This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.
The 30th Legislative District – which includes Federal Way in King County and a small piece of Pierce County – is a true swing district, with its two state House seats held by a Democrat and a Republican.
Voters there tend to favor centrists, rarely electing ultra-liberal Democrats or hard-right Republicans. The Aug. 7 primary gives them the opportunity to select finalists for the open Position 1 seat (Democratic incumbent Mark Miloscia is running for state auditor) and a challenger for Position 2 Republican incumbent Katrina Asay. The top two vote-getters in each race will move on to the Nov. 6 general election.
• Position 1: Two Democrats and three Republicans are squaring off for the open seat. Although it’s possible that two candidates from one party could advance, it’s likelier that the Nov. 6 final will see a Democrat facing off against a Republican.
Of the Democrats, Federal Way businessman Roger Flygare is the stronger choice. He has broader community service and endorsements, including the district’s two Democratic incumbents (Miloscia and state Sen. Tracey Eide). He’s a moderate Democrat who has been successful in getting legislation passed, and his voice as a small business owner impacted by legislative decisions is needed in the Democratic caucus.
His opponent, technology industry consultant Thom MacFarlane of Federal Way, is a smart and thoughtful candidate, but he has a narrower, more party-centric background than Flygare.
The choice among the Republicans is particularly tough. Voters can’t go wrong with either Federal Way City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar or businessman Tony Moore, president of the Federal Way School Board.
Both are fine candidates, but we’re giving the edge to Moore. His school board background would make him a strong Republican advocate for education in the House. That’s important given the void in expertise that will be left with the departure of 25th District Rep. Bruce Dammeier, who is running for the state Senate. And like Flygare, Moore’s business experience would be valuable in the House.
Also running is Boeing millwright Jerry Galland. He’s no match for either Moore or Kochmar.
• In House Position 2, redistricting may make it a little easier for incumbent Rep. Katrina Asay to hold on to her seat. The 30th District now includes much of Milton, where Asay served as mayor for more than seven years.
As the incumbent and only Republican in the three-person race, she’s virtually guaranteed a spot on the Nov. 6 ballot. So the choice is for Democrats between Federal Way City Councilman and attorney Roger Freeman and Boeing electrical engineer Rick Hoffman, also of Federal Way.
Hoffman is a doctrinaire liberal. Freeman’s more moderate politics are the better fit for this district, and he has a depth of community service that Hoffman lacks, including five years on the Federal Way’s Human Services Commission and co-founding the Coalition to End Truancy. As an attorney who represents troubled youths, Freeman would bring to the Legislature valuable perspective on the challenges facing them and disadvantaged families.
• Coming Sunday: Endorsements in five Pierce County Superior Court races. These endorsements will be posted on our blog Friday afternoon.