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, January 24th, 2017

Brian Dansel resigns; Washington’s Senate Republicans lose their majority (temporarily)

Repub­li­cans are tem­porar­i­ly with­out a major­i­ty in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate owing to the res­ig­na­tion of 7th Dis­trict Sen­a­tor Bri­an Dansel, who has just tak­en a job in neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump’s administration.

Dansel’s res­ig­na­tion, effec­tive as of 1 PM today, leaves the Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus with just twen­ty-four mem­bers, includ­ing Tim Shel­don (R‑35th Dis­trict), who calls him­self a Demo­c­rat, but walks, talks, and acts like a Repub­li­can, and is con­sid­ered to be a Repub­li­can by this orga­ni­za­tion and this publication.

How­ev­er, the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion requires that bills pass the Leg­is­la­ture with an absolute major­i­ty in each house. It takes twen­ty-five sen­a­tors to pass a bill; there are forty-nine dis­tricts in the state, each with one senator.

So until Dansel’s suc­ces­sor is cho­sen, Sen­ate Repub­li­cans will not be able to move any leg­is­la­tion off the floor on their own. They will need the coop­er­a­tion of Sen­ate Democ­rats and/or Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Cyrus Habib to do anything.

By law, Dansel’s imme­di­ate appoint­ed suc­ces­sor will have to be one of three names select­ed by the statu­to­ry Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, or a cau­cus act­ing in the cen­tral com­mit­tee’s name and with its authority.

The 7th spans mul­ti­ple coun­ties (Pend Oreille, Stevens, Okanogan, Spokane, Fer­ry), so the leg­isla­tive bod­ies of each of those coun­ties will need to agree on one of the names in order to make a joint appointment.

If they can’t agree with­in a cou­ple of months, Gov­er­nor Inslee will pick.

Tim Eyman enabler Doug Erick­sen (R‑42nd Dis­trict: Fer­n­dale, Lyn­den, What­com Coun­ty) is also tak­ing a job in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion but has stat­ed that he does­n’t plan to resign his seat. There is also spec­u­la­tion that fel­low Eyman enabler Michael Baum­gart­ner will also be get­ting a fed­er­al job from Trump and might be resign­ing from the Sen­ate as well.

Dansel’s depar­ture means there will now be a total of five spe­cial elec­tions in Wash­ing­ton State for Sen­ate this year. The affect­ed dis­tricts are:

  • 7th (Dansel’s district)
  • 31st (vacan­cy cre­at­ed by res­ig­na­tion of Pam Roach, elect­ed to the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil in Novem­ber of 2016)
  • 37th (vacan­cy cre­at­ed by the res­ig­na­tion of Prami­la Jaya­pal, elect­ed to the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Novem­ber of 2016)
  • 45th (vacan­cy cre­at­ed by the death of Andy Hill from can­cer in 2016)
  • 48th (vacan­cy cre­at­ed by res­ig­na­tion of Cyrus Habib, elect­ed as the state’s new lieu­tenant gov­er­nor in Novem­ber of 2016)

The 6th will join the list if Baum­gart­ner resigns.

With all the spe­cial Sen­ate elec­tions, it’s going to feel more like an even-num­bered leg­isla­tive elec­tion year than in odd-num­bered local elec­tion year in many respects.

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One Comment

  1. It will take hard work, but a Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty in the sen­ate is indeed possible.

    # by Mike Barer :: January 25th, 2017 at 7:49 AM
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