State Representative and House Finance Committee Chair Reuven Carlyle announced today in a Facebook posting that he will be a candidate to succeed Jeanne Kohl-Welles as State Senator from the 36th Legislative District later this year if Kohl-Welles is successful in winning election to Larry Phillips’ county council seat.
“As we move closer to the general election, it is increasingly likely the wise voters will send my gracious, indefatigable seat mate Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles to serve on the King County Council,” Carlyle noted. (Kohl-Welles only has one opponent, who she is expected to trounce in November).
“This would leave a vacancy for Sen. Kohl-Welles’ Senate seat prior to the 2016 session. I’ve reflected on the options and decided that change, on a personal and professional level, can be healthy and constructive. After seven years in the House, I plan to seek appointment to the probable Senate vacancy.”
“If you are a PCO in the 36th Legislative District, I will reach out directly at the appropriate time to respectfully ask for the honor of your support. There are no less than six highly qualified, passionate, engaged community leaders in our district who have expressed a formal interest in being appointed to my seat in the House. Serving as a citizen legislator and representing the good people of our district and state is a profoundly moving honor. Thank you!”
Carlyle’s announcement immediately drew accolades.
“I wish to offer my seatmate, State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a public and profound thanks for all your work on behalf of the people of the 36th District and Washington State as our Representative,” said Carlyle’s seatmate Gael Tarleton, who serves as Vice President-Secretary of the Northwest Progressive Institute.
“Your devotion to foster children, public education, fair and transparent tax policy,and treatment for those suffering from mental illnesses has changed our communities for the better. Thank you for being willing to keep up the fight for all of us by seeking the appointment to the State Senate in the very likely event that the voters choose the thoughtful, unstoppable Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles to be our voice on the King County Council this November.”
“I am so honored to represent the 36th District in the State House and will look forward to serving in the House with whomever is appointed as representative.”
Six candidates have emerged as possible replacements for Carlyle, who, as mentioned, will be vacating his House seat to move over to the Senate.
- Economic Opportunity Institute executive director John Burbank, who ran for the seat Carlyle now holds in 2008 and lost;
- Former Progressive Majority Washington executive director Noel Frame, who ran for state House in 2012 and lost to Gael Tarleton;
- Attorney and NO on I‑1366 officer Randy Gordon, who succeeded Fred Jarrett in 2010 following Fred’s appointment as Deputy King County Executive, but was unsuccessful in his fall campaign to hold the seat;
- Administrative law judge Jeff Manson, who has served for several years as the chair of the 36th District Democrats;
- Activist Rene Murry, the chair of the Children’s Campaign Fund and owner of Piece by Piece, a firm that helps people relocate;
- Assistant Attorney General Sarah Reyneveld, who has worked for the Attorney General’s office since 2012, and previously as a law clerk.
As the 36th is wholly within the boundaries of King County, the King County Council has the prerogative to make appointments to fill any vacancies in its legislative positions. This means that Kohl-Welles will have a say in who succeeds her, as well as who succeeds Reuven Carlyle in the state House.
In each case, the Council will be selecting from a list of three names drawn up by the King County Democratic Central Committee (KCDCC).
Although the Washington State Constitution gives the responsibility of drawing up the list of names to the central committee, in practice, it will be actually done by a subset of the KCDCC, because state party rules require that the whole KCDCC defer to those of its members who actually live in the district.
A nominating caucus will therefore be called at the appropriate time by King County Democratic Chair Rich Erwin. At the present time, there are two hundred and five Democratic PCOs who are eligible to participate in that caucus. Additional PCOs may be appointed by the time the caucus is called. Only elected and appointed PCOs will have a vote; “acting” PCOs who have adopted a precinct will not have a vote.
Carlyle is a slam dunk for the Senate vacancy. The 36th’s PCOs will need to choose two individuals to appear on the list along with him, but they will most likely be people who have no intention of serving in the Legislature.
The real contest will be for Carlyle’s seat. The candidate who receives the most votes from the PCOs will be listed at the top of the list of three and will be a heavy favorite to get the appointment. However, the list must include multiple names, so three candidates will make it onto the final list to be presented to the Council.
The 36th is one of the most Democratic districts in the state, so whoever gets appointed will in all likelihood become a safe incumbent.
Campaigning for an appointment is not as resource intensive as running for office, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we see additional contenders beyond the six individuals mentioned above step forward and throw their hats into the ring.