Rodriguez withdraws from race for state Dem chair

Last week I wrote that Dwight Pelz had the inside track on being the Democrats’ new state party chair, but now that former state senator/supreme court justice/gubernatorial candidate Phil Talmadge has entered the fray, I hear it could be a horse race. Already the landscape has changed, with former King County Democratic chair Greg Rodriguez withdrawing from the competition.

I like Greg. I don’t feel particularly qualified to pick a party chair, but I’m sorry to see his voice lost from the debate. In a letter to supporters Greg said his decision to withdraw was mostly due to family matters, but he also sounded more than a bit disappointed by the tone of the politicking against him. I’d heard the questions about his fundraising prowess, but nothing more personal than that. But then, appearances to the contrary, I’m not much of a party insider, so who knows what’s been said?

Greg’s letter also contains some suggestions for what he’d like to see from the new chair, and I think they’re worth repeating:

First and foremost we must run our Party in a more business like fashion. We need to provide our Districts and counties with up-to-date and efficient communications, lists and training resources. We must find and hire the most professional people and insist on the utmost levels of ethics and accountability. The thoughts and ideas of the Eboard, Chairs, and caucus leaders should be listened to and acted upon much more than they have been. Decisions should be made collaboratively and not done in back rooms and assumed that everyone will go along with them.

We must improve our voter file and technology presence. It is true we have one of the most advanced systems in the country, but that does not mean we should rest on our laurels. We must utilize the people that have the technological know how and who have offered support to this Party (but have been turned away) to make our system better and more user-friendly. Our website must be translated into Spanish and other languages as well as any printed materials we develop.

We have to pay more attention to our Democrats outside the I-5 corridor. This means in rural and urban places on both sides of the mountains. We will never regain a Democratic stronghold if we write these places off. It will not happen over night, but we must find ways to get our message out, recruit and train candidates, and work with our local County and District organizations to strengthen the Democratic base across this state. In addition, we must utilize all of our caucuses, our friends in labor, choice and peace groups, environment and yes even business to craft and deliver messages appropriate to the different demographics and geographies of the State of Washington .

We need to develop a Party leadership mentoring program and learn how to encourage our youth to take on more positions of leadership. We must end the politics of personal and organizational destruction that occurs even within our own Party. This will get us nowhere and in fact has caused people to leave the Party organizations in this State. While so many of our goals in this Party may be different, we have far more that are the same and should work more and more to find that common ground and assist our rising stars and growing organizations in achieving their fullest potential.

Good points all. That said, I also like both Pelz and Talmadge.

As I’ve previously stated, Pelz can be a bit of an asshole… but he’s our asshole; if local elections were decided by a barroom brawl between party chairs, I’d want Pelz slugging it out for the Dems. As it is, there’s something enticing about the thought of Pelz verbally kicking Chris Vance’s fat tuchus all over the evening news. But maybe that’s not the chair’s primary role.

I understand that Talmadge can be a bit of an asshole too (again, in a good way), but mostly, I like him because he’s smart. In fact, last night at Drinking Liberally there was some discussion as to whether Talmadge was too smart to be chair.

I’m not suggesting that Pelz isn’t smart too, it’s just that Talmadge is all about being smart… and he’s not shy about letting people know it. The couple of times I’ve had the opportunity to talk to him I’ve found him insightful, passionate, and incredibly well informed on a wide variety of issues. But again… maybe that’s not the chair’s primary role.

What do I know? Neither Talmadge nor Pelz might be the best choice for party chair… but either one should be fun to watch in the role.


  1. 1

    tom spews:

    I’m hoping for Pelz, no more touchy feely weeping Paul. In your face, not filtered for PBS, not interested in your point of view, activist Dwight….perfect. The true face of whats left of the Great Democratic Party….R.I.P.

  2. 2

    Green Thumb spews:

    Interesting, but in the end . . . whatever. As with most any organization, I suspect the Democratic party’s leader matters less than the media make it out to be. There’s an old saying in organizational development: When you put good people in a highly dysfunctional organization, you’ll very likely get a bad product. We all too easily fall for the leader-as-miracle-worker myth.

