The 19th Legislative District, which includes Longview and West Kelso and extends to the coast, will get a new state senator and state representative in two weeks time—only voters won’t be the ones choosing them. Instead, commissioners from the district’s five counties will assemble in Kelso to appoint new legislators.
The appointment is a continuation of a decades-old tradition in the 19th of Democrat legislators resigning with a year left in their term so that their replacement is assured to be another Democrat. Once appointed, the new Democrat legislator is far more likely to win re-election.
The 19th is the only legislative district in which all its state legislators originally “earned” their seats through appointment. As the Daily New points out, it has been nearly two decades since any representative of the 19th first gained their seat by election. The ongoing cycle of appointment stacks the odds in Democrats’ favor.
This time around, Democrat state Rep. Dean Takko is looking to be appointed to Democrat state Sen. Brian Hatfield’s seat. Hatfield resigned to take a job with the Lieutenant Governor. Tiffany Turner, a Seaview hotel owner who admits the Democrats’ strategy is “not a super-democratic process,” is currently in first place to replace Takko—of course, by appointment.
Such honesty from Turner might hurt her though in the appointment process. Democrat leaders don’t like their minions revealing party secrets like that.