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.

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Candace Faber alleges that Republican State Senator Joe Fain raped her eleven years ago

Management consultant and usability expert Candace Faber has accused Washington State Senator Joe Fain of raping her eleven years ago in a series of tweets after watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford describe being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh front of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier today.

“If it’s bad that Blasey Ford waited to raise this until Kavanaugh got to the highest levels of government, then maybe the rest of us shouldn’t sit on our secrets just crossing our fingers that they won’t come into more power,” she wrote.

“So okay, let’s do it,” she continued. “Senator Fain, you raped me the night I graduated from Georgetown in 2007. Then you had the audacity to ask me to support your campaign. I’ve been terrified of running into you since moving home and seeing your name everywhere. I’m done being silent.”

“I’m done playing games in my head of how I’d react if I ran into you at a social or political event,” she added in a subsequent tweet. “I’m done leaving rooms when your name is mentioned. I’m done being scared.”

Faber has previously written about her sexual assault (warning: language), but chose not to name her assailant. That changed today after the latest Kavanauigh hearing.

“It was a decision I made in the moment,” she explained on Medium.

“However, it feels like a decision I have been building up to for a long time. Over the past several years, I have spoken with many people and written publicly about the details of my sexual assault. Until recently, I withheld my rapist’s name, even in private conversations. I hoped that I could help change the culture of sexual assault without needing to say his name. I no longer believe that to be the case.”

“We cannot heal without accountability.”

Fain, who represents the 47th Legislative District, is an important figure in the Washington State Senate Republican caucus, serving as floor leader. In the past legislative session, he broke repeatedly with his own party to support bills to advance progressive causes, including the repeal of the death penalty.

Fain denies that he ever assaulted Faber, and is calling for an investigation.

While we believe Faber and commend her for her courage, we agree with Governor Inslee and Senate leadership that there ought to be an investigation by law enforcement. We hope Faber will file a police report. Elected leaders like Fain can of course be held accountable in the court of public opinion, but this alleged crime deserves to investigated and, if possible, prosecuted in a court of law.

Faber’s friend Sol Villareal offered a message of support following Faber’s tweetstorm.

“I’m fortunate to count Candace Faber as a friend,” Villareal said.

“She told me years ago that Joe Fain had raped her the night she graduated from Georgetown, and we’ve talked about it many times since then. I believed you then, Candace, and I believe you now.”

Fain is seeking a third term in the Washington State Senate this year.

In his previous two campaigns for the Senate (2010 and 2014), Fain benefited from a favorable political environment for Republicans. From 2006 to 2010, the 47th Legislative District was represented exclusively by Democrats, but in 2010, Fain defeated Claudia Kauffman to become the district’s senator, while Mark Hargrove defeated Geoff Simpson to become one of the district’s two representatives.

(The district’s other representative is Pat Sullivan, the House Majority Leader, who is one of the most senior Democrats in the Legislature.)

Fain’s 2010 victory over Kauffman deprived the Legislature of one of its most groundbreaking legislators. Kauffman was the first Native American woman ever to be elected to the Washington State Senate, and was a champion for indigenous Washingtonians. While in office, she sponsored legislation to certify teachers of native languages and culture and expand the Native American Scholarship Endowment.

This year, Fain does not have the benefit of a Republican tailwind. He faces Democratic challenger Mona Das, a small business owner. In the Top Two election held last month, Das held Fain to under 54% of the vote.

Having finished less than 2,500 votes behind Fain in Round One, Das was already well positioned to compete with Fain in the November general election before the events of today. Now, the contest in the 47th will likely become even more competitive.

It’s a nightmare scenario for Republicans, who are already struggling to hold onto several other Senate seats around the state. Democrats are looking to knock out Mark Miloscia in the 30th and Doug Ericksen in the 42nd, while capitalizing on the retirements of Michael Baumgartner in the 5th and Jan Angel in the 26th.

If Democrats win all those races plus the 47th without losing any of their own, they’d gain a total of five seats, increasing their Senate majority from twenty-five to thirty.

As the assault Faber describes took place in the District of Columbia, which is under federal jurisdiction, it will need to be investigated by the authorities there. We hope that investigation can be swiftly initiated in the interests of justice.

POSTSCRIPT: KUOW’s Sydney Brownstone has published a well written, extensively researched story about Faber’s trauma which is worth reading.

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