NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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, January 12th, 2015

Democrats settle score with Tim Sheldon by electing Pam Roach as President Pro Tem

Wash­ing­ton State’s Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus made the most of an oppor­tu­ni­ty to hold Tim Shel­don account­able for his treach­ery at the end of 2012 by join­ing forces this after­noon with mil­i­tant Repub­li­cans Don Ben­ton and Pam Roach to elect the rene­gade Roach as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate.

Shel­don had expect­ed the posi­tion to go to him a sec­ond time (it first went to him as a con­se­quence of the pow­er coup he and and Rod­ney Tom engi­neered with the Sen­ate Repub­li­cans in 2012) but Democ­rats bril­liant­ly turned the tables on him and the Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus’ lead­er­ship in an unex­pect­ed maneu­ver that result­ed in the posi­tion going to Roach instead.

The final vote was twen­ty-five for Roach and twen­ty-four for Shel­don. A major­i­ty vote car­ried the day (take note, Tim Eyman) and Roach was duly elect­ed and sworn in as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore by Chief Jus­tice Bar­bara Mad­sen.

Real­iz­ing what the Democ­rats were up to, Repub­li­can floor leader Joe Fain placed Sen­a­tor Karen Fraser’s name into nom­i­na­tion. But none of the Democ­rats, Fras­er includ­ed, vot­ed for Fras­er. Instead, they pro­vid­ed the bulk of the votes need­ed to get Pam Roach elect­ed, with Roach and Ben­ton sup­ply­ing the final two votes.

It was real­ly some­thing else to watch. See­ing the faces of the pow­er-hun­gry Sen­ate Repub­li­cans as they real­ized they were get­ting played was incred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing. Schoesler and Shel­don only found out some­thing was up short­ly before the vote.

Shel­don, of course, is in no posi­tion to dis­par­age Roach or Ben­ton. He want­ed pow­er two years ago and made a deal to get it. He can hard­ly com­plain about his col­leagues’ actions. After all, he chose them as cau­cus-mates first!

The posi­tion of Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore of the Sen­ate, like that of Pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate, is most­ly cer­e­mo­ni­al, although it does guar­an­tee a seat on the very impor­tant Sen­ate Rules Com­mit­tee as Vice Chair.

Pro Tem­pore is Latin, and it basi­cal­ly means for the time being in Eng­lish. The Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore is the per­son who fills in when the Pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate — Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Brad Owen — is absent. Ordi­nar­i­ly, Owen is present and able to pre­side, but that’s not always the case.

The posi­tions of Vice Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore and Sec­re­tary of the Sen­ate went to Sharon Brown and Hunter Good­man, as antic­i­pat­ed.

Amus­ing­ly, the Leg­is­la­ture’s web­site con­tin­ues to list Tim Shel­don as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore. I’m sure they’ll get that cor­rect­ed by the end of the day, if not soon­er.

Tim Sheldon's entry on the Washington State Senate roster

Tim Shel­don’s entry on the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate ros­ter still lists him, incor­rect­ly, as both a Demo­c­rat and the Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore. Shel­don cau­cus­es with the Repub­li­cans, votes like a Repub­li­can, and won reelec­tion with most­ly Repub­li­can sup­port.

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5 Comments

  1. So, how does this move advance our agen­da and pro­mote Demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues?

    # by Mike Barer :: January 13th, 2015 at 7:22 AM
  2. And how would vot­ing for Shel­don advance our agen­da or pro­mote Demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues? Nei­ther accom­plish that goal in the short term. But push­ing Shel­don out helps in the long run, and putting Wash­ing­ton’s own ver­sion of Palin-Bach­mann in a posi­tion where she can cause the most pub­lic embar­rass­ment is also good from a long term strat­e­gy per­spec­tive. I hope for moves like this from the Democ­rats in Olympia.

    # by Worf :: January 13th, 2015 at 7:22 PM
  3. Where did I sug­gest vot­ing for Shel­don?

    # by Mike Barer :: January 15th, 2015 at 8:23 AM
  4. For years Shel­don has been going on about the virtues of his cross­ing the aisle to find solu­tions. Well, this is one time I com­plete­ly agree. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass, Tim.

    # by Tom Davis :: January 16th, 2015 at 9:56 AM
  5. In the midst of this tit for tat, we have to remem­ber the vot­ers.

    # by Mike Barer :: January 17th, 2015 at 8:45 AM

2 Pings

  1. […] all 23 Democ­rats joined with two crazy Repub­li­cans to elect shoot­ing-spree-wait­ing-to-hap­pen Pam Roach the new Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate. Back in 2010, Roach was famous­ly “phys­i­cal­ly […]

  2. […] « Democ­rats set­tle score with Tim Shel­don by elect­ing Pam Roach as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 14th, 2015 […]