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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.

Monday, April 21st, 2014

State Representative Cyrus Habib launches campaign for state Senate in 48th District

Last week, when Rod­ney Tom announced his deci­sion to retire from the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, we observed that Tom’s depar­ture would like­ly result in a major shake­up in the race, with either State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ross Hunter or Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cyrus Habib get­ting in, and cur­rent sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date Joan McBride swap­ping places with one of them. As I wrote at the time:

In retir­ing, Tom has dealt the Repub­li­can Par­ty a major blow and bol­stered Democ­rats’ hopes of retak­ing the state Sen­ate. The 48th LD is per­haps the most Demo­c­ra­t­ic of the state’s sub­ur­ban leg­isla­tive dis­tricts. And since the redis­trict­ing of 2011, it has become bluer still, vot­ing almost exclu­sive­ly for Democ­rats.

In 2012, this became very evi­dent when Ross Hunter and Cyrus Habib won their state House races by dou­ble-dig­it spreads. Habib, a first time can­di­date, dis­patched Repub­li­can Hank Myers – a Red­mond City Coun­cilmem­ber! – with aston­ish­ing ease. His mas­sive blowout vic­to­ry shows that the 48th is now a solid­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict.

With Tom gone, the way is now clear for either Hunter or Habib to run. One of them like­ly will declare for state Sen­ate, and Joan McBride will then be well posi­tioned to run for whichev­er House seat then opens up. The Wash­ing­ton Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cam­paign (WSDC) would undoubt­ed­ly pre­fer to have a proven win­ner as its can­di­date, so it can direct mon­ey and resources into oth­er dis­tricts.

Turns out that is exact­ly what’s hap­pen­ing.

This morn­ing, in a pair of press releas­es, Habib and McBride offi­cial­ly announced their new plans for 2014. Habib is run­ning for Sen­ate and endors­ing McBride for his House seat. McBride is now seek­ing Habib’s posi­tion in the House, with the addi­tion­al bless­ing of the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus. They’re switch­ing places.

“I am proud to rep­re­sent a dis­trict that leads the coun­try in inno­va­tion and inven­tion,” Habib said in a state­ment. “It is crit­i­cal that we make the need­ed invest­ments in human and phys­i­cal cap­i­tal to secure our con­tin­ued pros­per­i­ty and com­pet­i­tive­ness. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the Repub­li­can lead­ers in the State Sen­ate have punt­ed on the most press­ing issues of the day: edu­ca­tion fund­ing, trans­porta­tion invest­ments, and job growth. I am run­ning to bring both my leg­isla­tive expe­ri­ence and our dis­tric­t’s social­ly pro­gres­sive yet pro eco­nom­ic growth val­ues to the State Sen­ate, where I know I can make an even greater dif­fer­ence.”

“I am excit­ed to work with Joan as a col­league who shares my pas­sion for strong com­mu­ni­ties, good schools and a trans­porta­tion sys­tem that works,” he added. “I appre­ci­ate the oppor­tu­ni­ty to join–and improve the effec­tive­ness — of the State Sen­ate, and look for­ward to the cam­paign ahead.”

McBride, for her part, said she’s ready to join the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus and announced sup­port from sev­er­al East­side lead­ers for her new cam­paign.

“I orig­i­nal­ly ran for two rea­sons: to defeat Rod­ney Tom and bring my per­spec­tive and expe­ri­ence as a long­time East­side Civic leader to Olympia and con­tin­ue my record of ser­vice,” said McBride. “With Tom out, my pri­or­i­ty is to do what’s need­ed to make a dif­fer­ence on issues that mat­ter — fix­ing trans­porta­tion and tran­sit, invest­ing in our schools and fam­i­lies, and pro­tect­ing our envi­ron­ment.  I think I can make the most imme­di­ate impact as part of a dynam­ic team in the state House.”

“I’m proud of the pres­sure we put on Tom, and will con­tin­ue cam­paign­ing with the same excite­ment and focus for the House,” she said.  “For me, it’s always been about serv­ing the peo­ple in the best way I know how, not the par­tic­u­lar office.”

“I’m excit­ed for Joan to join our cau­cus and efforts to com­plete 520, fund our schools and pro­tect the char­ac­ter and qual­i­ty of our east­side com­mu­ni­ties,” said senior Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lar­ry Springer, who has rep­re­sent­ed the neigh­bor­ing 45th LD since 2005. “She is a strong, prin­ci­pled voice for our region and will make an imme­di­ate, pos­i­tive impact in the House.”

McBride is also run­ning for House with the sup­port of Ross Hunter, Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine, and the may­ors of Red­mond, Kirk­land, and Belle­vue (John Mar­chione, Amy Walen, and Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci).

“I know I speak for many when I say that I am thrilled Joan is going to cam­paign for the House, and we will see her in action next year in Olympia — where we des­per­ate­ly need her pas­sion and com­mit­ment to our fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties,” said Bal­duc­ci, who has been on the Belle­vue City Coun­cil for many years. (Belle­vue has a coun­cil-man­ag­er form of gov­ern­ment, as does Kirk­land).

So, that’s that. The musi­cal chairs have stopped for the time being: Cyrus Habib is now the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s can­di­date for Sen­ate in the 48th, and Joan McBride is the can­di­date for the House seat he is vacat­ing. Habib is a proven win­ner and well liked in his dis­trict; he will be favored to win in Novem­ber against who­ev­er the Repub­li­cans send up against him. McBride will be very well posi­tioned to win as well, since the Repub­li­cans had­n’t found any­one cred­i­ble to chal­lenge Habib.

What a dif­fer­ence a week makes. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is now in excel­lent shape in the 48th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, and poised for a sweep of leg­isla­tive races there this fall. That will free up resources to go to races in the 45th and 28th.

I know from talk­ing to activists in the 48th that Cyrus Habib was always at the top of the list of who they want­ed to see take on Rod­ney Tom. He is uni­ver­sal­ly admired and respect­ed with­in the 48th Dis­trict Democ­rats. Thanks to Rod­ney Tom’s deci­sion to retire — the best thing he ever did for his dis­trict — the 48th Dis­trict Democ­rats are get­ting the Sen­ate can­di­date many of them always want­ed.

Joan McBride, mean­while, is step­ping into a race that she has an even bet­ter chance of win­ning. As a new mem­ber of the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus from the East­side, she will have plen­ty of influ­ence in the cau­cus room, and she will have quite a few col­leagues that she can count on for advice and coun­sel, includ­ing Lar­ry Springer, Ross Hunter, Roger Good­man, Judy Clib­born, and Tana Senn.

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