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, January 2nd, 2020

Tim Eyman is contemplating running for governor as a Republican, not an independent

Con artist Tim Eyman dis­trib­uted an email mis­sive this morn­ing in which he revealed that he’s com­ing under pres­sure to run for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State as a Repub­li­can instead of as an inde­pen­dent can­di­date.

“I want your advice,” Eyman told his fans. “Ever since I announced, I’ve been hear­ing from more and more grass­roots sup­port­ers ask­ing me to run as a Repub­li­can. I’ve thought a lot about it, talked with my team, and after much dis­cus­sion, I’m seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing it. I want to know what you think.”

“Send me an email and let me know what you think.. Please for­ward this to your fam­i­ly, friends, and co-work­ers,” Eyman added.

When Eyman stood before cam­eras to talk about his guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­da­cy last year, he actu­al­ly pulled out an email he had received from a local Repub­li­can Par­ty orga­ni­za­tion and pro­ceed­ed to mock­ing­ly read part of it before affirm­ing that he would be run­ning for gov­er­nor as an inde­pen­dent.

Sev­er­al Repub­li­cans react­ed to Eyman’s move with annoy­ance and anger, includ­ing State Sen­a­tor Phil For­tu­na­to, who was already run­ning for gov­er­nor.

Repub­li­can State Par­ty Chair Caleb Heim­lich, how­ev­er, was not among them.

Heim­lich chose to respond to Eyman’s can­di­da­cy rather tact­ful­ly, declin­ing to mean­ing­ful­ly crit­i­cize Eyman, whom Heim­lich knows is pop­u­lar with his precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers, just as neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump is.

Before Eyman pro­claimed that he was run­ning as an inde­pen­dent, I sug­gest­ed  that his sud­den guber­na­to­r­i­al ambi­tions might result in a cringe­wor­thy Eyman/Trump tick­et in 2020 for the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, which would be a real nadir for the par­ty, once a bas­tion of pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics.

Giv­en Eyman’s com­ments today, it looks like that sce­nario is still a pos­si­bil­i­ty.

Eyman is a patho­log­i­cal liar, so we can’t know if he’s sin­cere about piv­ot­ing to run for gov­er­nor as a Repub­li­can. But I would­n’t be sur­prised if he is being court­ed behind the scenes to asso­ciate his cam­paign with the Repub­li­can brand.

Eyman is a Repub­li­can, through and through. He has been for years. He’s gone to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion from Wash­ing­ton as a del­e­gate and as a guest of the state par­ty chair. He reg­u­lar­ly attends or speaks at Repub­li­can Par­ty meet­ings. He par­tic­i­pates in cau­cus ses­sions with Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors.

Eyman even agreed not to crit­i­cize Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors when they moved to raise prop­er­ty tax­es in urban and sub­ur­ban leg­isla­tive dis­tricts.

Despite all this his­to­ry as a Repub­li­can oper­a­tive, Eyman still fan­cies him­self as above par­ti­san pol­i­tics. He real­ly wants to have it both ways.

“For two decades, with all the bal­lot mea­sures I’ve pro­mot­ed, I’ve always reached out to vot­ers across the polit­i­cal spec­trum. Whether it was a vot­er sign­ing a peti­tion or vot­ing for our ini­tia­tive, I did­n’t ask for their par­ty affil­i­a­tion, I asked for their sup­port. I’m run­ning for Gov­er­nor with that same mind­set,” Eyman said in his email today, before ask­ing his fans about declar­ing a par­ty affil­i­a­tion.

No inde­pen­dent has ever been elect­ed Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State, and doubt­less Eyman has been told that. Run­ning as a Repub­li­can might boost his odds, but it has been four decades since a Repub­li­can won a guber­na­to­r­i­al race in Wash­ing­ton State. The last Repub­li­can to win was the late John Spell­man, who had expe­ri­ence as the King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive and came from the Rockefeller/Evans wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, which is all but extinct now.

Elec­tions can be unpre­dictable, there’s no ques­tion about that. But the deck will not be stacked in Eyman’s favor like it was last year with I‑976. His­to­ry, pub­lic opin­ion, the elec­toral land­scape… they are not on Eyman’s side.

Like Ore­gon’s Bill Size­more in 1998, Eyman seems set to dis­cov­er that run­ning for gov­er­nor is quite a dif­fer­ent ball­game than run­ning decep­tive ini­tia­tives.

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