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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What will Carolyn Do?

Posted by on June 29 at 15:27 PM

Carolyn Edmonds is in a bind.

At a North Seattle candidates’ forum last week, the county council incumbent said she “[had] the votes to win” the “official” Democratic Party nomination for reelection to her council seat, which is being contested by her fellow council incumbent Bob Ferguson. Edmonds added: “If I don’t, I would not file as something other than a Democrat.” Now that she has resoundingly lost her party’s nomination, Edmonds is faced with some big decisions.

As today's P-I reports, County Council Democrat Ferguson easily outpolled fellow Edmonds at last night's Democratic Party "nominating" convention, making him the official party choice for reelection. Ferguson and Edmonds, both incumbents, have to run against each other because their districts now overlap under a redistricting plan mandated by voters last year. A new primary system (also adopted last year) lets the top two vote-getters through to the general election, regardless of party; the parties hate this system because it reduces their control over who gets on the ballot. To get around the new rules, both parties are holding legally questionable "nominating conventions" to anoint their "official" candidates.

A judge will rule on the legality of the new primary this week. If the primary system is upheld, Ferguson's win would leave Edmonds with a stark choice: Run as an independent (and go back on her campaign promise); bow out and concede defeat; or run as a Democrat in defiance of her party.