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.

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

  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.

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