Just when you thought politics could not get any weirder, the godfather of state initiatives, Tim Eyman, has declared his intention to run for governor of Washington.
Eyman has been a perpetual nuisance to the political establishment for decades, running anti-tax, anti-government ballot measures that appeal to angry, alienated and often misled voters. His record of victories is spotty, but, always, he has a good payday. Currently, he is facing accusations of mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations, enriching himself in the process.
Despite his legal and ethical issues, Eyman has maintained a fervent base of support in the state that could give him a big advantage over the suburban legislator, the small-town police chief and the real estate developer who have said they are seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination. They are unknowns in most parts of the state, while Eyman is a household name in every county. In a party now dominated by President Donald Trump fans who don’t mind backing a con man if he speaks their language, Eyman may well be an instant front-runner.
If nothing else, Eyman’s entry into the governor’s race enlivens a campaign that looked as if it would be an easy stroll to victory for Gov. Jay Inslee who, after abandoning his presidential campaign, has chosen to seek a third term. It seems highly unlikely that Eyman could actually beat Inslee in a state that has not elected a Republican governor since 1980 and in an election year when the anti-Trump vote will be coming out in force. Still, if there were sure bets in politics, Hillary Clinton would be president.
So, if you are a Democrat, just imagine waking up the morning after Election Day in 2020 and realizing that, not only has Trump been reelected, but Tim Eyman is your new governor. I believe that’s what is called a nightmare scenario.
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