Rep. Deb Wallace (D-Vancouver) is accusing Rep. Jaime Herrera (R-Camas) of shirking her duties by being absent from the House floor “for hours on end” during key votes over the last few weeks in order to campaign — a charge Herrera flatly denies.
Wallace, who recently announced she is dropping out of the WA-03 race to replace retiring Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., doesn’t seem to have an obvious motive in leveling this accusation against Herrera. If this would help anyone it would be the other major GOP candidate in WA-03, David Castillo.
It sounds like Wallace said something at a small gathering, which was then emailed around, and it wound up on the Inter-Tubes. If you do a Google blog search for “Jaime Herrera” you will quickly find that pro-Castillo bloggers down here were rending their garments and howling about this almost immediately, while throwing kitchen sinks, tire irons and brickbats Herrera’s way. (Sorry, I won’t link to those people.) So score one for the brickbat crowd, and remember this the next time someone pleads for civility. These people only have one speed, full on attack, at all times.
As for whether Herrera is actually absent from her Legislative duties too much, a charge she vigorously denies, the rest of the Columbian article pretty much amounts to she said, she said. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons for a member to not be sitting on the floor, of course, but with the near-death of the Olympia press corps I’d wager we’d know more if this were two or three years ago. So I’m not sure what the affect will ultimately be on the Congressional race, unless someone wants to sift through 8 million hours of TVW coverage.
For the time being I’m reserving judgment, and I’ve put out a couple of emails to other members asking for their opinion. If I hear anything back I’ll post an update.