Good evening from Federal Way. I’m here at the headquarters of the Washington Education Association, where the Democratic precinct committee officers of the 30th Legislative District are gathered to draw up a list of candidates to succeed the late Roger Freeman. First elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 2012, Freeman was in the final days of the campaign for a second term when he tragically succumbed to colon cancer.
Because Freeman went on to win the election posthumously, a vacancy now exists for state representative in the 30th. The Washington State Constitution stipulates that the process for filling a Democratic legislative vacancy begins with the naming of three candidates from the same district and of the same party by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
The WSDCC, of which I am a member, specifies in its bylaws that when a vacancy is declared, the state party chair shall call a special nominating caucus of precinct committee officers from that district for the purpose of drawing up a list of three names to recommend to the WSDCC for its consideration.
That’s what’s happening tonight. I will be updating this post at periodic intervals to summarize the proceedings that are taking place.
7:07 PM: The meeting has been called to order by State Party Secretary and NPI Advisory Council member Rob Dolin.
7:15 PM: Rob has welcomed everyone to the meeting; the first item of business was a parliamentary inquiry as to whether the agenda for the nominating caucus could be amended. Rob ruled it could not be amended because the caucus was a special meeting called by the state party, and not the 30th District Democrats. His decision was appealed and sustained on appeal.
7:20 PM: Rob has finished reading a letter penned by State Party Chair Jaxon Ravens welcoming the PCOs to the caucus.
7:38 PM: The caucus has just decided what method of voting to use in drawing up the list of three names. The state party offered two different voting methods. PCO Keith Tyler rose to propose an alternative method of voting, which Rob ruled out of order. Keith appealed the ruling, but Rob’s decision was upheld. The caucus then opted to use the first proposed method of voting, which will consist of a set of three elections… one for the first spot on the list, another for the second spot on the list, and still another for the third spot.
7:42 PM: On to candidate nominations.
- Michael Kun has nominated Richard Champion
- Jodi Riker-Yap has nominated Hope Elder
- Walter Brooks has nominated Roger Flygare
- Ginny Leach has nominated Carol Gregory
- Karen Backman has nominated Shari Song
- Rose Osherin Edwards has nominated herself
30th LD Chair Tim Burns has moved to close nominations. Motion carries.
7:50 PM: The caucus has voted to recess for fifteen minutes to allow PCOs to mingle with the candidates or visit the washroom.
8:08 PM: We’re returned from recess. We’re moving on to candidate speeches. Candidates will speak in the order that they were nominated. Each candidate and their supporters will have five minutes to speak, so we’ll have a half hour’s worth of speecifying here tonight. Then we’ll proceed to voting.
8:46 PM: The speeches have concluded. There are twenty-nine precinct committee officers present and able to vote (which is a good turnout). The first ballots have been cast and are now being counted.
8:54 PM: Here are the results from the first round of voting:
- Richard Champion: 9
- Hope Elder: 1
- Roger Flygare: 7
- Carol Gregory: 8
- Shari Song: 4
- Rose Osherin Edwards: 0
We now move to a runoff between Richard Champion and Carol Gregory.
9:02 PM: Here are the results from the second round of voting:
- Richard Champion: 14
- Carol Gregory: 15
Talk about close! Carol Gregory is the first place finisher.… by one vote.
9:09 PM: Here are the results from the third round of voting (for second place):
- Richard Champion: 17
- Roger Flygare: 6
- Shari Song: 6
Richard Champion won an outright majority and is therefore the second place finisher. We are now into the fourth round of voting.
9:15 PM: Here are the results from the fourth round of voting (for third place):
- Roger Flygare: 10
- Shari Song: 14
- Hope Elder: 2
- Rose Osherin Edwards: 2
There will be one final vote… a runoff between Roger Flygare and Shari Song.
9:24 PM: Here are the results from the fifth/final found of voting (for third place):
- Roger Flygare: 11
- Shari Song: 18
Shari Song won an outright majority and will be the third name on the list.
9:28 PM: The special caucus is adjourned. The names of Carol Gregory, Richard Champion, and Shari Song will be recommended to the WSDCC for transmission to the Pierce and King County Councils.