At least seven candidates have registered for office this week calling themselves independent or stating no party preference.
In Washington’s top two primary, candidates can pick any party — or decline to pick one.
“The parties are not serving Americans,” said Schalk Leonard, a retired Navy judge advocate from Poulsbo running for U.S. Senate. “The parties are engaged in a type of tribal warfare which distracts them from producing benevolent and useful results.”
Leonard doesn’t see himself as fitting in either party, with his call for making sure gays can serve openly in the military that inclines him toward Democrats, and his support for free trade that he associates more with Republicans.
The newcomer is one of two independents to challenge Democratic Sen. Patty Murray so far; the other is Skip Mercer, who’s been in the race for months but until recently had been running as a Republican.
One name among the independents leaped out at me: Rep. Eric Pettigrew, a liberal state legislator from Seattle who would be one of the last Democrats I would expect to jump ship. Turns out, he’s not.
He tried to file while on a trip to New York, he explained to me: “I filed online with my iPhone, and I guess I missed the party preference.”
Now the phone is lighting up with calls from party officials. “They’re freaking out,” he said. But he’ll fix the mistake. “I’ve been a Democrat my whole frickin’ life. Why would I change?”
MADE-UP PARTIES AND GRAMMAR POLICE: Two updates to my blog post earlier on weird party names like the Lower Taxes Party.
The latest made-up name is the “(R) Problemfixer Party,” chosen by state Senate candidate Leslie Klein.
And if Republicans keep referring to their opponents, ungrammatically, as members of the “Democrat Party,” they’ll be able to defend themselves by pointing to all the Democratic candidates who have labeled themselves that way on the ballot – including one of the most powerful of them all, state House Speaker Frank Chopp.