Politics Pollet Official Choice of the 46th
posted by May 30 at 14:06 PMon
After a nominating convention that was thrown into chaos when a missing ballot was discovered in the house of a supporter of 46th Democratic District legislative candidate Scott White, who had narrowly lost the nomination vote to Gerry Pollet, White supporters have reached a tentative agreement not to challenge Pollet’s nomination. The decision, made at a special meeting of the 46th District’s executive board this past Monday, means that Pollet will be the district’s official nominee. “The efforts to overturn the vote are over and it’s now resolved and I’m the official nominee,” Pollet says. “I am very pleased to have the [46th District’s] support.”
However, that official support may not have much practical benefit—under terms to be laid out in a letter that’s currently being drafted by 46th District Democratic Chairman Javier Valdez (who did not return a call for comment), Pollet could not mention the fact that he’s the official nominee in campaign literature or in the official voter guide sent out to voters. “Basically,” White says, “the trade-off is that [Pollet] would not use the phrase [“official nominee”] or terminology relative to being the nominee in any capacity, and I would agree not to challenge.” Instead, both candidates will (again, according to the tentative agreement) seek a dual endorsement from the 46th District Democrats.
The confusion over the nomination in the 46th started at a special “nominating convention” earlier this month, at which about 100 of the district’s precinct committee officers (PCOs) cast ballots for their preferred nominee. (That rather odd process for picking the district’s state legislative nominee was chosen by the state party and its chair, Dwight Pelz, after a Supreme Court ruling kept alive the state’s voter-approved “top two” primary—in which the two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary move on to the general election, regardless of what party they’re in. In Seattle, this will usually mean that two Democrats move forward to the general). Under that system, White lost by three points, according to the tally at the meeting. Subsequently, however, Dean Fournier, a White supporter who took the ballot boxes home with him recounted the ballots on his own—and found, according to an email from Fournier to Valdez, an extra ballot that put White in the lead. Thus ensued the lengthy debate about which candidate was the true winner in the close and bizarre nominating battle.
The 46th District Dems will meet again on June 19, when they’ll vote on which candidate or candidates to endorse. Because a single endorsement requires two-thirds support (which neither candidate has) and because of the terms of the tentative agreement between Pollet and White, 46th vice chair Betty Means says “there will be a recommendation for a dual endorsement,” which only requires a simple majority. “Scott and I will both expect to be endorsed in a dual endorsement” at the meeting, says Pollet, who calls the deal a “gentlemen’s agreement.”
White, former chair of the 46th District Democrats, says that “in our area, we have long-established endorsement processes that are well-vetted, and this nomination process clearly was not something that was well-vetted… One of the things we’re trying to do [with the dual endorsement] is show unity within the Democratic Party.”
The whole debacle, White adds, speaks to the problem with the top-two primary, which the Democrats are continuing to fight in court. (Pelz did not return a call for comment about the Democrat’s ongoing case.) “It’s created a lot of confusion at the grassroots,” White says. “This [process] is exactly why the Democrats have been so frustrated.”