Sheldon Votes Against Seating Puyallup Senator

Washington state senators voted on an unusual question of whether to allow one of their fellow electeds to actually take office. Our three senators, all Democrats, voted 2-1 in favor. State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, voted against seating state Sen. Nick Harper, a Puyallup Democrat. State Sens. Phil Rockefeller of Bainbridge Island and Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor voted to allow him in.

John Stang, our reporter in Olympia, will later have more thorough coverage on this question, which stems from a scandal outlined here on the Kitsap Caucus earlier. In short, a Democratic advertising firm helped get a more liberal Democrat, Harper, elected over the moderate Democratic incumbent by backing a conservative in the primary, putting the incumbent in third place.

In a Jan. 8 story Stang wrote:

Sheldon said Brown told him she wanted him removed from the energy committee because she heard a rumor he was working with Republicans to deny a seat to newly elected Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett. Sheldon denies that he is doing so.

The liberal Harper unseated moderate Democrat Jean Berkey in the best-of-two primary in which pro-Harper forces and their consulting firm, Moxie Media, secretly also backed a fringe conservative candidate, Rod Rieger, to siphon enough votes from Berkey to put her in third place and out of the running. The state has fined Moxie Media for violating public finance disclosure laws in this matter.

The vote Monday was 23-18 to seat Harper, and Stang said it was mostly along party lines.

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