WA-03: Time to choose a progressive

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.


  1. 1

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    This race really has the potential to have either 2 Dems. or 2 Reps. If that happens I think that somehow our top two primary will be gone.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey, I like that sleek machinegun the Al Qaeda guy has in “The Real News” ad in the sidebar to the right. Where can I get one, and how much are they?

  3. 3

    Perfect Voter spews:

    I don’t know Clark County Commissioner Pridemore, but I do know Clark County (hometown: Vancouver) and their urban planning is terrible.

    East Clark County, some of it annexed by Vancouver, is prototype urban sprawl. No urban centers, just a mash of big box stores, strip malls, subdivisions, and low-density apartment communities. All of it butt-ugly.

    How they were able to pull this off in spite of the state Growth Management Act is beyond me. If Mr. Pridemore had anything to do with it, he should be ashamed, and not promoted to Congress.

  4. 4


    “We always just love having Puget Sound folks decide our fate.”

    I would like to point out that some of us living in the district -are- Puget Sound folks. (If by that you mean “people who live on Puget Sound”..) Which again is part of the reason it’s such a wide-open race.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    With the right Democratic candidate, maybe the representation of 3rd CD will actually improve, compared to Baird. That’s something to work for in as many congressional districts across the country as possible, as we approach the midterms.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t see a big swing back to the GOP this year. The GOP has grown more, not less, shrill and crazy since the 2006 and 2008 elections. The people know which party got us into the mess we’re in. While there’s still an uphill economic slog ahead of us, employment will be improving by November, and in fact last month may produce the first net job gains in nearly two years. I believe the stock market will be higher by year’s end and business conditions will be improving. Most of the American public probably doesn’t understand just how close a brush with economic catastrophe we had, and the critical roles played by Bernanke, Geithner, and Obama in averting what could have been an even worse collapse than the 1930s, but I’m confident that a solid majority of voters will understand that nothing coherent is coming from the Party of No, and putting obstructionists in charge would have disastrous consequences. I don’t think the voters who rescued America from the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008 are going to risk our country’s future by voting Republican so soon after those elections, and while we’re still in the grip of the Great Republican Train Wreck. I’m not worried about our 2010 prospects.

  7. 7

    Noemie spews:


    It’s Senator Pridemore, not Commissioner Pridemore. He’s the state Senator for the 49th Legislative District.

  8. 8

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    Let’s not forget the Republicans vying for this seat.

    They include include Washougal Councilmember Jon Russell, former House Republican Caucus staffer David Castillo and John William Hedrick. All a much better candidate than the Democrats listed above (even the “blue dog”) who Goldy lists as a ‘Political Activist’, which means one of two things:
    1)A bat shit crazy communist or
    2)A stay at home mother of 3 that needs a title other than “housewife” in the voters guide. Let’s at least get a little honesty in here for once.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 To use the term “communist” as you do, is to reduce it to nothing, like a currency that has been debased to worthlessness. Stripped of its evocations of the horrors of Stalinism and Maoism, it is a mere pejorative, on a par with flipping someone off. If that’s what you want to do, why go to the trouble of meddling with the language, instead of just using your middle finger?

  10. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Methinks the “progressives” have had their short run–
    Here is your “progressive” Presidents latest numbers AND check out the last paragraph from Rasmussen….OUCH!
    Something to think about Jon-

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 27% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14.

    Forty-five percent (45%) say a group randomly selected from the phone book would do a better job than the current Congress. Just 32% of American voters are even somewhat confident that their representative in Congress is looking out for their best interests.

  11. 12

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    And one more major obstacle to overcome here–

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Republican candidates start the year by opening a nine-point lead over Democrats, the GOP’s biggest in several years, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.

    The new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 35% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.

    Progressives want to take over a Democrat Party in “free-fall”???
    Good luck with that.
    People HATE Big Government, High Tax Progressive Agenda.
    You don’t get it, do you Jon??

  12. 13

    DB Cooper spews:

    Gotta believe that Pridemore and Wallace will split their pool of votes in Clark, opening things for Heck up north. Problematic will be a unified Republican vote and fewer candidates.

    If Wallace survives the primary, she’s toast against a Republican. The ugliness of this race will result in a dirty little secret becoming an issue against her. It shouldn’t but it will.

    For the sake of the party, it’s Heck or Pridemore.

  13. 14

    Empty Suit Obama spews:

    @ 10 ~ If that rambling, incoherent, muttering you posted made even a little bit of sense, I would be able to comment on it. But, I think I’ll just follow your therapists orders and ignore you when you when your psychotic episodes are in full swing.

  14. 15

    Michael H. Wilson spews:

    Any of these people want to reduce the overseas commitment of U.S. troops?

  15. 16

    Roots spews:

    I’ve known Denny for over thirty years. I know he is the best person to bring the diverse interests together in WA-3. And yes I live in the third. I also know that he can work an issue………unlike the other newbees. (how do you spell newbee?)

  16. 17

    JudyLee spews:

    Baird had to move to the right, because the district is swing. Hard-core liberalism will not fly. Denny Heck may be a good fit.

  17. 18

    Michael spews:

    I’ve never understood why people like Eli are afraid of the democratic process. Having a bunch of people running for a seat, voicing real and differing opinions and showing som emotion will draw people in and increase the chances of a good candidate winning.

    What Eli proposes gets you candidates like John Kerry. Snore….

  18. 19

    Jarvis spews:

    I’m for whoever can keep the seat the in the ‘D’ column. If the health care debate of the last several months has proven anything, it’s that party affilitation matters. Any minute differences between Heck/Pridemore/Crist/Whoever pales when measured against the diffences between D’s and R’s. Even if Denny Heck is a blue dog, he’ll probably be there when push comes to shove. Any questions?

  19. 20

    Upton spews:

    I live in the 3rd and my first inclination is to go with Heck.

    If the Democrats put someone too far to the left up in what looks to be a difficult year, they’ll lose.

  20. 21

    sjw spews:

    @15 Yes! Cheryl Crist. She’d be a vote to end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and bring our troops home.