NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Tina Podlodowski to retire this month as Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party

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.

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One Ping

  1. […] Shasti Con­rad, the for­mer Chair of the King Coun­ty Democ­rats, was cho­sen unan­i­mous­ly by the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Com­mit­tee (of which I am a mem­ber) to be the suc­ces­sor to Tina Pod­lodows­ki at its bien­ni­al reor­ga­ni­za­tion meet­ing in Olympia, after run­ning unop­posed for the posi­tion. Pod­lodows­ki declared ear­li­er this month that she would be step­ping down. […]

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