SD-17: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward appointed to Oregon Senate

Carla Axtman

In a bit of a twist, Commissioners from Washington and Multnomah County voted this afternoon to appoint Elizabeth Steiner Hayward to the Oregon Senate, filling the seat vacated by Suzanne Bonamici.

Steiner-Hayward, who campaigned heavily for the seat among precinct committee persons (PCPs) in Washington and Multnomah County, came in second in the voting among that group on December 11. The general expectation from that outcome was that Rep. Chris Harker, who came in first in that balloting, would be appointed. That's almost always the case.

The first vote among the commissioners yielded a tie between Harker and Steiner-Hayward, with 2 of the three conservative Washington County Commissioners voting for Steiner-Hayward. A third conservative Washington County Commissioner, Bob Terry, who is currently on a boat near Panama, had to be contacted to cast the deciding vote dialed in for the meeting. Because the Senate district has many more Washington County constituents, the votes of those commissioners are given much greater weight.

Ironically during the December 11 precinct committee meeting, Multnomah County PCPs seemed to be voting heavily for Steiner-Hayward, but were out-voted by the majority Washington County folks. It would seem that the county's own commissioners undermined them, handing the more liberal Multnomah County folks what they were asking for.

Comments

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    Although I personally know very little about her, she certainly seems to have "solid credentials".

    I wanted to point out, if I remember correctly, Martha Schrader was appointed to the senate by the commissioners although the clackamas co pcp's went the other way. There was another appt. that went that way relatively recently, but I forget who it was. Alas.

    I wish her well and Oregon is lucky to have both Harker and Steiner-Hayward.

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      Katherine:

      I think Elizabeth will do a great job. I chatted with her a number of times. My only concern is that she's probably going to have to get up to speed really, really fast--which will be difficult. But given how hard I've seen her work already, I have faith that she'll manage it well.

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    One small correction, Carla: Commissioner Bob Terry was available by phone through the whole process today, but the phone connection was lost just as he was about to cast his vote. There was a 5 minute recess while they got a phone line reconnected for him.

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      I can certainly understand why PCPs are angry. Their vote wasn't honored.

      That said, I think it's a bit premature to beat on Hayward. She deserves a chance to get into the seat and prove herself (or not).

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        I disagree. The only thing more difficult to get rid of than a bad Republican is a bad Democrat. Most of the PCP's I know viewed her as out of touch with any working class voter and I don't believe that she will make a good Senator.

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          Hmm...I saw an awful lot of PCPs at the meeting on December 11 vote for her. It wasn't a gimme for Harker.

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            Quite obviously, at least a majority of PCPs voted to nominate her for the State Senate.

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              "Quite Obviously"? She was the second nominee, Chris was the first choice. She only recieved a majority of PCP's after Chris was moved forward.

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                Once it leaves the PCP phase, there is no "first choice" or "second choice". There's just three (to five) nominees.

                If the PCPs didn't want to nominate her, then they shouldn't have nominated her.

                Bottom line is, they did. And the county commissioners have every right - and, in fact, are required by law - to apply their best judgment and select from among the three.

                Again, I have no idea who the best candidate is here - but to suggest that the elected commissioners should act as a rubberstamp is silly.

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                I thought anonymous was out. You used your name yesterday. What makes you special?

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                  James, anonymous is out. That said, if someone dials back their privacy settings after posting a comment here, Facebook honors that.

                  Of course, you can take the facebook user id that's found in that link and drop it into a facebook profile url and visit their page (assuming that it's visible to you.) Here's this one.

                  In any case, once someone does this - posts on BlueOregon, then downshifts their privacy to go anonymous - we bar them from BlueOregon.

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          Afraid to show your name?

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          Calling Elizabeth Steiner Hayward a bad Democrat says a lot more about you than it does her. You go on and on about all the work you've done for the party but as far as I'm concerned it means nothing when I read statements like the one above.

