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.

22 November 2008

Profile: King Co. Elections Director race

Last Thursday the Times had a pretty good article about potential candidates for this February's special election to elect King County's elections director for the first time. The short campaign season means that we should see candidates entering the race all at once here in the coming couple weeks, and a crowded field could mean a winner elected with a small plurality of the vote. The winner will probably depend on the parties getting behind a single candidate in hope of keeping their base from splitting their way to victory for another candidate. While it's clearly Democrats worrying about this scenario the bulk of the speculated candidates in the Times piece were Republicans. The seat is nonpartisan, for an office that should be run in a very nonpartisan manner, but I think we're going to see a lot of partisan posturing for this office.

Potential candidates:
Sherril Huff [D] - appointed incumbent, not considered likely to run but possible
Ross Baker [D] - County Council chief of staff, ex-aide to Larry Gossett
Chris Clifford [R] - high school teacher and Pat Davis recall advocate
Joe Fain [R] - chief of staff for Pete von Reichbauer
Lloyd Hara [D] - Port Commissioner, considering running but may focus on reelection
Anthony Hemstad [R] - elected Valley Medical Center Commissioner, ex-Maple Valley city manager
David Irons Jr. [R] - ex-County Councilman, failed 2005 County Exec candidate
Jason Osgood [D] - failed 2008 Secretary of State candidate, election reform advocate and blogger
Pam Roach [R] - State Senator and carpetbagger from Pierce County

A few brief comments here, since this thing is going to get moving quick and I'm sure will be discussed at length soon enough. I don't think the Sims establishment will back Osgood and if he is to win it's going to be in a crowded race. His support in the Seattle blogs could be enough to earn him a win if there are several credible candidates and the winning margin is brought down. I think Hara will pass and Baker will be the establishment candidate due to his close ties to Gossett and Sims. Republicans are going to have to pick a candidate and get behind them, because it's going to be hard to win if their vote is split. Roach is a no-go and Irons will have a tough time winning outside of a packed field. I don't think Clifford's claim to fame will be enough to earn him a solid base of support even if a lot of people don't like Pat Davis. Hemstad might be the smart pick for the GOP as he is harder to paint as a GOP partisan and has a lot of local experience. Fain could prove to be an attractive candidate for the party but given his youth it seems unlikely.



At 5:20 PM, Blogger Barry said...

To dismiss Jason Osgood as just the "failed 2008 Secretary of State candidate, election reform advocate and blogger" is a mistake (or worse). Osgood is one of the key figures in the Electronic Medical Record Data Exchange that is slated to be a major component of Barack Obama's HealthCare initiative. People are alive today because of Jason Osgood. Jason can do more for the voters of Kings County because he has already done more in his life. Osgood makes a difference.
Best wishes,
Barry O'Connell

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Auburn Oracle said...

Agreed that the strongest candidates from the center-right would be Hemstad & Fain. Fain is a few years in the future though and not today. Biggest problem for Hemstad, Fain or someone else to win though is that Roach will probably run despite having zero chance of winning the race herself. She can spoil it for any other center-right candidate by splitting a small base.

Osgood will have a hard time convincing those outside the D bloggosphere that he is a real candidate if a more realistic candidate like Baker or Hara jumps in the race. He only did as well as he did against Reed because the base vote for Democrats is so high in KingCO.

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Jacob said...

TMW you are overlooking the fact that all KC elections are now non-partisan...This should significantly level the field for Irons, or someone ele who has run in KC as a GOP.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger Barry said...

That is so typical for candidate centered ideologues. Minimize, dismiss and sneer at the real candidate while jockeying for a spot for their pet. Is this the same AUBURN ORACLE that IS SOFT ON CHILD KILLERS (
Maybe when Auburn Oracle is done taking cheap shots at Jason Osgood he will admit who he is really working for.
First time out Jason Osgood learned the game and still pulled more than a million votes. Now he is putting together the staff and the backers to win. Visit:
Barry O'Connell

At 12:16 AM, Blogger TMW said...

I don't think the line describing Mr. Osgood as a failed candidate for secretary of state is half as dismissive as the later statement regarding his chances in this race. For a candidate who has run in a single race and lost it's simply stating his electoral history. I don't think that earning over a million votes statewide is really noteworthy for a Democrat, anyway. It's more noteworthy that his 2008 candidacy might bring him some name recognition for a race so soon after the loss.

Jacob, I'm aware that the election is nonpartisan, but feel that partisan affiliation will still play a big role in the race. That would especially be the case for an Irons or Roach who are known as partisans than for people like Hemstad and Fain who can fly under the radar as Republicans in a nonpartisan race a la John Creighton.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Barry said...

Sen. Pam Roach Makes the Case For Jason Osgood. In her recent statement Roach clearly and succinctly describes a problem for which there is one best solution; Jason Osgood!
Best wishes,
Barry O'Connell

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Auburnite said...

This is shaping up pretty much as TMW outlined. Osgood/Baker will be splitting the D votes and both have announced now. Irons/Roach are apparently both running no matter who asks them not to and they'll split the R vote and make it very difficult for those who might be more electable.

Open question if Fain/Hemstad/Hara try and run up the middle for what might be a small part of the electorate. Clifford is running as a non-partisan even though he is very close to Roach. Likely doing so to make it tougher for real moderates as he'll likely peel off another 5 or 6% and make it that much more difficult for a moderate to win this race.

At least Irons has some management experience but so far this isn't shaping up as a real good race for the electorate (or those likely to be reading the Moderate Washingtonian).

At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may rest assured Lloyd Hara IS running for this position, and presents a formidable obstacle to other would-be contenders -- alone or in combination.

Nobody in the speculative field matches Lloyd's public sector management experience, few (if any) have administered elections (as Lloyd has), none has been elected county-wide (as Lloyd has), and none matches him in terms of public recognition for independence, integrity and sound judgment.

-- Hara Campaign

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Barry said...

Hara coming in is really good news for Jason Osgood. This lowers the number of votes Osgood needs and cuts into Baker's strength. This may drive Baker out of the race.
Best wishes,
Barry O'Connell

At 7:38 PM, Blogger TMW said...

If Lloyd Hara is indeed running then I'd consider the race as Lean Hara. He's been around for so long that he's got tons of name recognition and that's what a candidate needs most in a crowded race. It might indeed be enough to force Baker out, depending on how much Democratic leaders care about coalescing around one candidate.


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