It’s been one week since the August 4th primary, and we now have a clear look at the most important result for shifting the debate in Olympia. In a special election in the 30th Legislative District, Republican Teri Hickel defeated appointed Democrat State Representative Carol Gregory by 52.8% to 48.2%. The primary result bodes well for Hickel’s chances in the general and takes Republicans a step closer to taking control of the State House in 2016 – if not before.
Last December, Democrat Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) nominated former Washington Education Association President Gregory as their choice to replace the late Rep. Roger Freeman (D) in the state House, after he had won election even though he tragically passed away just before the 2014 general. Ultimately, due to drama between the King County Council and Piece County Council (the 30th LD crosses the county lines),Inslee appointed Gregory to the position of state representative. Inslee’s appointment of Gregory came at no surprise due to her close ties to the WEA. After all, our green governor likes to please his top campaign donors.
Since then, Inslee and his fellow Democrats have pulled out all the stops in their attempt to ensure Gregory keeps her position. Inslee even postponed the start of the first 2015 legislative special session by four days – after the end of the regular session – in order to give Gregory time to fundraise (since lawmakers cannot raise money while in session). Inslee moved forward with his partisan strategy despite the fact that House Republicans, not wanting to waste anymore of taxpayers’ time and money, introduced a resolution requesting the special session begin without delay.
An email from the Washington State Democrat Party—entitled, “Four days to make a difference in critical House election”—admitted as much. The email read,
“P.S. Carol has just four days to raise money until she reports back to Olympia for the special legislative session. Please make your contribution today, before the fundraising freeze kicks back in!”
Indeed, the Washington State Democrat Party made good use of the time Inslee gave his partisans to raise money for Gregory. Democrats sent supporters multiple fundraising emails riddled with false allegations and ridiculous claims.
One email began with Democrats’ age-old tactic of associating “Big Oil” with Republicans. But, for the purpose of this particular email, they even threw in state Senator Andy Hill’s name (probably because they are afraid of his rising popularity among voters). The email read,
“Big Oil and other special interests threw money at State Senator Andy Hill and pretend Democrat Tim Sheldon so that Republicans could keep control of the State Senate.
“Now they’re set on winning the State House, and they’ll go for broke to defeat Carol.”
The claims are not only false—Hill’s campaign relied on grassroots supporters and raised over $1 million dollars to beat back Democrat attacks—but highly hypocritical. By far the largest financial influence in recent state elections is far-left California billionaire and extreme environmentalist Tom Steyer. Last election cycle alone, Steyer spent $1.25 million—not to mention the money he laundered into a liberal attack network—attempting to advance his extreme environmental agenda in our state by buying Inslee the state Senate.
Democrats wrapped-up the email by touting House Democrats’ “accomplishments” during the 2015 legislative session—the implication being that, if Gregory loses, it would be more difficult for Democrats to achieve similar success next time. Of course, Democrats conveniently forgot to mention the part where House Democrats proposed a $39 billion spending package to be paid for by $1.5 billion in new taxes, which they refused to ever vote on and thus forced the Legislature into special session.
The reality is that Democrats know the importance of Gregory winning this special election. Her loss would place Republicans just one seat from a tie and two seats from a majority in the state House, for the first time since 2002. And, it could threaten Rep. Frank Chopp’s security as Speaker of the House as soon as next January by leaving the door open for one or two reasonable Democrats to create a coalition with House Republicans and put a fiscally responsible majority in charge of the House.
Given the results of the primary, you can bet Inslee and his fellow Democrats are feeling more than a little panicked. And, you can bet they’ll come out swinging full force – with all the usual lies and dirty campaign tactics – against Hickel in the general.