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        I'm not beating up on her at all. She did a great job campaigning, it's certainly to her credit that she got the votes of The Washington County Republican Commissioners. I think there is a very good reason why the Republican Washington County Commissioners chose her, against our will. They want a shot at this seat in 2012 and they definitely have that shot now.

        Multnomah County Dems have a much harder time appealing to the Democrats in SD17 - I know, I've gone door-to-door in a primary between a Mult. Dem and a Wash Co Dem, for this very seat.

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          i assume you know her personally & know that her financial standing make it impossible for her to be a progressive, a person of compassion, or someone who can represent SD17 fairly, intelligently & in accordance with many of the values you claim to espouse.

          the vote at the nominating convention was the closest i've ever seen. given the structure of the vote, with WashCo & MultCo PCPs have hundreds of votes each, the final ballot of the first round where Harker won was only a difference of a few PCPs' total votes. had a few more MultCo voters shown up, it might have even been reversed. to say that Harker represented the will of those at the convention is ridiculous; he represented the will of barely half of those in attendance.

          as a progressive & someone not only about a million miles from the 1% but with years of grassroots experience, i'm thrilled with her selection. i got to know her recently, and i have a family member who knows her quite well professionally. she's going to be a terrific state Senator for your district.

          now it's up to you to stop screaming about a miscarriage of justice when, in fact, there was none. just a result you don't like.

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            The fluctuation of PCPs on either side could have changed the results. I happen to know four PCPs who would have voted for Representative Harker, but were unable to make it to the convention given their travel schedules around the holidays; those four would have given him the vote on the first ballot. The fact that PCP attendance would have, or could have, changed the result of the nominating convention is really not relevant.

            In reality what I witnessed today was a Republican appointment to my Senate district; we had Multnomah Commissioners split evenly; Shiprack and Cogen for Rep Harker and Smith and Kafoury for Elizabeth; Washington Commissioners were split on party line with Malinowski and Schouten voting for Rep Harker and the three Republican Commissioners, Duyck, Rogers, and Terry, voting for Elizabeth. Say anything you like about Rep Harker or Elizabeth, but the fact remains Republican’s intervened and picked someone the PCPs had as their second choice.

            I walked out of the room feeling, for the first time in my adult life, like the process was not on the up and up. You may like Elizabeth, and I sincerely wish she was in your district, but she wasn’t who was selected to lead my Senate district, and I’m left to wonder why the Republicans would want second place in this Senate seat.

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              that's sour grapes, not fact. elected officials did their job. if one of those Republicans had voted for Harker, then you'd be celebrating. i think this method of picking new members of the Leg sucks; i'd much prefer a special election. but this is state law, not a coup.

              and i'm pretty confident the GOP isn't going to be any happier with ESH than they were with Suzanne Bonamici. one liberal Dem woman is replacing another. you'll see pretty similar results.

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                No, actually Kimberly makes an excellent point here, and one that progressives in my county need to take seriously.

                Our County Commission is seriously to the right relative to the vast majority of citizens who live here. This process should serve as a wake up call that there is a lot of work to do at the local level here.

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              FYI for readers: Kim is on Rep. Harker's staff. (Kim, don't forget to disclose when you're talking about your employer or clients.)

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                My mistake. To be honest, I think my connection to, and volunteer work in, the Senate District is far more relevant, though I can understand why some, who don’t know me, would assume otherwise. Just so you know, I’ve lived in HD33 for about ten years and have served as an elected PCP for nearly as long. I also served as a house district leader for years and am an active volunteer who not only phonebanks, knocks on doors, and fundraises, but also helps with monthly functions in the district. I did not “become” interested in this Senate District over the past few months, but rather have spent the last decade volunteering for Representative Greenlick, Senators Avakian and Bonamici, and Commissioner Malinowski; participating in my CPO and helping in my local schools. I have many connections to this community and the people here are a driving force of why I care.

