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.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Hilary Franz ahead of four other Democrats in contest for Commissioner of Public Lands

Future­wise Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Hilary Franz appears to have earned a spot on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot as the Demo­c­rat with the most sup­port for Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands. She’s cur­rent­ly ahead of four oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates — King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Dave Upthe­grove, for­mer Spokane May­or Mary Vern­er, Karen Porter­field, and John Still­ings.

Repub­li­can Steve McLaugh­lin is in first place with 39% of the vote, hav­ing not had any oth­er Repub­li­cans to split the vote with.

How they fared: Can­di­dates com­pet­ing for Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands

  1. Steve McLaugh­lin, Repub­li­can: 39.12%, 293,190 votes
  2. Hilary Franz, Demo­c­rat: 20.83%, 156,112 votes
  3. Dave Upthe­grove, Demo­c­rat: 13.53%, 101,396 votes
  4. Mary Vern­er, Demo­c­rat: 12.85%; 96,345 votes
  5. Karen Porter­field, Demo­c­rat: 5.13%; 38,472 votes
  6. Steven Niel­son: 4.68%; 35,096 votes
  7. John Still­ings, Demo­c­rat: 3.85%; 28,878 votes

Upthe­grove and Vern­er are well behind Franz, so it’s unlike­ly they have a chance of becom­ing com­pet­i­tive for sec­ond place. In her cam­paign, Franz enjoyed the sup­port of the Wom­en’s Polit­i­cal Cau­cus and NARAL. Each bestowed a sole endorse­ment on her, which undoubt­ed­ly helped her can­di­da­cy. She also ben­e­fit­ed from inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures intend­ed to bol­ster her name recog­ni­tion.

Local Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty orga­ni­za­tions typ­i­cal­ly opt­ed to back Franz and Upthe­grove, or just one of the two, if they made an endorse­ment at all.

In the gen­er­al elec­tion, Franz will have no Demo­c­ra­t­ic rivals, so she should be able to con­sol­i­date the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote behind her can­di­da­cy. Democ­rats cap­tured the office of Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands eight years ago with Peter Gold­mark, who defeat­ed entrenched Repub­li­can incum­bent Doug Suther­land.

At sum­mer parades, Franz and her ded­i­cat­ed sup­port­ers have been march­ing to the catchy chant of “Hilary Franz for Pub­lic Lands!”

A grad­u­ate of Smith Col­lege and North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty Law School, Franz served for three years as a Bain­bridge Island city coun­cilmem­ber.

As her biog­ra­phy notes, she has exten­sive rel­e­vant board ser­vice:

She sat on the Puget Sound Region­al Coun­cil Growth Man­age­ment Board, the Puget Sound Region­al Coun­cil Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Dis­trict Board, the Puget Sound Salmon Recov­ery Coun­cil, and the Puget Sound Trans­porta­tion Futures Task Force. She was appoint­ed by Gov­er­nor Gre­goire to Wash­ing­ton State’s Cli­mate Action Team IWG on the State Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy Act. She has served on numer­ous boards, includ­ing Con­ser­va­tion North­west, the Wash­ing­ton Envi­ron­men­tal Coun­cil, the Cen­ter for Envi­ron­men­tal Law and Pol­i­cy, and Friends of the Farms.

Franz was able to edge out Upthe­grove by win­ning a plu­ral­i­ty of the vote in King Coun­ty (32.58%) and also best­ing her Demo­c­ra­t­ic rivals in Pierce Coun­ty and Sno­homish Coun­ty, which togeth­er are the state’s largest coun­ties.

Upthe­grove is ahead of Franz in Thurston Coun­ty, while Vern­er is unsur­pris­ing­ly ahead of Franz in Spokane Coun­ty, where she’s from. What­com, Whit­man, and Yaki­ma favored Franz over the oth­er Democ­rats, as did Clark.

POSTSCRIPT: Upthe­grove has grace­ful­ly con­ced­ed.

Just got off the phone with Hilary Franz to con­grat­u­late her on advanc­ing to the gen­er­al elec­tion along with the Repub­li­can in the Lands Com­mis­sion­er race. If she runs the agency with even half the pas­sion and ener­gy that she brought to her cam­paign, the state will be in great hands. Let’s all now help make sure she makes it all the way in Novem­ber. I get to take a vaca­tion and return to a job I love. Thank you to every­one who sup­port­ed me!

Hilary’s response:

Dave — it was an hon­or to run with you. You are a class act. We raised crit­i­cal aware­ness in this cam­paign of the impor­tance of this office and the issues we face regard­ing address­ing cli­mate change and ensur­ing a healthy envi­ron­ment and strong local economies for present and future gen­er­a­tions. Thank you for who you are and what you stand for and how you have worked tire­less­ly for the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton state.

A classy way for both lead­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates to end this con­test.

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