Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski announced today that she has decided not to seek another term as the party’s chief executive officer and will pass the baton to a new leader at the end of this month.
“I’ve decided to not run for re-election as State Party Chair this January,” Podlodowski said in a post on Facebook. “This was not an easy decision, but I feel strongly that I have accomplished all I set out to do and it is now time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders ready to light the fires of democracy, teamwork, and community around our state.”
Podlodowski made her decision after consulting with her family over the holidays. She released a letter to Democratic PCOs, activists, and state committeemembers summarizing the work she’s done as Chair and detailing her plans.
The letter was accompanied by one of my photos of Tina, taken last October at a get out the vote event in Kirkland with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.
Podlodowski has been chair for six years. She took over from Jaxon Ravens at the end of January 2017, at a time when Democrats across the country were still reeling from the disastrous 2016 presidential election.
“It is a new day and we are going to build a new Democratic Party that will organize in every part of our state for working families against the special interests and extremist politicians,” Podlodowski said after taking office.
“We will immediately begin organizing the grassroots to contest elections everywhere, from school board and city council to the special elections this fall where we will take back the state Senate so we can solve the problems facing Washington families,” she vowed in a press release announcing her win.
The party did just that. And more.
Much more, in fact.
Under Podlodowski’s leadership, the party:
- Flipped the Washington State Senate blue in 2017 with Manka Dhingra
- Expanded its state House and state Senate legislative majorities in 2018, kept those majorities intact in 2020, and expanded them again in 2022
- Flipped not one, but two congressional seats: the 8th, with Kim Schrier (2018) and the 3rd, with Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (2022)
- Regained the office of Washington State Treasurer with Mike Pellicciotti
- Elected a Democratic Secretary of State, Steve Hobbs, for the first time in decades, resulting in a 100% Democratic executive department
- Carried the state for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020, continuing a decades-long winning streak
- Reelected all other statewide executive incumbents (Jay Inslee, Bob Ferguson, Pat McCarthy, Hilary Franz, Chris Reykdal, Mike Kreidler)
- Reelected Senator Maria Cantwell (2018) and Senator Patty Murray (2022)
- Established bench-building and party expansion programs to make Democratic candidates more competitive and successful in local elections
- Adopted a presidential primary for delegate allocation for the first time ever
- Agreed on new rules for selecting and replacing presidential electors to ensure Washingtonians are not betrayed by faithless electors in the future
Podlodowski leaves office having worked energetically and successfully to significantly increase Democratic dominance in Washington State politics.
The party now controls every single statewide partisan office in Washington, eight out of ten U.S. House seats, and almost 60% of the seats in the Legislature. Plus, at the local level, Democratic and Democratic-aligned candidates have flipped cities like Sequim and Sammamish that were once controlled by Republicans.
The Washington State Democratic Party is also the envy of state parties around the nation. It’s a well run union shop with a dedicated staff who get results.
What a record!
I was among those who helped recruit Tina to run for chair in 2016. As a member of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, I wanted a leader who would realize the great potential that the state party had. I felt Tina was the leader we needed, and was really happy she took on the position.
These past six years have demonstrated that we in the WSDCC chose well.
I am sure that I speak for many Democratic voters, PCOs, and activists when I say job well done, Tina. We appreciate you and we thank you!
Tina’s successor will be chosen on January 28th, 2023, at the 2023 reorganization meeting of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee in Olympia. On that day, she will pass the baton to whoever the WSDCC elects as its new Chair.