A Senate seat is on the line and the dominos are set to fall

Rep. Stanford seems a shoo-in for the appointment. There’s a drama brewing for his job in the House.

Derek Stanford

Derek Stanford

OLYMPIA — There’s little dispute Democratic Party leaders want state Rep. Derek Stanford to fill a vacant Senate seat in the 1st Legislative District.

Stanford, a soft-spoken progressive in his fifth term, emerged earlier this month as the overwhelming choice to replace Guy Palumbo as senator for communities in south Snohomish and north King counties. Palumbo resigned in May to take a job lobbying for Amazon.

There’s a bit of drama building around who should get Stanford’s seat.

Davina Duerr, a Bothell City Councilwoman, Hillary Moralez, the chairwoman of the Snohomish County Democratic Party, and Darshan Rauniyar, a party activist are the nominees put forth by the party’s precinct committee officers (PCOs) following a June 9 meeting.

Duerr secured the top slot though it took three rounds of balloting to get there. She and Moralez tied in the second tally. Then one person changed their allegiance, swinging the outcome Duerr’s way.

On July 1, members of the Snohomish and King county councils will hold a joint meeting at Bothell City Hall to make some decisions. If Stanford gets the nod for the Senate seat as expected, then those political bodies will install someone in the House job.

At this point, a person in Moralez’s position as county party leader would usually ask that the preferred choice of the PCOs be selected.

But Moralez isn’t doing that. She’s wants the legislative gig. She is campaigning hard to get it, declaring on Facebook “The fight isn’t over” and urging supporters to lobby members of the two councils on her behalf.

Her bid is creating a little discomfort with some fellow Democrats. Close vote aside, they feel the party should always be united behind the top choice for an appointed position.

“I know there’s a little consternation. I know some people think I need to wait my turn,” Moralez said. “I am going to run this as a real campaign until the process is finished.”

Duerr is taking a less aggressive approach thus far. She said she’s reached out to county council members, offering to sit down and chat with them about her qualifications. Other than that, she said she’s going to let it play out.

“It’s become competitive. There’s been some controversy,” she said with a tinge of disappointment in her voice. “I’m trying to stay above the fray.”

The outcome is far from clear. A couple recent appointments in Snohomish County ended with council members bypassing the preferred choice of political party activists.

In September 2017, Republican Carolyn Eslick was named to a vacant House seat in the 39th Legislative District even though she ranked lowest among the three Republican Party nominees. Elizabeth Scott, a former state lawmaker, was the GOP’s top choice.

In February 2016, Palumbo received the most support to fill a vacancy on the Snohomish County Council. But the council’s three Democratic members chose Hans Dunshee, the runner-up, instead. Later that year, Palumbo won his Senate seat while Dunshee lost his council job.

Duerr is aware of how the process can turn out.

“It’s not a slam dunk,” she said.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos

More in Opinion

Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis | Letter

There are more than 110,000 residents of our state living with Alzheimer’s… Continue reading

The damage of fracking | Letter

The final environmental impact statement for the world’s largest fracked gas and… Continue reading

Massive change needed now | Letter

Regarding “LNG project must stop” (Reporter, Aug. 30): I certainly agree, but… Continue reading

Zucchini anyone? | Guest editorial

Plan now to turn garden overflow into healthy, economical meals – and reduce waste.

History: The untold stories | Windows and Mirrors

What do we not know about the history of the human race?

State’s new voting system passes key test

Whew. Tuesday’s primary marked the electoral debut of VoteWa, and the sparkling… Continue reading

Remembering to be proud | Windows and Mirrors

“The Art of Alzheimer’s” features work by artists who have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

Simply outrageous | Letter

The Reporter’s article, “Lights for Liberty Vigil protests the inhumane conditions faced… Continue reading

Irony behind administration’s immigration policies | Letter

Thousands of asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — some… Continue reading

A moon landing, an American dream | Letter

We recently celebrated the anniversary of one of the biggest engineering feats… Continue reading

Publisher’s decision to limit eBook access is bad news for library patrons

What’s at stake is the issue of digital equity and access.

Government should consider existing residents | Letter

Satisfied with Redmond, vote for incumbents: David Carson, Hank Meyers. Angela Birney… Continue reading