huff, then the Democratic leadership deserves kudos for their efforts to bring a semblance of sanity to this stupid and irresponsible no-primary, low-turnout special election.
So to raise the specter of Blagojevich-style corruption under these circumstances, based on secondhand conjecture, is not only silly, it ultimately serves to minimize real corruption, like that of the real Blagojevich. Someday, Stefan might dig up an actual scandal, but given his boy-cries-wolf track record, how would we know?