Maverick Republican Rep. Tom Campbell bolted the state House GOP caucus on Tuesday after clashing with his new caucus leadership.
Campbell, a senior lawmaker serving his fifth term from the 2nd District in Pierce County, said he isn’t switching parties, but will be his own caucus of one.
Campbell said he has grown increasingly unhappy with his caucus’ “cozy relationship” with the insurance and pharmacy industries and was infuriated when he was dumped from the House Health Care Committee.
“My life is health care. I don’t want to be president or governor or anything else. I want to work on health care legislation and really make a difference for people.”
The most senior member on the Health Care Committee from either party, Campbell has been added back on to the committee by House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle), something Chopp couldn’t do while Campbell was part of the GOP caucus.
Why did the GOP leadership knock Campbell off the committee he was most passionate about? Campbell says he supported Richard Debolt (R-Chehalis) for minority leader, who narrowly lost to Bruce Chandler (R-Granger). The snub was apparent payback for this, and Campbell’s history of sometimes siding with Democrats on tax and budget issues.
The ever informative blog OlyScoop explores an interesting twist to this story. It points out that the House GOP had previously told reporters that Chandler’s election as minority leader was unanimous, but now it is revealed to have been closely contested.
OlyScoop euphemistically calls this “coloring the facts.” I just pulled out my dictionary, and it appears to be a lie.