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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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