What’s heartbreaking about this Eli Sanders post concerning WA-03 is not that he wrote it, because everyone is entitled to his opinion. What’s heartbreaking is how utterly clueless he appears to be about democracy in general and SW Washington in particular.
Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats, won’t take sides yet. “We have several strong democratic candidates running right now,” he said. “We want to see who can get out there and get the most support before we let a good Democrat know we would like them to pull out of the race.”
He should figure it out as quickly as possible. Time’s a-wasting and Democrats need—way before the summer primary—to rally behind a single candidate if they want to hold on to this seat.
Luckily for those of us who actually live in WA-03, neither Pelz nor Sanders can actually stop people from running for office. Look, I get that everyone plays the “who can win” game, but in the end, if someone wants to throw their hat in the ring, you can’t stop them.
There are five Democrats running in WA-03. They are state Rep. Deb Wallace of Vancouver, Denny Heck, former Legislator and founder of TVW, state Sen. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver, political activist Maria Rodriguez-Salazar of Vancouver and political activist Cheryl Crist of Olympia.
Wallace has a solid, pro-business record and is well liked in Vancouver. I hold her in high regard. She’s a great example of the “big-tent” party, because she may have a different viewpoint but she doesn’t punch the hippies in the face just to score cheap points. Frankly I feel kind of bad about her not being my first choice, but Pridemore is a long-time friend and has his own proud record. Democrats would be lucky to choose between Wallace and Pridemore.
Heck has a lengthy resume, including stints as a Legislator in the late 1970’s and the early-to-mid 1980’s and as an aid to Gov. Booth Gardner in the early 1990’s. He also founded TVW and has business experience. I’ve never seen the guy in Clark County, and I’ve lived here since 1993. Maybe he comes to visit family at Christmas or something. He did grow up here.
Heck lost a race for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1988 as an odds-on-favorite with WEA backing, so that tells you something. Then he quit and moved on to jobs he didn’t have to get elected at, and he hasn’t been back until…now.
Here’s a fun quote Heck had from today’s Columbian:
“I’m the only practicing capitalist in this race. Nobody has to teach me that 70 percent of jobs are created by small businesses. I’ve done that.”
Practicing capitalist? What does that even mean?
I’ve always maintained that capitalism is the one true religion in this country, so maybe Heck is onto something. It sure seems like the Democratic establishment in this state is looking to impose their religion on those of us down here. Good luck with that, BTW. We always just love having Puget Sound folks decide our fate.
Heck is supported in Clark County by a bunch of old guard Democrats, and that’s just a fact. These people are not progressive and never were. It’s a motley assortment of BIAW-Scoop Jackson types, to put it simply. Plus they are all really, really old, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It beats the alternative. Here’s how long it’s been since Heck ran for office.
However, it sounds like most of us would like Heck personally if we ever saw him, plus his wife once taught Craig Pridemore when he was in middle school. That’s kind of charming, actually.
Heck also has some small personal fortune and has pledged an initial $100,000 to his campaign. Must be nice. Just what we need, another corporate Democrat. Maybe we can reform the bankruptcy laws and turn forest destruction into a good thing. Oh wait, I was thinking of Brian Baird, not Denny Heck, my bad.
Pridemore, my pick, has been a Clark County commissioner and has a proven track record as both a progressive and a winner. He got an earned income tax credit bill passed a few years back, although it wound up not getting funded due to legislative wrangling. Pridemore first scored a political victory in 1998 by beating Republican county commissioner Mel Gordon here in Clark County, and then beat entrenched incumbent state senator Don Carlson to win his state senate seat.
Those who would dismiss Pridemore because of Heck’s money don’t understand Pridemore’s tenacity nor the retail nature of politics down here. Nothing is a lock in politics, but you put your money on the solid horse, and Pridemore is as solid as they come.
What about a TV blitz by Heck’s money? That’s why nothing is a lock. Pridemore is an adept fundraiser, but I’d have to admit it will be a challenge to keep pace with a self-funder. Thus this post, regular folks who care need to know they can play a part in fighting against the corporate Democrats.
As for Rodriguez-Salazar, at the December meeting of the Clark County Democrats she first tripped and broke her shoe, and then announced that she is a Blue Dog. Oh well.
Crist has run before and you can google her. Heart in right place, no chance.