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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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May 5, 2008 1:49 PM

Pelz wants party leaders to keep the faith

Posted by David Postman

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz urged party leaders to continue to hold nominating conventions this month and not back down from having to pick a favorite among competing candidates in the top-two primary.

At least two legislative district party organizations have balked at Pelz’ request, with Seattle’s 36th District saying it will not vote to endorse either Democratic candidate in the race to replace retiring Rep. Helen Sommers.

In a Sunday e-mail, Pelz reminds party leaders that of an April 9 message to party chairs that says:

If you have multiple candidates, you need to run a tight operation, and seek maximum participation from your PCO's.

A quorum is not required to make an endorsement under the Democrats' rule. Pelz said he is proud that most Democrats are following the party’s request.

This Party has stepped up to a tremendous challenge posed by the US Supreme Court ruling on March 18 which (tentatively) upheld the Top Two Primary. You have responded by planning, organizing, and/or conducting 55 Nominating Conventions at the LD, County, and CD levels.

He said it was unfortunate that there are resistors among party leaders.

Some LD or County parties face a tough choice between two or more solid candidates. The Thurston County Democrats should be recognized for making a hard choice between two good Democrats standing for County Commissioner at their April 28th Nominating Convention. The 46th LD will face a similarly tough choice on May 15th.

I, and state election officials, expected more litigation by now over the top-two primary. But so far spokesmen for the Democratic and Republican parties say their sides are still reviewing the primary rules issued by Secretary of State Sam Reed.

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Posted by Methow Ken

2:21 PM, May 05, 2008

Something that seems to be largely overlooked in the discussion of consequences (intended and otherwise) of the decision handed down by the Supremes:

There is as I understand it nothing in either the decision or the rules just issued by the SOS that prevents or precludes parties nominating MORE than one candidate for a particular partisan office. If 4 example in one Leg District a party nominates 2 candidates and they end up being the ''Top 2'' in that race, then both nominated candidates from that one party would advance to the general.

So parties really have 3 options for this ''Top 2'' primary round:

1. Do not nominate ANYBODY; and let whoever files per the SOS rules indicate their party preference as they see fit. Except perhaps in a few special cases, IMO parties should formally nominate candidates; i.e.: Do NOT sit on the sidelines.

2. Nomiate ONE candidate in the field; if the local party feels that one person stands out as the preferred party nominee.

3. Nominate TWO candidates (or could even be more, although I would think 2 would likely be a logical limit in most cases; given the ''Top 2'' rules) for a particular office, if the local party feels that both candidates are members in good standing; i.e.: Let the voters decide; either in the primary, or in the general; if both nominees make it that far.

Posted by Bye Bye Pelz

3:13 PM, May 05, 2008

Methow is right, there is nothing that says the parties have to pick anyone. Pelz and Esser have reached an agreement to each only put forth one candidate, that way there will be a Democrat and a Republican in the general election. The VOTERs should get to make that choice. There is no reason there couldn't be two democrats or two republicans, except the "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" between the parties. There are a few seats in the state where there would only be one party represented.

In an attempt to gain more control over the process, the parties shot themselves in the foot.

Posted by Methow Ken

8:16 PM, May 05, 2008

I predict there will be more news in this area ''shortly''. . . .

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