Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag is chairman of Democrats For McKenna

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
June 12, 2012 12:25 pm

Washington state Auditor Brian Sonntag with Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna. (Elaine Thompson-AP)
Brian Sonntag is clearly the marque name among a dozen or so Democrats who stood with Republican Rob McKenna to announce they would support his bid to be Washington’s next governor.

Sonntag, himself mentioned as a possible governor candidate in the past, will lead what is being called Democrats for Rob (or D4R).

Here’s what Sonntag said in a statement released this morning: “After years of effective partnership, mutual respect, and friendship, helping Rob in this capacity was an afterthought. I am confident he is the right person for the job. Olympia has been polluted by special interest or partisan meddling. I’ve seen Rob display the kind of leadership that can get past all of that.

“Each Democrat that arrives at the same realization I have may have their own reason to offer or story to tell. I am here to encourage their involvement and lend my support to a friend that has repeatedly demonstrated that patient, thoughtful leadership can consistently triumph over debilitating partisanship.”

Sonntag is retiring after five terms as state auditor. Before that he served two terms each as Pierce County Auditor and Pierce County Clerk.

The other Democrats who appeared at the announcement were Jim Boldt, Thi Huynh, Paul Carkeek, Marie Mentor, Ron Chow, Tim Sheldon, Mark Doumit, Kirke Sievers, Maggie Fimia, Morrie Trautman, Larry Finegold and Judy Yu.

Few are familiar statewide. Sheldon is a longtime legislator, Boldt, a retired lobbyist, served a single term in the Legislature from the Tri-Cities and now publishes the on-line state news site called Washington Wire. Doumit too was a legislator who now runs the Washington Forest Protection Association. Fimia is a former King County councilwoman.

(UPDATE: Jim Boldt offers this clarification: “I served two terms in the state house from the 8th district, not one. And twice elected to the Federal Way school’s board serving five years, and I have not been Publisher of Washingtonstatewire.com since March. Since March I have been business development director, not responsible for content.” Boldit was elected twice but stepped down 16 months into his second term.)

“Dedicated public servants must put their commitment to the public’s best interests above all else, including party labels,” said McKenna. “As Governor, I intend to listen to voices from across the political spectrum, because no one group or party has a monopoly on good ideas.”

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz was critical of the move without taking on any of the named Democrats.

“”If Rob McKenna ever comes up with a new idea, it will definitely be news,” Pelz said in a statement. “We’ve been through Democrats for Dino and Democrats for Hutchison,” Pelz said. “We’re looking forward to the pattern of this failed stunt continuing with Jay Inslee winning this election and becoming our next governor.”

But the progressive group FUSE was less reluctant to go after the members of the group.

“Today’s announcement is particularly noteworthy given that Sonntag endorsed McKenna for Attorney General in 2008,” the group stated. “Sonntag’s other previous endorsements include Susan Hutchison for King County Executive, Jim Johnson for Supreme Court, and former Republican legislator Toby Nixon for King County Council.”

Here is the announcement from the McKenna Campaign…

‘Democrats for Rob’ Launched

It is clear that Washington State voters are tired of partisan gridlock, whether it is in Congress or our state legislature. That is why Attorney General Rob McKenna’s call for a New Direction resonates with voters across party lines – and is one of the many reasons why he has been joined by several Democratic leaders to form the latest McKenna gubernatorial campaign coalition group – Democrats for Rob (D4R).

“Dedicated public servants must put their commitment to the public’s best interests above all else, including party labels,” said McKenna. “As Governor, I intend to listen to voices from across the political spectrum, because no one group or party has a monopoly on good ideas.

“I am looking for people committed to moving this state in a New Direction – getting people back to work, adequately funding public schools, and making state government more efficient and less costly – and together I’m sure we can find a way to lead our state forward.”

McKenna had demonstrated his ability to overcame partisan gridlock as Attorney General, helping pass 45 bills through the Democratically-controlled Legislature over the last eight years. He has also worked with prominent Democrats to champion proven education reforms and advance open government initiatives. On the latter, McKenna has partnered extensively with the chairman of D4R, five-term State Auditor Brian Sonntag.

“After years of effective partnership, mutual respect, and friendship, helping Rob in this capacity was an afterthought,” said Sonntag. “I am confident he is the right person for the job. Olympia has been polluted by special interest or partisan meddling. I’ve seen Rob display the kind of leadership that can get past all of that.

“Each Democrat that arrives at the same realization I have may have their own reason to offer or story to tell,” continued Sonntag. “I am here to encourage their involvement and lend my support to a friend that has repeatedly demonstrated that patient, thoughtful leadership can consistently triumph over debilitating partisanship.”

McKenna was joined by several Democrats at the Seattle Center to announce D4R. Among those group members scheduled to be in attendance today:

Jim Boldt
Thi Huynh
Paul Carkeek
Marie Mentor
Ron Chow
Tim Sheldon
Mark Doumit
Kirke Sievers
Maggie Fimia
Morrie Trautman
Larry Finegold
Judy Yu

*
The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for thenewstribune.com. Report violators to webmaster@thenewstribune.com.