Unions Cold to DemocratsMay 19th, 2010 by Steven Gardner
Before last week’s presentation in Port Orchard by the state’s Chief Economist, Arun Raha, state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, mentioned to me his interest in what the state’s unions were planning to do. Chiefly, it appeared they were prepared to withhold endorsements from many legislators, because legislators didn’t make state employees very happy during the 2010 session.
His interest was well-founded. Instead of funneling money through the state Democratic party, the unions agreed to be more specific, which means no candidate in the 35th District gets any money. Seaquist and his Senate counterpart Derek Kilmer get no support in the 26th. In the 23rd state Rep. Christine Rolfes and state Sen. Phil Rockefeller, both Bainbridge Island Democrats, are also left off the list.
On the money list from districts in this county are state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo and Democratic challenger to Jan Angel, Sumner Schoenike from Gig Harbor.
The first question is how much this matters. We don’t pay attention to endorsements all that much, especially when they are so predictable from election to election. This item is newsworthy because it strays from history, but it isn’t as if the unions are endorsing Republicans.
Secondly, could this withholding amount to a perverse positive to some Democrats left out of the union money trail this year? It may seem a stretch, but could there be enough moderates out there who would actually see this as a plus, because it offers the perception that the Democrats left off the gravy train are not completely beholden to the dreaded “special interests?” Should Seaquist, Kilmer, Haigh and Finn actually write “thank you” notes to the unions?
Were I a spinmeister I would probably try to help find a way to sell this as kind of good news. I wouldn’t put “Not endorsed by the unions” on my campaign literature, but I might talk about how sad it is to not get the endorsement but aw shucks the 2010 session sure required some tough choices and we couldn’t make everyone happy, not even ones who have consistently written us checks.