by Carl, 02/04/2013, 7:21 PM

The next two years of the state Senate are going to be marked by gridlock and division. But after that Rodney Tom is up for reelection. And I can’t believe that in the wake of his Senate shenanigans, that Rodney Tom plans on getting reelected. When he switched parties the first time it was for an election and everyone knew where he stood going forward. It was also a product of the district becoming more Democratic.

The district has continued to become more Democratic since 2006, and I just don’t see a majority of his constituents are backing him up on his giving the GOP control. So if he runs for reelection again, you’ve got to think he’ll lose.

Now maybe I’m reading the tea leaves wrong; It’s been known to happen. Maybe he thinks he can — and maybe he can — win reelection in an off year with a more conservative electorate. Still the party will go after him something fierce, and it’s a Democratic district. And even if he can get reelected, if the Democrats or the Republicans gain seats elsewhere, he’s still going to be sidelined. Maybe he doesn’t plan to run again, and this is him going out on top.

But still, I wonder if he’s thinking of greener pastures. I wonder if he’s planning to run for Congress.

Now, I know that sounds wrong, but hear me out: I assume he’s still in the 1st district. And we know he wants to be in Congress since he has run before. So maybe he thinks he can present himself as a moderate alternative to DelBene (never mind that she’s quite moderate herself).

I think it would go one of two ways: if the GOP are willing to clear the deck for him, he runs as an R. He hopes to get moderate Democratic votes (again DelBene should get moderate Dem votes since she’s a moderate Democrat) and all the Republican ones. If the GOP lets whoever run, he hopes there are a lot of Republicans and runs as a Democrat hoping to squeak through the top two and then in the general get all the Republican votes and some confused Democrats.

It’s a long shot, and DelBene still has the advantages of incumbency, a lot of her own money to spend if it gets close, and the qualities that got her elected in the first place. But I can’t imagine Rodney Tom sticking around the legislature.

11 Responses to “Where Does Tom Go in 2 Years?”

1. Patricia Benavidez spews:

There’s lake by the Capital he can jump into!

2. Richard Pope spews:

Greg Bennett (R-for real) got 47% of the vote against Rodney Tom (D-for then) in the 2010 general election. This was in the old 48th before redistricting, and was slightly better than Luke Esser did in 2006 trying to keep the seat against Tom.

The 48th changed slightly with redistricting, and I won’t speculate which way this affected party balance. However, Rob McKenna got 47% of the vote in the new 48th. One might think some degree of hometown advantage, but McKenna performed miserably in King County last fall.

So Tom could retain the 48th seat, if he ended up in the general election against a real Democrat. All it would take would be all of the normal Republican support, plus a very small fraction of the normal Democratic support. The Republicans certainly aren’t going to recruit an avowed “R”, or throw any support at any “Prefers Republican Party” candidate in the primary.

3. Richard Pope spews:

The Dems could always try to recruit a phony “R” candidate to attract the true-red vote, and attempt to knock Tom out in the primary. Luke Esser pulled this trick off in 1998, when he first got elected to the House from the 48th.

Karen Howard, a 48th LD Republican PCO, filed for the open seat as a DEMOCRAT! Howard did no campaigning, and had no voter pamphlet statement. She pulled 24.12% as the only avowed “D” on the ballot. Esser, in a four candidate “R” field, outpolled moderate R Sants Contreras by only 0.66% of the vote, and went on to win easily against his friend Howard.

Interestingly enough, Howard managed to poll 41.2% in the general against Esser — the best showing of any D (real or pretend) in decades in the 48th. This led the Democrats to take the 48th more seriously, and sponsor winning candidates in future elections.

This strategy is a bit tougher with the top-two primary, but it recently worked well in the 38th. In 2010, moderate Democrat Sen. Jean Berkey was challenged by liberal Democrat Nick Harper. The Republicans did not recruit a candidate, hoping at least to retain Berkey. Rod Rieger, a very conservative fellow, filed as a “Conservative” and did not campaign. Tens of thousands of liberal donations were made to an independent PAC that urged Republicans to vote for Rieger in the primary. The strategy worked, with Rieger making the general, and Berkey eliminated. Harper beat Rieger easily in the general.

4. Steve spews:

“All it would take would be all of the normal Republican support, plus a very small fraction of the normal Democratic support.”

That’s likely Sheldon’s plan. Unfortunately, it’ll probably work.

5. eponymous coward spews:

Well, it depends.

If the Republicans keep the crazy down and stick to things that play well in social issues liberal/fiscal issues conservative districts like the 48th, Tom’s got a shot. Keep in mind Eyman initiatives pass in the 48th. It’s not Seattle.

If on the other hand, the Senate decides it’s time to pass all of Don Benton’s wet dream legislation for the next two years, the Dems will have great ammunition for a campaign against him.

6. rhp6033 spews:

It’s not much, but at least they took a stand:

“The state Democratic Party has censured State Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, for “gross disloyalty” and “perfidious behavior,” and told the dissident D’s that they will never again get a dollar of support or access to a party mailing list”

State Democrats Censure Tom, Sheldon

7. Serial conservative spews:

@ 6

Sheldon tells SW that, as a legislator from a rural district (comprised of parts of Mason, Thurston and Kitsap counties), he got tired of the Puget Sound-centrism evident among Democrats. If they remained in control this year, he says, the lion’s share of Senate committee chairs would have gone to legislators from either Seattle or Tacoma. Last year, in what he sees as evidence of “insensitivity” to his part of the state, the Democrats proposed a budget that would have cut $1.2 million from the Mason County budget.

I wonder if the average voter in Sheldon’s district finds him to be perfidious.

Likely not.

8. Serial conservative spews:

If the GOP lets whoever run, he hopes there are a lot of Republicans and runs as a Democrat hoping to squeak through the top two and then in the general get all the Republican votes and some confused Democrats.

And conservative Democrats. They’re out there.

9. rhp6033 spews:

“And conservative Democrats. They’re out there.”

Yep, like the socialist Kenian fascist Obama. By Republican standards, anything left of Atilla the Hun would be suspect.

Republican policies and demogogary have pushed quite a few former conservative Democrates left-of-center.

Heck, consider my own example. I grew up in a Southern state, I learned to shoot when I was eight, I played football and swam competion, and was an Eagle Scout. I’m in favor of fiscal conservatism and a balanced budget, I’m active in an Evangelical church, and I’m against abortion. Why wouldn’t I be a Republican?

But every time I get mad at the Democratic party and think of switching, all I have to do is wait a day, and the Republicans remind me of the alternative.

10. MikeBoyScout spews:

IF Rodney Tom is able to lead his Republican coalition in delivering legislation people want, then he has a political future, else he’s done in 2014.

His coup d’état was ill thought.
Had he waited until 2014 to overthrow the will of the people he may have had a shot at running for Governor. As is, his political opponents just need to sit back and watch his coalition fail.

11. rhp6033 spews:

It just occured to me that being from Medina, Rodney Tom has a lot of campaign donations available to him from within his own district. Medina has both Republicans and Democrats, but just about everyone there is rich.

It’s where the national candidates drop by for a quick fund-raising trip – give a short speach at a home between appetizers and cocktails, accept lots of money, and then head elsewhere.