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In the 25th: Dawn Morrell and Steve Vermillion

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on July 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm with 1 Comment »
July 26, 2010 6:00 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Maybe the citizens of the 25th District are unusually public-spirited, or maybe Democrats just look like easy prey this year. Five – count ’em, five – candidates have stepped up to challenge the Democratic incumbent, Dawn Morrell, in House Position 2.

Morrell’s Republican seatmate in Position 1, meanwhile, has drawn only a single challenger. State Rep. Bruce Dammeier’s race against Democrat John Thompson will be decided in the November election.

The oddest sub-contest in Position 2 is between Morrell and her ostensibly Democratic challenger, Ron Morehouse of Spanaway.

Morehouse ran two years ago as a Republican, and his very conservative positions would place him toward the rightward edge of the GOP. A Central Pierce fire commissioner, he won election last year to the Bethel School Board. He’s been a disappointment in that position, and his opposition to his district’s vital February school levy left many citizens angry.

Morrell, four-term House veteran, has done well as a lawmaker since she was elected eight years ago. Fellow Democratic lawmakers have recognized her leadership ability and chosen her as caucus chairwoman, making her the Pierce County delegation’s highest-ranking legislator in the House.

She’s shown an independent streak, splitting with more orthodox Democrats to vote against some tax and spending issues.

The Republican sub-contest pits Hans Zeiger, a graduate student and writer, against Steve Vermillion, a highly decorated Army combat veteran. Zeiger is a thoughtful conservative, but he – and all the other challengers – are thoroughly outmatched by Vermillion.

Vermillion, who currently owns and runs a small consulting firm, is as qualified a political newcomer as we’ve seen this year. His service in Vietnam won him a Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. His subsequent military career as an Army officer included major command and staff responsibilities and a final assignment as professor of military science at the University of Washington.

After retiring in 1993, Vermillion worked as a manager in and out of state government, as an author and consultant. He’s far and away the best conservative alternative to Morrell; we endorse them both for the August primary.

Two other candidates, Larry Johnson and Bryan Shaner, are running as independents. This is a partisan position, though, and any lawmaker not aligned with a major party would face dismal prospects in Olympia.

To read earlier endorsement editorials, go to

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. Morrell has no “independent” streak. Her votes against a few tax and spending issues were meant to create some political cover for her in the upcoming election. The TNT pointed this out last spring. Morrell knew that her votes would not derail the tax and spending bills she voted “against”, and she had obviously cleared them with her party before she voted. Morrell does nothing more than mindlessly follow her party leadership – that’s why she has been rewarded with caucus “leadership”.

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