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A “battle for the soul” of House Democrats

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 20, 2010 at 7:10 am |
April 19, 2010 6:36 pm

Rep. Christopher Hurst has filed paperwork to run for re-election. That’s no surprise. What’s interesting is his party affiliation.

Instead of Democrat, it’s “Independent Democrat,” a slap at the majority party that he disagreed with frequently this year.

The former police detective from Enumclaw voted against the $800 million tax package and the I-960 suspension that paved the way for the taxes. He was among those conservative-to-centrist Democrats that some dubbed the “Roadkill Caucus.”

Hurst said he will remain in the House Democratic caucus and support Speaker Frank Chopp of Seattle, but he and other legislators from rural and suburban areas will demand organizational changes next year. They need more of a voice to balance out “Seattle liberals,” he said, especially with Majority Leader Lynn Kessler of Hoquiam retiring.

“I really feel that a handful, maybe 14-15 liberal members of our caucus, really drove too much of the policy this year,” Hurst said.

The makeup and chairmanships of key committees will be on the table, as will leadership posts, he said. He calls it a “battle for the soul of the House Democratic Caucus.”

Others may file as Independent Democrats. “I don’t think I’m going to be the only one.”

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