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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Latest spat between Republicans in the Washington State Senate proves Rodney Tom’s “majority coalition” is a fiction

In the wake of the Washington State Senate’s speedy vote in favor of an improved version of the DREAM Act, several of the more uncompromising members of the Republican Caucus have decided to declare their independence from Rodney Tom’s so-called “Majority Coalition Caucus” by having their names scrubbed from the MCC’s website, the Seattle Times’ Brian Rosenthal is reporting.

Janea Holmquist Newbry, Pam Roach, Don Benton, and one other Republican senator are evidently still mad about last week’s surprise vote, in which a bipartisan majority of the Senate voted to approve legislation that would allow the state to provide financial aid to new young Americans who want to go to college here but lack citizenship because they were brought into the country illegally.

“I will not participate in the Majority Coalition Caucus when they promote things that are in opposition to standard Republican ideas,” Don Benton told Rosenthal.

The obnoxious Benton went on to slam Tom as “the worst majority leader in twenty years” according to a tweet posted by Rosenthal.

We find Benton’s fuming amusing, considering that he has previously taken credit for Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon’s power grab. In late 2012 Benton released a statement saying how proud he was that his narrow victory over Democrat Tim Probst made the coup possible. (Voters had elected a Democratic majority to govern both the House and the Senate just a few weeks prior).

For her part, Roach told Rosenthal that she and other hardline Republicans plan to reassert control by bringing forth an amendment to caucus rules requiring that any significant bill get a roll call vote within the caucus before being sent to the floor. Supposedly, that proposal came up for consideration this afternoon.

This public infighting validates what we have been saying about Tom’s power grab since day one. There is no “majority coalition caucus” because there is no coalition and no majority. There is, rather, a very uneasy power-sharing agreement, which has produced disastrous results, especially for the people of Washington State.

It’s clear that Republicans like Pam Roach and Don Benton do not consider Rodney Tom to be their leader. They’ve become quite accustomed to getting their way since late 2012, when Tom and Sheldon sold out their Democratic colleagues and agreed to become enablers of Republican extremism.

Last week was one of the few exceptions to that. We have rarely seen suburban Republicans break ranks and join Democrats to pass sensible legislation.

Roach, Benton, Holmquist Newbry, et al. undoubtedly view the power sharing agreement with Tom and Sheldon as a temporary alliance of convenience.

If Republicans had just one more seat in the Senate, they would actually have outright control over the chamber and wouldn’t need to put up with Tom or Sheldon, who is president pro tempore under the power sharing agreement. They could name their own majority leader and relegate the pair to the back bench.

Conversely, Democrats need only two seats to regain the majority in 2014 and put Republicans back in the minority.

Tom’s seat is considered one of the most likely to flip, since the 48th LD is among the most Democratic of Washington’s suburban districts. Democrats are fielding former Kirkland City Councilmember Joan McBride in that race.

In the nearby 45th, the party is backing Navy veteran and Amazon product manager Matt Isenhower to take on Andy Hill. In the 28th, meanwhile, Democratic State Representative Tami Green is challenging freshman Republican Steve O’Ban.

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One Comment

  1. Benton is certainly an asset to the Democrats. I think the Democratic Party stinks to high heaven, but that doesn’t mean I support a Republican like Benton either.

    # by Lance Sjogren :: February 13th, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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