Following in the footsteps of his idol Mark Miloscia, Federal Way City Councilmember and former Democratic legislative assistant Martin Moore announced today that he is joining the Republican Party and will run against Democratic State Representative Carol Gregory for the seat held by Freeman prior to his death last October.
Moore, thirty, belonged to the 30th District Democrats for years and sought both their support and that of the King County Democrats when he ran for Federal Way City Council. However, he drifted away from the party after backing Mark Miloscia’s bid for the Senate as a Republican last year, and consequently, he did not participate in the special nominating caucus to draw up a list of names to succeed Freeman, though he clearly wants to be Freeman’s successor.
King County records show that Moore has served as a Democratic precinct committee officer in the 30th District for multiple terms, and I understand he was also a delegate to the State Democratic Convention in 2012 and 2010.
Moore has long had an association with Mark Miloscia; he managed Miloscia’s unsuccessful campaign for state auditor in 2012 and remained close to Miloscia and his family after the campaign ended. I have no doubt Miloscia played a major role in recruiting Moore into the Republican Party. The Republicans needed a candidate to go up against Carol Gregory, and who better, they figure, than an acolyte of Mark Miloscia’s? Miloscia had no trouble getting elected last year.
But Martin Moore is not Mark Miloscia. For one thing, Moore has only been on the ballot once before, as a candidate for city council. For another, Moore’s story about his transformation into a Republican simply doesn’t check out.
Moore told the Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner, “The party has become so incredibly intolerant of people who might disagree with them on some issues… The party has shifted enormously, and it’s gone to the far left.”
This is utter nonsense, and Moore knows it. The Democratic Party’s position on issues like reproductive rights and LGBT civil rights has been unchanged for years. It’s true that when Miloscia ran for auditor, he was harshly criticized by some Democratic activists for his views on those issues. But other Democratic activists strongly defended him and worked to build support for his candidacy.
Miloscia was not driven out of the Democratic Party; he left it of his own volition. The Republican Party came calling, and Miloscia responded to its siren song. Now Moore is doing the same thing, undoubtedly at Miloscia’s urging.
But, as I said, his story just doesn’t check out. Miloscia, who is Catholic, has long been known as a partial conservative opposed to abortion under any circumstances, and opposed to marriage equality. Miloscia accepts what his church teaches.
Moore, however, has previously told the Democratic Party he supports reproductive rights. When Moore ran for Federal Way City Council, he filled out a King County Democratic questionnaire which asked the question, “Do you support women’s absolute right to reproductive freedom?” Moore’s answer was YES.
But now that Moore is following in the footsteps of Mark Miloscia, he has aligned his views with those of his idol’s, and those of the Republican Party’s.
Republican operative Keith Schipper, who was briefly Rodney Tom’s campaign manager before Tom decided to bow out of politics, has already been put in charge of Moore’s nascent campaign for state representative.
Schipper has wasted no time making Moore sound like another dishonest Republican foot soldier. Take a look at this excerpt from his press release:
Democrats have had a firm grip on Olympia for 30 years and what do we have to show for it? Declining wages, a court order to reform and fund our schools, crumbling roads and bridges, skyrocketing college tuition, and an inefficient and ineffective government… It has been the Republicans who have put the people – not special interests – first.
If Moore really believes that the party of George Bush, Jeb Bush, ExxonMobil, BP, the Koch brothers, Mitt Romney, and Sheldon Adelson is the party of the people, I have a large and very expensive bridge to Idaho I’d be happy to sell him.
It is not accurate to say that Democrats “have had a firm grip on Olympia [meaning state government] for thirty years”.
(Keith Schipper, incidentally, is very fond of using Olympia in his press releases as a metonym for state government. We don’t do that because Olympia is a city in its own right, home to nearly fifty thousand people.)
While Democrats have held the governor’s mansion since 1985, they have not continuously controlled the Legislature or all of the other executive department positions (there are a total of nine) during that time.
Though Washington tends to vote Democratic in statewide races, Republicans have held the Secretary of State’s office since the 1960s, and for eight years of this young century, a Republican was the attorney general.
A quick look at the history of the Legislature shows us that Republicans controlled both houses of the Legislature in the 1990s; they controlled the state Senate for two years in the early 2000s, and they control the state Senate now.
It is the Republicans who have historically stood in the way of progress on all the fronts Moore’s quote refers to, and are doing so again today.
In the late 1990s, Washington’s labor movement sponsored an initiative to increase the minimum wage and require the Department of Labor & Industries to adjust it upwards in the future. The Democratic Party supported this initiative, which passed overwhelmingly. The Republican Party opposed it.
In 2005, Governor Chris Gregoire and the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a landmark transportation package to invest in crumbling roads and bridges. Republican talk show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur launched an initiative (I‑912) to repeal the package’s main funding mechanism, which was endorsed by the Republican Party. Voters, however, defeated their initiative.
And, over the course of the last fifteen years, the Republican Party has regularly supported Tim Eyman’s repeated attempts to wreck state government and choke our common wealth. Like Eyman, the Republican Party’s agenda has been to put the needs and wants of powerful corporations ahead of the public interest.
It is no accident that our schools and other vital public services are underfunded: they got that way principally thanks to Eyman’s destructive initiatives and Republicans’ scorched earth opposition to meaningful progressive tax reform.
We’ve now had divided government for two years, and despite Rodney Tom’s boasting, it hasn’t produced any results for Washington State. We ended up with an operating budget that can’t even be called mediocre after coming dangerously close to a government shutdown, and Senate Republicans spent so much time quarrelling amongst themselves behind closed doors that they couldn’t even manage to craft a transportation package they liked and bring it to a vote.
This year, we are several billion dollars short of the amount of money needed to fulfill our obligations, but Republicans — led by my obstinate state Senator Andy Hill — deny there’s even a problem. They seem incapable even of basic arithmetic.
If Martin Moore wants to make these people his new political best friends, that’s his choice. But as he’ll soon discover, the very things he has just squandered (trust and authenticity) matter more than anything else in politics.
And as the Republicans will soon discover, his candidacy will not enjoy the same credibility or support that Miloscia’s did.