Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bellevue legislator Rodney Tom switches parties

In a surprising development, Bellevue state legislator Rodney Tom, who is currently serving his second term as a representative for the 48th Legislative District, today announced his intention to switch parties and seek the Democratic nomination to run against the 48th's incumbent state senator - Luke Esser:
“Senator Luke Esser and the Republicans in Olympia have moved so far to the right they no longer represent the interests of mainstream voters. They have become more focused on partisan politics than real results,” said Rodney Tom. “Running and serving in the Senate as a Democrat will allow me to be more effective at solving problems, making smart investments in education and transportation and ensuring fiscal responsibility.”
Tom certainly has our praise for finally realizing that the Republican Party has lost touch with the electorate, and we're happy to have him as part of the Democratic Party.

But there is already a great Democrat in the race against Luke Esser - a Democrat with strong credentials - and that's Debi Golden, who narrowly lost to Tom when she ran against him in 2004.

Golden, a Camp Wellstone graduate, currently works at Bellevue Community College in business planning and court interpretation. She has publicly announced her intention to stay in the race, despite the fact that House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown have extended Tom a very warm welcome.

Tom has already laid the groundwork for his defection to the Democratic Party. There have been rumors that the 48th's other representative (Ross Hunter) had been strongly encouraging Tom to make to the switch, and Tom has already hired Democratic consulting firm Moxie Media to help him win the nomination.

Tom clearly recognizes that the 48th LD is not a Republican district. The district gave John Kerry and Dave Ross a strong show of support of 2004, and of course Debi Golden herself came close to defeating Tom two years ago, despite having little political experience (as I mentioned earlier, Golden is now running for state Senate, challenging Luke Esser).

Former Kirkland mayor Deb Eddy was also preparing to mount a strong challenge to Tom, hoping to replace him in the state House. With Tom out of the picture it's very likely that Eddy will have an excellent shot at winning her race.

But now that Tom has declared his intention to see the nomination against Esser, the 48th suddenly has a primary battle on its hands.

As the 48th (and the Eastside as whole) becomes more and more Democratic, it is deserving of a state senator who truly represents the values of the district's electorate.There's only one real choice for Democrats in this fall's primary - and that's Debi Golden, a true Democrat and a true progressive.

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