The King County Democrats had a great turnout for their Elections Director Candidate Forum last night, at least amongst the members of the King County Democrats. But the candidates however, well, not so much.
Of the six official candidates only Sherril Huff, Bill Anderson and Chris Clifford bothered to show up, and Clifford only stayed for the first fifteen minutes or so. Pam Roach, David Irons and Julie Kempf were all no-shows, which if you ask me, was a mistake. Five of the six candidates showed up for a Rotary Club forum earlier in the day, and apparently nearly outnumbered the audience, and yet Roach, Irons and Kempf chose to dis a packed room of some of the most engaged voters in the county. Huh.
Ah well, the result was probably a better format, with Huff and Anderson having plenty of time to trade answers to the many thoughtful questions the audience had prepared. And while Anderson and Clifford can be commended for their passion, I think those in attendance came away pretty damn clear that Huff was the only candidate at the table with the expertise to run elections in one of the largest jurisdictions in the nation.
As I’ve often said, I think the idea of electing an elections director is pretty damn stupid (Huff agrees, Anderson does not), as I’d rather have an elections director who knows how to run elections, than one who knows how to run for them. And from what I saw of Anderson and Clifford last night, I’m not confident that they can do either.
Huff, on the other hand, while far from a polished politician, has done an admirable job running King County Elections over the past couple years; if you consider her the incumbent, I don’t see anybody making a cogent argument to kick the bum out. On the contrary, Anderson seemed to trip over himself throughout the forum, commending Huff on her job performance. I appreciate his honesty, but its an odd way to run a campaign.
I’ve refrained from writing about this race up until now, out of deference to my role as moderator, for which I wanted to maintain a degree of impartiality and civility, but apparently my restraint was wasted. Obviously, this low-turnout/low-information race will come down to a battle between Huff, Irons and Roach—Huff on her qualifications, Irons and Roach on their name ID. And now that I’m freed of my self-imposed shackles, I’m guessing I’ll have little bit of fun at Irons’ and Roach’s expense.