According to Commissioner David Madore's facebook page, State Representative Paul Harris (R-17) has announced he is running against Commissioner Steve Stuart (D-District 3).
Since chatting with Commissioner Stuart during canvassing board sessions and discovering that Stuart had been named to Gov-Elect Inslee's transition team, I've thought that he would likely be the recipient of an offer for a high-level post in an Inslee Administration.
Stuart denied such a possibility, unequivocally, but I had to ask myself: why would Inslee want Stuart... due to, if nothing else, the lack of geographical proximity... it's a long way to Olympia... unless it was to check him out for such an offer? They're likely both a good fit with common ground: both former jocks (Stuart was an all-state ball player in high school and Inslee was a state champion basketball player and quarterback for Ingraham in Seattle) with some commonality in a variety of areas.
So now, let's look at the bidding. Marc Boldt was crushed at the polls for mirroring Steve Stuart's voting record. Not good. A D vs. R race would likely have a similar outcome as the Mielke-Tanner race, although Harris would likely, if nothing else, be able to match Stuart's funding if Stuart stays to fight it out.
Stuart will likely not be satisfied with the permanent position of "county commissioner" as the nadir of his political career. His problem? The 3rd Congressional District is so reliably GOP that even a complete moron like Jamie Herrera can get the gig and likely keep it... until her unbridled, screw-her-constituency ambition forces her to move on and put us, thankfully, in her rear-view mirror.
So, with that door, effectively, slammed shut; and a year's-long legacy of ignoring his own constituency on the loot-rail scam combined with unfulfilled campaign promises... what's Steve Stuart to do?
Gamble on a sketchy-at-best re-election bid that first, he's likely to lose and second, wouldn't improve his station in life even if he won?
Or grab an offered brass ring if Inslee holds one out there (And rumors abound that such is the case) and move up to the state's power center?
Stuart can vault from Olympia to a US Senate run down the road, after he develops some statewide chops and uses his position to go around the state and set up political alliances.
Can he realistically do that from Vantuckey?
Now Paul Harris has some baggage of his own, truth to tell. I was disappointed to find out that he was the highest rated Republican House Member by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
That kind of thing makes me question his "conservative cred" and moves him perilously close to RINO-land.
But if, as the Madore announcement states (And such an announcement this early is only being done in an effort to scare other GOP'ers circling the carcass away) Harris is "....a strong critic of the CRC Light Rail Tolling project," AND HE HAS THE VOTING RECORD TO PROVE IT, then that would make him the leading contender to fill Steve Stuart's commissioner seat whether Stuart's still sitting in it... or not.