They’re demoralized by President Trump and angry at down-ballot losses. Now Washington Democrats may take out their frustrations by making a change at the top.
We preview the upcoming vote for state party chair, scheduled for Saturday in Olympia. The contest comes amid big turnover in the state party’s central committee, largely driven by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
State Democratic Party Chair Jaxon Ravens, a longtime party leader, is facing a strong challenge from Tina Podlodowski, the former Seattle City Councilmember who ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State last year.
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Political reporters Jim Brunner and Dan Beekman grill Podlodwski and Ravens about the future of the Democratic Party in Washington.
Turns out the rivals agree on some points: while Democrats have continued to win most top-tier, statewide races – think Governor and U.S. Senate – the party has been trounced by Republicans in some other contests. Democratic majorities in the state Legislature have dwindled, and, outside the Seattle area, the party has been losing county council seats.
Ravens acknowledges those setbacks, but argues he can lead a rebuilding effort. He throws some shade at Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama, saying national Democrats failed to support state parties. He says he’s got the skills to rebuild the party’s grassroots.
Podlodowski says it’s time for a new blood and new energy. She’s pushing a 39-county strategy, arguing Democrats have conceded too much territory to Republicans outside the Puget Sound core. She also responds to accusations from former state party chairman Dwight Pelz, who has accused her of being a political dilettante.
Also, Jim and Dan award this week’s political winners and losers, both related to two Washington Republicans taking major leadership roles at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Find and listen to past episodes of The Overcast here.
Send us your feedback and your nominations for next week’s winner and loser in local politics. Leave a comment on this post, tweet at us (@Jim_Brunner and @DBeekman), email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or drop us a voicemail at 206 464-8778.