The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

26 March 2008

Another party switch on the horizon?

Chris Mulick at the Tri-City Herald is reporting that Rep. Shirley Hankins [R-Richland] will be holding an exclusive event on Friday and is being secretive about what the reception is about. What is known is that Frank Chopp will attend the event and several key local Republicans are not, leading to some speculating she will announce a party switch.

Given her district and her age, I would be very surprised if Hankins switched parties. Despite recent ethical questions, she's built a great and lengthy career in the Republican Party and I think it's more likely she will announce her retirement and is inviting Chopp as a show of respect. The 8th district has not elected a Democrat since 1992 and has given Republicans huge majorities the last couple cycles, whether they were more moderate like Hankins and seatmate Larry Haler or the more rightist Senator Delvin. While she's broken with her party's majority on issues like abortion and gay rights she's pretty much smack-dab in the GOP mainstream on fiscal matters, and unless she were to do the Rodney Tom thing and completely abandon her fiscal principles in order to become a lock-step member of the Democratic establishment I truly do not think she jives ideologically with the Democratic Party.

Regardless of whether this is a party switch or a retirement, the sad reality is this will likely give her primary opponent and overall religious fanatic Brad Klippert a higher chance of victory. While I suspect the GOP would find a more electable and politically-reasonable candidate upon a Hankins retirement the thought of having Klippert in any level of government makes my skin crawl. I've seen reports that Richland School Board President Rick Jansons is also running, but his actual candidate filing is for the district's other seat.

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At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word on the street is she is planning on endorsing the Democrat running for her seat (can't think of the name, alhough it could very well be Rick Jansons).

At 6:18 PM, Blogger TMW said...

I wasn't aware there were even any Democrats running for the seat, as none have filed and haven't seen any Mulick tips about it. Jansons filed as a Republican for the Haler seat but I could certainly see him changing over should Hankins retire. I can't say I blame her for supporting a Democrat when the alternative is Brad friggin' Klippert.

At 2:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what was her announcement?

At 12:46 AM, Blogger TMW said...

It was about an educational foundation she's starting and had little to do with her electoral plans. Quite a ruse she pulled on everybody.


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