Monday, February 25, 2008

Random Political Musings

For children of the 60s, like me, this presidential election represents a turning point in American history. It seemingly represents a lot of the change we all believed in and worked for.

Senator Barack Obama, a highly charismatic African-American man — one who isn’t Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton — is being embraced by people of all persuasions. He is, as the Reverend Martin Luther King predicted in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, being judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.

And no matter how you feel about Senator Hillary Clinton, she is the first qualified, creditable, woman presidential candidate that has a truly honest chance of being elected president.

And one of them — or perhaps both on the same ticket — will challenge the old, white guy, Senator John McCain. No matter what your politics are, or who you support, you have to be proud — this is historical.

Speaking of Senator Hillary Clinton, do you realize that if she is elected to two terms as president, at the end of her second term, America will have been governed by only two families, for a period of 28 years?
Locally, the 2008 County Commission races are shaping up kind of slowly. On the Democratic side, the South Kitsap seat being vacated by Jan Angel looks like a lock for Monty Mahan unless some stellar, heretofore unknown, candidate emerges out of nowhere — which doesn’t seem too likely.

Rumored to be interested is former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel. She seems to be shying away from any kind of commitment about running, but may just be holding her cards close to her vest.

Former Commissioner Charlotte Garrido on the other hand, announced her intention to run at a recent Kitsap Trees and Shoreline Association meeting. Garrido has never been known for her strong — or timely — decision-making. That, and her allegiance to extreme environmentalism were her undoing as a commissioner the first time.

It appears the Republicans have no one in the wings willing to step up. Kris Danielson was rumored to be thinking about it, but her husband Bruce, who recently announced he intended to seek a judgeship, publicly stated he would be the only Danielson on the ballot come November.

Also rumored to be thinking about it according to Republican Party insiders, is Ron Boehme, who lost a run for the legislature in 2006. However, Boehme hasn’t made any public statement, or given any indication he is in fact, considering running.

I do know for a fact that Planning Commission Chairman Fred Depee was approached by the Republicans — and turned them down flat.

On the north end, no one from either party seems poised to challenge Steve Bauer. As you may remember, Bauer was appointed to the seat vacated by Chris Endresen when she left to take a position with Senator Maria Cantwell, but he has to stand for election this year as well.

In working with Bauer, I have found him to be pretty low key, even-handed and extremely pragmatic. A wizard with numbers and budgeting, he appears to be driven by facts and reality a whole lot more than any overriding ideology. Hopefully, no Democrat will challenge him, because, at least in my view, he’s the right guy in the right place, at the right time.

There doesn’t appear to be any local Republicans willing to step and run for office. In fact, you have to wonder if the Kitsap Republicans are going to be able to mount any kind of credible challenge for any open seats. It appears the party has moved so far out of the mainstream that one has to wonder if they haven’t minimalized themselves into oblivion.

The one bright spot for the local GOP seems to be Jan Angel’s bid to unseat longtime 26th District Representative Pat Lantz. A recent guest editorial in the Peninsula Gateway came out strongly in support of Angel, saying it was time for Lantz to step down gracefully. Don’t look for that to happen though.

Angel, who is knowledgeable, personable, and a tireless campaigner, should be able to win. She will be well-funded, as the medical community — still smarting over Lantz’s refusal to let tort reform out of her committee for two years — line up to write checks. The business community will support Angel heavily as well.

In spite of the fact the Pierce County Republicans have already done so, Kitsap Republicans have refused to come out and openly endorse Angel. That's a very telling indicator of the level of the party’s absolute dysfunctionality.

The other 26th District House race features incumbent Larry Seaquist against longtime Gig Harbor businesswoman and Republican activist, Marlyn Jensen. Jensen is a classy woman whose years of active service to the GOP has earned her a lot of friends in high places. Her showplace home has been the site of numerous Republican fundraisers.

Seaquist on the other hand has had a less than notable first term in the House, and has raised the ire of NASCAR fans with his tasteless comments about them — which made national headlines. His swearing at a female constituent — saying, "Get the F**K out of my office," in front of a witness, when she tried to bring him some information about the ISC proposal, didn't win him any friends either. This one could go either way.

In the 23rd, it appears Democrats Christine Rolfes and Sherry Appleton will most likely get a free pass, since the Republicans can’t seem to recruit anyone to challenge them.

In the 35th, Democrat Fred Finn is the clear frontrunner for the retiring Bill Eickmeyer’s seat. A couple of Mason County Republicans — including Randy Neatherlin, who narrowly lost that seat two years ago — have stepped up. Several months ago, I had a conversation with Neatherlin and came away feeling he definitely wasn’t going to run. Considering the formidable resources the Democrats will put into electing Finn to hold that seat, I was surprised Neatherlin changed his mind.

Bremerton City Councilman Brad Gehring has announced he’ll challenge incumbent Kathy Haigh. Marco Brown, who ran for that seat last time, is also rumored to be interested again.

And finally, rumor has it Congressman Norm Dicks may draw a Democratic challenger from the extreme left — a fellow named Paul Richmond. Goggling that name comes up with a liberal activist Port Townsend attorney — although the challenger is reportedly a bank teller. Go figure. More on this as — and/or if — it develops.


  1. "A recent editorial in the Peninsula Gateway came out strongly in support of Angel, saying it was time for Lantz to step down gracefully."

    Well, not exactly...

    What Lary calls an "editorial" was actually a "Special to the Gateway" opinion piece by Dennis Krantz - husband of former Republican candidate Becky Krantz.

    It was not an "editorial" as Lary - a publisher - should very well know.

    It was an opinion piece written by a Republican in support of a Republican.

    It wasn't the Gateway that said Pat Lantz should step down gracefully - it was the husband of the woman whom Pat defeated in 2006...

  2. You are not correct. The Republican party fully supports Jan Angel. And as to Fred Finn, are we supposed to be so blessed by him running that we don't put forth a candidate? Randy will run and win.