The County Councils of King and Pierce County will ultimately determine who will be appointed to replace the late Representative Roger Freeman (D) in the state House. But, local Democrat activists first have their say in the process, and last week, the 30th District Democrats met to select three nominees to replace Freeman. The County Councils must then select a replacement from the Democrats’ list.
Democrat Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) voted to nominate school board chair and former Washington Education Association leader Carol Gregory as their first choice, Richard Champion (a backer of SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage initiative) came in second, and Shari Song (a losing candidate for state Senate this year) received the third slot. Gregory beat out Champion for the top spot by a single vote.
On Monday, the King County Council voted for Gregory as Freeman’s replacement. The Pierce County Council has yet to set a voting date, and it may wait until 2015.
The nominees represent the typical array of special interest-driven candidates one has come to expect from Democrats. It’s who voted to nominate these candidates that prompts serious concerns.
Live blogging of the nomination proceedings noted that a PCO named Keith Tyler was present at the meeting. Why is his presence relevant?
Well, it turns out that Tyler was identified by the Song campaign as the anonymous activist who attacked now Republican State Senator-elect Mark Miloscia for his Catholic faith, using bigoted anti-Catholic slurs. During the 2014 campaign, Tyler published a website dedicated to attacking Miloscia – one particularly disgusting flyer portrayed Miloscia as an anti-Catholic caricature complete with a confederate flag suitcase and accusing him of representing “the people of the Vatican” and not “the people of Federal Way.”
Tyler’s shocking antics grabbed national and international headlines. The United Kingdom’s The Telegraph called the attack an “extraordinary cartoon” that “reflects lingering bigotry” and “expresses more than just ideological inflexibility.” Interpreting Democrat opponent Shari Song’s Facebook response, the Telegraph pointed out that her “statement implies that the author of the ad is indeed a supporter of the Democrat candidate and that the Democrat campaign is in contact with them.”
The Daily Caller reported that Song’s campaign manager Alex Hendrickson identified the anonymous proprietor of the website as Tyler. Hendrickson said, “It’s a very small town here and he’s involved in the local Democratic Party just as a member. He’s not a politician or a campaign worker.”
Tyler may not be a political or a paid campaign worker (he did volunteer on Song’s campaign), but he does have a certain degree of authority in the Democrat Party—especially in deciding who will replace Freeman as a state representative of the 30th LD. In fact, Tyler was one out of just twenty-nine Democrat PCOs who voted for the nominee list presented to both the King and Pierce County Councils. His vote may have determined which nominee received Democrats’ first choice slot.
Tyler’s extreme opinions and bigoted outbursts do not represent the mindset of the average voter in the 30th LD. Yet, he helped create the short list of who will ultimately represent the district in the state Legislature. Knowing Tyler’s now infamous attack on Miloscia, the Democrat Party still allowed him to cast an important vote. Tyler’s maintained his position as PCO without any disciplinary consequences for his actions—a fact that calls into question just who Democrats value as their party leaders.