Washington State House of Representatives Appropriations Chair Helen Sommers leads the list of state legislators retiring this year. Sommers is currently the longest serving State Legislator in Olympia, having served for 36 years in the House.
She has held an iron fist over the budget writing Appropriations Committee for many years, irritating at times various factions in the state. For the last 10 years she has been either the Chair or Co-Chair of the committee. Two years ago she fought and won a high spending primary challenge by Alice Woldt who was backed by the SEIU.
As the Seattle Times reports:
There’s already speculation about who will succeed Sommers as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most influential positions in the Legislature.
Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, said she’s going for the job. “I think I have as good a shot as anybody. I’m pretty optimistic,” she said.
Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, is vice chairman of the committee and often mentioned as a possible successor to Sommers. Dunshee said he’s interested in the job but wouldn’t say much else.
“We should do this in a way that gives [Sommers] the most grace and dignity,” he said. “It seems unseemly to be ripping her name plate off the door already.”
Sommers currently represents the 36th LD in Seattle. Two Democratic candidates, aware of rumors of her pending retirement, now confirmed, are charging out of the gate. John Burbank, the executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute in Seattle is already doorbelling according to an e-mail I received yesterday. The other Democrat running is Reuven Caryle, a former legislative aide.
Reports filed with the Washington Public Disclosure reports that John Burbank has raised $15,161. Reuven M Carlyle filed earlier and has raised $52,810.
Also not running against for the Legislature is Jim McIntire of the 46th L.D. in North Seattle. McIntire is running for Washington State Treasurer. Two Democrats have announced they are running for the McIntire’s old vacant seat.
Scott White, former Chair of the 46Th District Democrats, was the first candidate to announce for the seat and has raised some $28,564, with $15,643 still on hand. Gerald Pollet, a lawyer and the Executive Director of the public interest group Heart of America has also announced he is running. As of March 5, 2008 he had raised $2280.
Also stepping down this year are Reps. Bill Eickmeyer, D-Belfair, Mason County; Bill Fromhold, D-Vancouver; Pat Lantz, D-Gig Harbor; Joyce McDonald, R-Puyallup; Lynn Schindler, R-Spokane Valley; and Bob Sump, R-Republic, Ferry County.
Democrat Bill Eickmeyer represented the 35th L.D. Two Republicans and one Democrat are running to replace him. Democrat Daryl Daugs of Belfair will be running in November against either Republican Herb Baze of Shelton or Republican Randy S Neatherlin of Belfair.
No candidates have yet filed with the PDC to run for the 49th LD seat being vacated by Democrat Bill Fromhold of Vancouver.
Democrat Bruce F Dammeier of Puyallup is running for the 25th LD seat being vacated by Republican Joyce McDonald of Puyallup.
Democrat Allister H O’Brien of Montlake Terrace is running for the seat being vacated by Democrat Pat Lantz in the 1st LD.
Republican Lynn Schinder is vacating her 4th LD seat. Two Republicans, Ray G Deonier of Spokane Valley and Matt T Shea are competing for the seat.
Republican Bob Sump of Ferry County is vacating his 7th LD seat. Two Republicans, Peter B Davenport of Harrington and Sue Lani W Madsen of Edwall and Democrat Kelly D White of Kettle Fall are running for the seat.
March 14, 2008 update: Joe Turner at Political Buzz adds a ninth state Legislator retiring – Representative Shay Schual Burke a Democrat from Normandy Park representing the 33rd LD in South King County. Turner notes that Rep Joyce McDonald is leaving the Legislature to run for Pierce County Council and that Rep Fromhold is leaving to take a different job.
March 28, 2008 update: Joe Turner at Political Buzz says Democratic Senator Harriet Spanel of Bellingham has told local Democrats she is not re-running.