Tonight, the 46th District Democrats and the King County Democrats are holding a joint meeting at Olympic View Elementary in Seattle to draw up a list of names to succeed David Frockt as State Representative
There are a hundred and five Democratic precinct committee officers present, out of one hundred and sixteen eligible to vote. That’s over ninety percent turnout for this meeting, which is a strong showing by the party’s grassroots base.
King County Democratic Chair Steve Zemke has gaveled the meeting to order and we’re about to get started with the business of nominating candidates. I’ll continue publishing updates to this post as the meeting progresses.
UPDATE, 8:02 PM: In typical Democratic fashion, we’ve just spent the last twenty minutes discussing the rules for this evening. (There were several questions and some confusion about the process spelled out by our bylaws).
But it looks like we’re finally moving on.
UPDATE, 8:07 PM: A total of eight candidates have been nominated to fill the vacancy left by former State Representative (now Senator) David Frockt. They are Tony Provine, Gerry Pollet, Sarajane Siegfreidt, Rene Murray, Sylvester Cann, Javier Valdez, Dusty Hoerler, Gabe Meyer. Each is well known in the district.
UPDATE, 8:09 PM: Tony Provine is speaking now. “In recent years, I’ve become increasingly involved in community organizations,” he told his fellow PCOs. “Being connected to my community and representing their interests is important to me.” “We need to deal with [our state’s] fiscal emergency by finding new sources of revenue.” He endorsed the governor’s proposal to raise the state sales tax by half a percent, which will be coming before the Legislature during the special session.
UPDATE, 8:15 PM: We’re now hearing from Janet Miller, who is introducing her husband, Gerry Pollet. Pollet ran once before for this position in 2008, when he competed against the late Scott White. More than a dozen Pollet supporters are lined up behind Miller behind the podium. Pollet says that if chosen, he will hold drop-in sessions for constituents every week in the district, so they can have easy access to him as a state representative.
UPDATE, 8:22 PM: Sarajane Siegfreidt, chair of the Legislative Action Committee, is now making her pitch to PCOs, after having been introduced by King County Democratic Platform, Bylaws, & Resolutions co-chair Dean Fournier. “If you send me to Olympia, I will ask the difficult questions in the Democratic caucus,” she told the 46th’s PCOs. She made the most of her five minute window to speak, outlining how she would push for progressive tax reform in the statehouse. (She favors reinstating the motor vehicle excise tax, for instance, which was repealed by the Legislature after the courts struck down Tim Eyman’s I‑695 in 2000.)
UPDATE, 8:26 PM: Rene Murray is next. “I’m a person who is a rational optimist… I think we need to approach problems by making choices that are true investments in our future,” she said. “I am a very persistent person. My husband calls me water on granite,” she said to smiles and chuckles. “I will work hard for you. I will be there to rebuild the safety net,” she said.
UPDATE, 8:32 PM: It’s Sylvester Cann’s turn. He served as the late Senator Scott White’s aide in Olympia, and naturally, he’s emphasizing that experience in his speech. “I don’t feel that leadership means waiting until the time is right,” he said. “My proven experience in Olympia will be an asset to this district. I’m fortunate to be able to step directly back into the legislative process… I will work tirelessly for all of the people of this district, through listening, leading, and learning by example.”
UPDATE, 8:39 PM: King County Democratic Committeeman Javier Valdez is up now. He was introduced by Democratic National Committee delegate David McDonald, one of the party’s most respected leaders, and 46th State Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (whose remarks took up the majority of his speaking time.) Javier made the most of the minute and the half that was left when they were finished, speaking quickly and authoritatively. “I’ve been a leader in this party for twenty-three years,” he declared, going to to remind the district that he served as its chair during the contentious contest between Gerry Pollet and Scott White in 2008, and helped unite the organization in the aftermath of that election.
UPDATE, 8:44 PM: Dusty Hoerler is speaking now. “There is a pivotal role for higher education in our society,” he said. “Tonight, before you, you have a number of candidates that represent the young, new generation that can lead this country. I urge you… please vote for me. But if you don’t vote for me, vote for the next generation of leadership in this country.”
UPDATE, 8:51 PM: And last (but not least) is Gabe Meyer. “I’ve really enjoyed myself these last couple of weeks,” he said as he began. “I’ve learned a lot about the district… I’ve learned that PCOs don’t ever call you back,” he said to laughter. “The modern Republican is the protector of the rich. And in the last twenty years, they’ve won the battle in the messaging,” he said. “The reason I’m running… is to fight the status quo… I want to be an ambassador for your values.”
UPDATE, 8:54 PM: The first round of voting has begun.
UPDATE, 9:25 PM: Results of the first round of voting are in, at last. (The tally committee did an exceptional job counting and recounting!) The top three candidates are Javier Valdez with twenty votes, Sylvester Cann with thirty-three votes, and Gerry Pollet with thirty-seven votes. They will be moving on to the next round. No votes were disqualified.
UPDATE, 9:40 PM: Results of the second round of voting are in. Javier Valdez received nineteen votes, Sylvester Cann received thirty eight votes, and Gerry Pollet remains the leader, with forty-eight votes.
We are now headed to a runoff between Sylvester and Gerry.
UPDATE, 9:53 PM: We have a winner! On the third runoff ballot, Gerry Pollet received fifty-seven votes (gaining twenty from the last count), and Sylvester Cann received forty-seven (gaining ten from the last count).
UPDATE, 9:58 PM: The executive board of the King County Democratic Central Committee has voted unanimously to adopt the results of tonight’s caucus. So the list of names sent to the King County Council will consist of Javier Valdez (at #3), Sylvester Cann (at #2) and Gerry Pollet (at #1).
The King County Council is expected to honor the wishes of the 46th District Democrats and the King County Democrats, and select Gerry Pollet (who heads the list) as the next representative from the 46th District.