It seems to me that almost from the moment Paul Berendt announced his retirement, the race to replace him as state Democratic chair has pretty much split the party in two, between those who support Dwight Pelz and… um… those who don’t support Dwight Pelz.
And so it comes as no surprise that as the party heads into this Saturday’s vote, it’s pretty much shaping up to be a two-person contest. First Greg Rodriguez, and then Phil Talmadge dropped out of the race. And tonight Snohomish County chair Mark Hintz tells me that he has withdrawn his name, and asked his supporters to “vote their conscience.” Good thing we’re not Republicans, as such an instruction might result in a lot of blank ballots.
I know that technically there’s still a couple of other candidates, but with Hintz’s withdrawal, realistically, this has now come down to a race between front-runner Pelz and Laura Ruderman. I keep hearing that Ruderman is coming on strong, particularly in Eastern Washington… but probably not strong enough. And Pelz just got a huge boost this evening when he captured the endorsement of the sixty-thousand strong SEIU Washington State Council.
I know a lot of people have gotten awfully worked up over the race for party chair, but me, not so much. Perhaps I’m naive or ignorant, but while their strengths may lie in different areas, both Pelz and Ruderman seem qualified. So at the risk of incurring Ivan’s wrath again, I just want to repeat that all I ask from the new chair is an open mind and an open door.