  3. 3

    marks spews:


    Neither Talmadge nor Pelz might be the best choice for party chair… but either one should be fun to watch in the role.

    So, it is now a matter of who is more slapstick?

  4. 6


    In a goodbye note to his listeners on his Web log, Webb writes, “Thank You For Your Friendship during these past 35 years on the radio, especially the past 10, where we had a chance to really get to know one another and offer an alternative to the disgusting, corporate-driven nonsense masquerading as talk radio.””So Long, Mike.”

    Wowww — Well said from a donk masquerading as a responsible citizen. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  5. 9


    I got real into Talmadge after I heard him on KUOW, on an interview show, about how most WA taxpayers don’t know the first things about how WA gov’t works (or doesn’t work) and how this only enhances their cynicism. He’s a smart guy who ought to have a platform somewhere, but Pelz… he’s a straight-up mo fo who will make the WAGOP wade in its own blood if he has to. The GOP will challenge another several thousand of voters in ’06, and Dwight will give ‘em hell.

  6. 10

    sgmmac spews:


    Whose fault is it that most WA taxpayers don’t know the first thing about WA State Government?

    Whose fault is it that Republicans can challenge thousands of voters?

  7. 11


    There own, but also a failure of their elected officials to educate them. But regular folks have to inform themselves, get good information, for participitory government to be effective.

    “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” -Thomas Jefferson

  8. 12


    For the record, TJ also said:

    “I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.” -Thomas Jefferson

  9. 13

    sgmmac spews:


    I agree with you, but ….. It is difficult these days for a citizen to find out what the truth is. You used to be able to watch the nightly news and read a newspaper to find the truth. Sadly, those days are long gone. Almost all of the media slants the news by omitting facts and inserting opinions of so-called experts to support their political agendas.

    As an example, the Federal budget bills just passed. When you read the newspapers and watch the news, it says the Republican Congress slashed spending on food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, etc…. They didn’t cut spending, they cut some of the projected growth. They are spending more this year than last year and that’s an increase. But the majority of Americans who watched TV and read the news think that the mean Republicans are starving kids.

  10. 14


    @ 13

    If there are more poor people, poor kids, or folks who are otherwise in need, and the gov’t reduces the increase of such programs, that is a cut that hurts poor people and poor kids. The GOP never reduces the increase in their tax cuts for the wealthy.

    As for being informed, newspapers are generally ok, even the Seattle Times. I was refering to the fact the many WA citizens, if asked what was the largest item in the budget, would almost always be wrong. Also, how many voters knew that our vehicle license tabs paid for kids immunizations? That’s a failure of leadership.

  11. 16

    Drew4PeaceNow spews:

    If the choice is between Dwight and Phil I will be supporting Dwight. Both have the skills to do the behind the scenes organizational work, but Dwight clearly wants this post more than Phil does and when it comes to TV and print sound bites on future races and debates with Vance, Dwight is who I want up front. Dwight’s political savvy, whit, killer instinct softened with humor is exactly what we need in a party front person. And he does not bring the baggage of his past remarks about Gov Chris that Phil will have around his neck like an albatross as we gear up for the rematch of Chris/Dino.

  12. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    If you pay federal taxes, you have been donating money to GOP campaigns, whether you want to or not.

    In a scandal involving disgraced ex-Rep. and convicted felon Duke Cunningham, GOP operatives set up dummy corporations (mostly headquartered in Poway, CA) through which Department of Defense money was funneled through fake subcontractors to GOP campaigns. Among those receiving this stolen tax money is Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ($45,000).

    The San Diego Union has been reporting this story, but the rightwing-dominated mainstream media has yet to pick it up. So far, the main sources for information, besides the San Diego newspaper, are Act Now for Change and Cannonfire. Go to the latter’s web site for links to the newspaper’s stories and other sources:

  13. 18

    sgmmac spews:

    My point about the newspapers is that they rarely give you those details. Our legislature is getting ready to go in session and already there are many pre-filed bills, yet I have only seen press on two of them.

