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, July 24th, 2018

Proving he’s a born-again Republican, Rodney Tom endorses Dino Rossi for Congress

EDITOR’S NOTE: After this post was published, Dino Rossi’s campaign removed Rodney Tom’s name from its list of endorsements, with campaign manager Andrew Bell telling The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner that Tom’s inclusion was “a mistake”.

For his part, Tom told The Stranger over the phone: “I never officially endorsed Dino Rossi. He’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat.”

Never officially?

That’s a tacit admission that Tom at least discussed an endorsement of Rossi’s candidacy with Rossi’s campaign or other Republican officials. And that makes sense. Otherwise, why would Tom’s name have been on Rossi’s endorsements list to begin with? Tom obviously doesn’t have a problem with enabling militant right wing Republicans, but has apparently calculated that a public endorsement of Rossi would jeopardize his credibility with voters in the 48th District.

Our original post follows:


Six years ago, when party switcher and shameless opportunist Rodney Tom struck a deal with Republicans to deliver control of the Washington State Senate into their hands, he insisted that he was still a Democrat, even though he’d just proved through his actions that he’d become a born-again Republican.

Since that time, to prop up his claim that he is still a Democrat, Tom has emphasized that he supports Democratic candidates and causes at the federal level. For example, he told The Seattle Times back in the spring that he supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2016, and he has long complained that Dave Reichert badly represents Washington’s 8th District in Congress.

(In 2007, for six weeks, Tom was even a Democratic candidate for Congress running against Reichert, but he ended his campaign after deciding he simply couldn’t compete with fundraising powerhouse Darcy Burner.)

Yesterday, however, Tom’s name appeared on the list of endorsements unveiled by Dino Rossi, who is making his fourth bid for higher office after being defeated twice by Chris Gregoire for Governor and once by Patty Murray for the U.S. Senate.

Democratic activists probably won’t find this a very surprising development.

After all, Rodney Tom enabled militant, right wing Republicans to turn the Washington State Senate into a graveyard of progress for half a decade; then, after leaving the Senate, he teamed up with some of Tim Eyman’s wealthy benefactors in a failed attempt to smear two of the incumbent progressive justices seeking reelection to the Washington State Supreme Court. It’s only logical that Tom now wants to enable Republicans like Rossi at the federal level.

But what about Democratic voters in the 48th? If they’re new to the area or don’t pay close attention, they may not be aware of all this history.

Tom is advertising himself to them as a Democrat, just like his opponent, Senator Patty Kuderer. Importantly, the ballots sent to voters do not distinguish between who has the party’s support (Kuderer) and who doesn’t (Tom).

“Prefers Democratic Party” is the label that disingenuously appears next to Tom’s name on the ballot, despite the fact that he doesn’t prefer the Democratic Party at all, chose long ago to sever his association with the party by betraying it, and is considered by its grassroots activists to be an agent of the opposition.

Meanwhile, on his website (plus the cards that he leaves for left-leaning voters), Tom professes to be a “socially progressive and fiscally responsible Democrat”.

However, Tom’s endorsement of Dino Rossi is the latest and best proof of all that he is actually none of those things.

No one who truly cares about issues like women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, or gun safety would ever endorse a militant right wing Republican for Congress who opposes all of those priorities.

No one who truly believes in fiscal responsibility and fiscal strength would ever endorse a candidate for Congress who wholeheartedly supports the Trump tax scam that Republicans jammed through Congress during the holidays last year.

And no one who is truly a Democrat would ever endorse a candidate from the other party for the U.S. House. A vote for Dino Rossi is a vote for the status quo in our nation’s capital… a status quo in which Wrecker-in-Chief Donald Trump has a free hand to continue destroying America’s alliances and essential public services.

Even previously-loyal Republicans like former FBI Director James Comey and John McCain’s 2008 campaign strategist Steve Schmidt know this, which is why they’re telling everyone to vote Democratic in the 2018 midterms.

Rodney Tom is essentially giving anyone who will listen the opposite advice: Support Dino Rossi in the 8th District in 2018 and ensure the 8th District gets a representative that is even more pro-Trump than the one it has now!

Again, no true Democrat would ever do something like this.

But someone who is desperate to get his old job back at any cost would. Someone who needs the support of Republican voters in order to get elected again would. Someone hungry to resume his old power games would. In a heartbeat.

A picture of Rodney Tom might as well adorn the dictionary definition of the word opportunist. He is the epitome of the stereotype.

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