1. You'll remember that on Friday, we had a call out to state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens) to see if he too was filing for the special election to finish out former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee's term in the old 1st Congressional District. A crew of Democrats, including Hobbs, is running in the newly drawn 1st Congressional District, but the old seat is also open (for just one month before it evaporates). And after redrawn 1st District candidate Darcy Burner announced on Friday that she was going for it, the rest of the pack followed suit.
Hobbs' spokesman Jim Kainber told us: "It makes no sense whatsover to file for that position. Steve's running for the two-year term, not some little pat-on-the-back term."
Hobbs himself released a statement:
I’m appalled that Suzan [DelBene], Laura [Ruderman], Darcy, Darshan [Rauniyar], and John [Koster] are trying to manipulate and circumvent campaign finance laws. Just as bad, Suzan and Darcy don’t even live in the district they’re trying to represent now. This is exactly the kind of financial trickery and shifty politics that voters hate. Real middle class folks don’t get to rely on financial sleight of hand like some people can.
Hobbs' statement also accused the other candidates of corrupting the process with money.
In another example of money controlling politics in a Congress dominated by the super-wealthy, this political move allows the candidates to ask donors who have already given the maximum amount of money to their campaigns under federal law to double contributions. The total can all be used in the new 1st district, giving them a financial advantage.
Hobbs, a member of the centrist Roadkill Caucus (so probably the best fit for the new swing district 1st), has raised $198,000 with $98,000 cash on hand. Burner, DelBene, and Ruderman are lapping him — each has raised more than $300,000, with DelBene and Ruderman closer to $400,000. As for cash on hand: Burner has $114,000; DelBene has $320,000; and Ruderman has $220,000. The fifth candidate, newcomer Rauniyar, has raised $169,000 and has $123,000 on hand.
Hobbs also takes a shot at DelBene, accusing "other candidates in the campaign" of "donating their personal wealth to their campaigns." Indeed, DelBene, who famously downloaded $2.3 million of her own money into her failed 2010 run against Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ), has once again reached into her own pocket Fizz has learned, writing herself a check for $300,000, her campaign confirms.
2. Republican all-star, state Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-18, Ridgefiled), the GOP budget leader who's now known either for passing a bipartisan budget with Democratic budget leader state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle) during the 2011 legislative session or for heading up the Republican budget coup against Murray in 2012 (which came with Zarelli's hit on state employee pensions), announced Friday afternoon that he's retiring.
Zarelli said: “As the Bible tells us, ‘to every thing there is a season.’ It’s time for my season as a senator to end. I will move forward with no regrets, only a lot of fond memories, many strong friendships and the hope that I’ve left state government better than how I found it.”
Zarelli, whose political stock was on the rise we thought, was first elected to the state Senate in 1995 and took over the budget reins for the GOP in 2004.
State Rep. Ann Rivers (R-18) filed right at the deadline on Friday for Zarelli's Senate seat along with a Democrat, Ralph Schmidt. Two Republicans — and no Democrats — filed at the last minute on Friday for Rivers' house seat, Adrian Cortes and Brandon Vick.
3. With all the hotly contested races for Seattle's state House seats, let's not forget about the drama at the Precinct Committee Officer level. That's right—the PCO races! Typically uncontested (and often unfilled), this year there are a number of races, including a contest for a PCO spot in the 43rd between former Seattle City Counci candidate Maurice Classen and David Eisenbud and a head-to-head in the 46th, where Rod Dembowski and John Schochet are dueling for a spot. State house candidate Dusty Hoerler, also running for PCO, is being challenged by Larry Smith for a spot in the 46th; and Stephanie Pure is being challenged in the 43rd by Brittany Gibson.
Fizz wonders if former council and statehouse candidates such as Classen and Pure respectively will hire out consultant Christian Sinderman for their PCO contests or if Hoerler will turn to his current house race consultant Dean Nielsen for his challenge at the PCO level.