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For the 2nd district: Jim McCune, Tom Campbell

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Sep. 28, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
September 28, 2010 5:44 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Voters in the 2nd Legislative District face a curious pair of choices in November: in House Position 1, down-home vs. down-home; in House Position 2, sophistication vs. sophistication.

The Position 1 candidates, Republican state Rep. Jim McCune and Democrat Marilyn Rasmussen, seem almost the embodiment of this largely rural district, which covers south Pierce County and parts of Thurston County. McCune is a commercial fisherman; Rasmussen – a former lawmaker – is a farmer.

Both are good-natured, unassuming, salt-of-the-earth individuals who reflect the district’s character and values. Rasmussen has a lengthy and honorable record of service in the state Senate and House; after seeing no other Democrat file against McCune this year, she decided to try for a comeback.

We’re sticking with McCune; to be blunt, Rasmussen has already had a good long run in the Legislature and should have left well enough alone this year.

The race in Position 2 is a very different animal. State Rep. Tom Campbell and his challenger, JT Wilcox, are both smart and savvy. Campbell, a former Army officer, is a chiropractor; Wilcox has helped manage his large, dynastic family business, Wilcox Family Farms, of which he is a co-owner.

Both are Republicans, and Wilcox has worked to turn this into a more-Republican-than-thou contest – a good tactic in a Republican year.

Campbell, in fact, is anything but a predictable GOP vote. He first won election to the House as a Democrat in 1992, but bolted from the party in 1995 and has since run as a Republican.

Over the years, Campbell has cultivated a unique, neither-fish-nor-fowl political stance. He works with Democrats as easily as Republicans; he’s been rewarded with the sole committee chairmanship held by a Republican in the Democratic House.

Campbell’s no closet Democrat, though: A self-described centrist, he says his only loyalty is to his district, and his political alliances reflect that bent. He’s often parlayed his strategic swing vote into successful deal-making, helping secure important bills and transportation projects despite his minority status.

Wilcox is an engaging candidate whose obvious smarts and extensive private sector experience would serve the 2nd district well in Olympia. But we think voters would be smart to send Campbell back to the Legislature, where he has served the district skillfully – even ingeniously – for many years.

To read earlier endorsements, go to www.thenewstribune.com/endorsements.

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