Sunday, January 06, 2013

Madore: Paul Harris to run for Steve Stuart's commission seat.

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.


Anonymous said...

Hey Kelly... I have been wondering about this subject for about six months now. Thank you for giving me some backfill story that I did not know and some other things to think about.
One also has to think about how Steve also has a young child as well. Do you think he wants to be a Clark County commissioner with the amount of hours he has to out front in the public eye? (ala Brandon Vick syndrome? though I know he is more reliably able to do what he does...)
But my concerns are what impact he is going to have on state politics if he so ably leaves clark county (ala Brian Baird, who is now a federal lobbyist up in Seattle?) and starts prancing around like a political unicorn and does as you are suggesting. Tries to run for a federal district some where outside of Clark County after building up his political chops and alliances...
I think he has burned too many bridges politically in Clark County and said too many stupid things to really run again for Clark County commissioner. Plus if he chooses to run again, he is going to have to make some promises that he is going to have to effectively keep if he were to win re-election.
I just think he has the stain and yoke of the columbia river crossing project all over him. IN fact, even more so, because he spoke out more than Tim Leavitt did.
If he is dumb enough to run again, You and Lew are going to be RIGHT There (similar to Tim, if he stupidly decided to run again for mayor) to pound every toothly nail into him politically for the stuff he said he would do but never delivered. Remember all of those campaign promises and words he said near the end of the CRC process in 2010. If he's smart, he's fishing for a better horizon up in Olympia, take his wife (yes, remember the comments that Stuart faced after an angry Josephine Wentzel and husband gave him a piece of their minds two or three years back? His wife was working for a pro-CRC coalition?) and leave the mess he created over the past decade with Royce Pollard and Tim Leavitt for the past twelve or more years.
Pretty much, anyone associated with the CRC process is looking to jump ship? Fred Hanson, Larry Paulson, David Bragdon, Sam Adams, etc? Guess where they are now?
About the only person whom I think was STUPID ienough to come back to this project was Kris Strickler (head of ODOT for the CRC and former bridge person for them) and one of their executives came back to help finish the contract, but his name escapes me at the moment!
Just in case need some reminders? And see all of the political vampires jumping off the ship, take a look at this Nigel Jaquiss article, if you want to remind yourself, why Steve is finally and simply just TIRED of thousands of meeting hours on this subject over a dozen years... -- jeremy

Anonymous said...

(Some additional comment?) Will I think Paul will win that seat?
I think it is really Paul whom needs to come before the whole county and SHOW US he is worthy of the title of the job. Just like any other politician would have to do.
I probably will have some questions ready when the next commissioner elections run in 2014 OR Stuart leaves early to fulfil where ever he plans on going.
But either way, whomever chooses to run, either Steve or someone new, is going to face the same political gauntlet.... -- jeremy