Democrats are accidentally providing an excellent contrast with the Republican Party this week, as they go about the often boring process of filling legislative vacancies. Seems that the “leaders” in the liberal party – or at least the elected officials who have to vote on such things – may just have to show how little regard they have for the grassroots activists in their party.
The issue, as it often is with Democrats, is quota politics. And it seems their Precinct Committee Officers are trying to focus on who might be best qualified for a legislative position, rather than whether the chosen candidate allows them to check off a gender and/or minority box on the quota form Democrats like to use.
According to the liberal Seattle blog Publicola, “the 37th Legislative District PCOs voted on Monday to send three names to the King County Council as recommended replacements to fill state senator Pramila Jayapal’s vacancy…the top pick is Rory O’Sullivan, a lefty lawyer and former U.S. representative Jim McDermott aide.”
The problem is, as PubliCola points out “if the county council goes with Sullivan over the second-place vote getter, Puget Sound Sage Executive Director Rebecca Saldaña, the majority minority district, the most diverse in Seattle, will be represented by a white man.”
Oh, the horrors!
Additionally, “while it’s not a majority-minority district, a similar standoff may emerge for the council in the 48th Legislative District where a white man, Matt Isenhower may get the PCO nod over Bellevue City Council member Vandana Slatter, who is an Indian-American. The PCOs vote in the 48th tomorrow night.”
PubliCola is almost embarrassed to admit what could be the outcome for its favorite non-socialist political party: “In short: there’s a possibility that in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, the Democrats may appoint two white men over two women of color to the state legislature.”
Contrast the Democrats’ dilemma – qualified or quota – with how the Republicans handled the process of filling the vacancy created by the untimely death of State Senator Andy Hill. The party sent three nominees to the King County Council, and put its most qualified person in the first spot, and the other two candidates said they supported the top candidate, and didn’t try to undermine the process.
Thus, as pointed out by the Seattle P-I, the 45th District will be ably represented in the upcoming session by former State Senator Dino Rossi, the “Republicans’ star pinch hitter when there is an opening in the Legislature.
Of course, Mr. Rossi is a proud Italian-American, so identity politics may have come into play with the Council unanimously confirming his appointment.