Dems’ Sen. Murray says he’ll ask Lt. Gov. Owen to help transition Senate’s power to new Republican-dominated coalition
Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray says he is going to ask Lt. Gov. Brad Owen for help in sorting out an orderly transition of power in the chamber – as his caucus prepares to hand over reins to a new alliance of 23 Republicans and two Democrats on Jan. 14.
Murray also said late Thursday in a telephone interview that he is willing to give up claims to leadership offices in the state Capitol, leaving his caucus’ space to Sen. Rodney Tom, the dissident Democrat who along with maverick Sen. Tim Sheldon is forming the new majority caucus with the Republican minority.
Murray’s announcements were the latest turns in a strange, evolving situation in the Senate where Democrats have a 26 seats, Republicans led by Sen. Mark Schoesler have 23, and a new coalition led by Tom and Schoesler is trying to seize power.
Murray’s offer to bring in Owen as peacemaker might offer an end to the unfolding soap opera over who is in charge at the Senate – and how the transfer of power will take place before lawmakers show up mid-January for a 105-day session widely expected to be difficult just because of the school funding issue.