    As for the public knowing where each dollar comes from and goes to, if lawmakers weren’t such devious people with taxing and spending money, people might know what paid for what. I’m not sure I know what the biggest money sucker is in the budget, but I read that almost half goes to Education in the newspaper. I also read most of the budget bills signed by Gregoire online.

    Before she was elected she said she wanted to know how the State paid for transportation and there is a study in her budget to find out how this state pays for transportation.

  14. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Cunningham, Wilkes, and the Poway Mafia
    by LieparDestin
    Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 06:47:31 PM PDT

    Over at Cannonfire theres something of quite a bit of interest about the man who bribed Cunningham. More good stuff at

    You’re gunna have to take my word that this is interesting as hell, and follow me for a bit.

    Ok some quick things to know:

    -Brent Wilkes founder of defense contractor ADCS, Inc out of Poway, CA is one of the men who ‘bribed’ Cunningham
    -The co-conspirator Mitchell Wade once ran ADCS
    -Wilkes also owns Group W Media.

    LieparDestin’s diary :: ::

    And thats when things start to get interesting for me. Take a look at the Group W Media site again. For an advertising firm, thats like… no substance. No nothing. Just a single phone number and a mysterious login form.

    Then take a look at another site owned by Wilkes, this time a company by the name of Archer Logistics. Noting any similarities? A little substance, a smokescreen mostly. No employee names, ceo names, nothing.

    On to Acoustical Communication Systems. A bit more substance to this company on first glance, but after a mere look around you’ll notice its all filler. No news, no employee names, no nothing. A Google or two will turn up that this and other companies listed, apparently never did anything of substance at all. Notice the address of 13970 Stowe Drive
    Poway, CA 92064, the same as that Group W Media and ADCS.

    How about Liberty Defense Tech.

    AkamaiInfo Tech thanks to is a bit interesting merely for the fact that the name is so similar to that of Akamai Tech, who’s CEO was on one of the flights that crashed into the WTC.

    Now my favorite so far is PerfectWave Technologies Look at that site! Fancy Smancy, at first glance you think you have something. Second glance even. But try one more time, notice the address: LOCATION
    13970 Stowe Drive, Poway, CA 92064. Notice the lack ways to contact them. Lack of employee information or any media releases, etc. Google and Yahoo turn up nothing from this company except donations to the GOP. All these high-level companies, all in this 11 million dollar building , but at the same time this article says that only 100 people work at the building. But anyhow, more on PerfectWave. Political Money Line has these contributions listed:

    Gelwix, Max D
    5/12/2004 $1,000.00
    Poway, CA 92064
    Perfect Wave/Pres/CEO [Contribution]

    2 . Gelwix, Max D
    9/26/2003 $1,000.00
    Poway, CA 92064
    Perfect Wave/Pres/CEO [Contribution]

    3 . Gelwix, Max D.
    6/9/2004 $2,500.00
    Poway, CA 92064
    Perfect Wave Technoligies/President [Contribution]

    4 . Gelwix, Max D.
    8/14/2003 $5,000.00
    Poway, CA 92064
    Perfect Wave/Pres/CEO [Contribution]

    5 . GELWIX, MAX P MR.
    6/26/2003 $2,000.00
    POWAY, CA 92064
    PERFECT WAVE/COO [Contribution]

    Try using the same site to search for ADCS, Wilkes (Brent and Regina), MZM etc.

    Now I dont know if Im misinterpreting all this but to me it looks like: Wilkes and Co payoff Cunningham to get them DOD contracts. Wilkes and Co (guessing) subcontract these to whomever it is they subcontract them to, and skim a load off the top, funneling it into dummy business’s to turn around and donate it to the GOP & GOP related causes.

    Oh almost forgot the oddest for last The Poway Mafia. Another site owned by Wilkes. Definately creepy.

  15. 20

    sgmmac spews:


    They ALL get money from the Federal government! George Soros gets a big chunk of change too……..

  16. 21

    sgmmac spews:


    I understand about kids starving and poor people needing assistance and the fact that the number grows and inflation hurts them. Didn’t our State cut growth too?

