Party Politics

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 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 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 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.

Andrew Villeneuve

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