  17. 22


    Gov. Chris Gregoire bumped up some ancillary taxes last time to make sure we didn’t cut services for poor folks (much to her credit). But the Feds are different. The Feds can run a deficit, and are relied apon for Medicaid and Medicare dollars. The nat’l GOP wants to cut food stamps and student loans to poor folks so they can afford big tax cuts for well-off folks. That’s wrong.

  18. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Bullshit. This money isn’t being spent on defense procurement, it’s being lifted from DoD accounts and funneled through fake corporations directly to candidates. That’s illegal, it’s theft of government funds, and Democrats don’t do that. I defy you to prove otherwise.

  19. 24

    sgmmac spews:

    Democrats don’t steal?

    You’re kidding, right? You think being a Democrat gives you morals, values, etc….

    Every damn person ALIVE has the capacity to steal. Their religion, political party, their sexual preference, and whatever else there is don’t matter!

  20. 25

    sgmmac spews:

    Actually, Soros’ money was coming from the State Department accounts if I remember right.

    The Defense Budget has been full of some of the most insane pork you have ever imagined.

  21. 28

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    I desperately hope Pelz gets it. He has a lot of Fidel Castro in him and is the perfect f*cking idiot for the Dems.
    Talmadge is too smart. I respect the guy….even though I disagree with him. As a lawyer, he fights hard for small business.
    If Talmadge does get it, he will probably last about a month. The LEFTIST PINHEADED KLOWNS want to control the agenda. Talmadge won’t go for that. That means a whole bunch of you bumfuck KLOWNS will be shut out!!
    Pelz is perfect for the KLOWNS.
    By the way, I hear Pelz is starting to grow his hair long on the sides. Next time you see him, undoubtedly Pelz will be sporting a hideous COMB-OVER to cover that huge hairless divot on the top of his pointy little PINHEAD!

  22. 29

    LiberalRedneck spews:

    Right wing psycho-trolls (and Tim Eyman) like Talmadge. Good reason to go with Pelz.

    Mr. Cynical’s pals at Sound Politics were were giddy with excitement earlier in the year when one of Eyman’s pals paid for a poll that was supposed to be the launching pad for Talmadge’s entree into a bitter KC Exec Demo primary. The fake poll showed Sims only had a 40% chance of re-election. Talmadge fizzled anyways.

  23. 30

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Pelz reminds my of the KLOWN on that new Snickers Ad on TV.
    You know, the one when the dude tapes together a bunch of Snickers in the wrappers and puts this ugly conglomeration on the top of his bald noggin…hoping no one will know he is bald.
    The dude on the ad could be Pelz!!
    Heretofore, Dwight Pelz will be known as SnickerCap!!!

  24. 31

    anon spews:

    Talmadge is a terrible choice for chair. His campaign for Governor failed when he could barely raise dime one.

  25. 32

    EasyToArgueWithRightWingSheep spews:

    Actually, Mr. Asinine, I’ve never seen that Snickers ad.

    At least you’re good at something. Then again, most GOP suckers are good at watching tv. They had better, since it drives the entire Bush economy.

    If we could get a riduculous NASCAR reference in with your next mental post, I would be most appreciative.

    Does anybody know if Mr. Cynical is actually a liberal trying to make conservatives appear to be racist, insane and unstable demagogues? Since this seems to be the case, can we give him a medal of some sort?

  26. 33

    DT spews:

    While I am very excited about Dwight Pelz being chair, I would have no problem with Talmadge either. Back when he was young and fat I really didn’t like him. Like many West Seattle young democrats he seemed to be overly ambitious and willing to sacrifice principles to further his career, similar to our mayor, for instance. But Talmadge has grown to be an honorable principled man. I kind of wish he had stayed on the Supreme Court, but I would have no problem with him heading up the party.


  27. 34

    Sandy spews:

    It is really a shame that Phil got sick last year, I mean a tumor on the kidney and having to withdraw from the governor’s race. Yep, it is a real shame.

    Back to the original statement of Greg withdrawing from the chair race. FYI – Mark Hintz, Snohomish County Chair has thrown his hat into the ring. I don’t know anymore about him than I do Pelz. So now you have something else to chew on.

  28. 35

    Chad Lupkes spews:

    Mark Heinz, Snohomish County Chair, has just jumped into the race. Anyone know something about him?