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                Thanks for pointing it out, Kari. To be clear, I work as legislative staff for Representative Harker, but am very involved as a citizen volunteer in HD33. (Rep. Greenlick) I have participated in a few of these events including Suzanne and Brad and the view above is my own; not the view of Rep Harker's office. For now, I think I'll try to finish up that holiday shopping.

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            Thank you, TA, your humility and deep insight into my senate district, county politics and local party is greatly appreciated and will be given the weight it deserves.

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              30 state senators in total, of whom 17 are Dems. damn right i'm concerned about this choice. it has a huge impact on me, too.

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              The parochial view is disturbing. In 1996 I was at a conference with the National Geographic Society. We were addressed by, among others, a U.S. Ambassador. His message to us was that issues and interactions don't end at political boundaries, and regions need to work together for the health of the people and the land.

              Think globally, act locally.

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            T.A., I don't know her well. While I have attended countless party functions, worked hard to get numerous Dems elected at all levels, attended County, state and local meetings, I met her once before the election. It's a small town, so I find that telling when suddenly somebody takes an interest in one issue, has a lot of money, and people of influence are willing to make calls for them to get elected to a job (it was very clear to me after our breakfast) she doesn't fully understand. Great, she can learn! Meanwhile, our votes were discounted, and I have to worry about what these $20 million in additional cuts to my kids' schools will look like without a Senator who fully understands what that feels like.

            Actual constituents, like me, who have kids in this district are worried for the homeless, underserved kids in our community who just lost our strongest Senate Advocate for Public education to a person with zero experience in our public schools.

            I'm glad you can discount that, because she lost our vote closely enough for those with similar privilege to feel OK with it. I guess we should feel equally OK with the 2000 Presidential Election where a small group of Conservatives decided to ignore the actual vote.

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              equating 2000's coup by SCOTUS with the circumstance is pathetic. the convention was split almost evenly, and you can't really dodge that. you don't like the outcome? tough. i don't like a lot of political outcomes. that doesn't mean your votes were discounted; it means the PCPs didn't come to a clear decision. you'll keep fighting that, i know.

              don't forget: the convention wasn't to pick a winner; it was to send 3 nominees to the commissioners. and 2 of the 3 were almost as equally preferred. that's the way the numbers were.

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              You state that we lost our strongest advocate for public education. What about public education employees? Maybe you can explain to me why Harker co-sponsored with Republicans the onerous HB 3539 which restricts the right of school employees to collectively bargain and why the OEA gave him a D grade regarding his votes on education? He may be a friend to many and a good party guy but it's why he lost my vote. He sure didn't answer the question at the convention and is the reason I voted for Elizabeth who I considered to be the more progressive candidate who promised me she would never support restricting the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

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                You can ask Chris that question directly, I did. I also asked one of the teachers at my local elementary school why he got a D - her assessment of that was very different and not something I will share with you. But I find it interesting how easy it is for communication to break down between our law-makers, the electorate, and our educators when we rely completely on a single grade by one of our Progressive organizations to form our opinions. Needless to say, he is not actually hated by teachers and that grade aside, Suzanne also received a ridiculous grade last session (unjustifiably so, in my opinion).

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      You are not only a PCP but an LDL as well. For a leader in our party to label Elizabeth Steiner a firm member of the 1% is playing the class warfare card that Republican accuse Democrats of doing. Elizabeth is one of the most progressive people I've ever met and to dismiss because of her wealth is really below what I expect out of our leadership.
      Shame on you.

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        Yes, upper party members told me the same thing when I would speak ill of David Wu and our constant refusal to run or support challengers against him in primaries. Mind you, I am absolutely NOT comparing the two, I would not compare Elizabeth to him EVER. I actually don't think ill of her in the least and I have hope that she will be a great Senator.

        I WILL speak out when I think we need to put forward our best candidates, and when I feel we need to find a way to make our representatives stronger candidates. I will also say that a candidate who was selected by Republicans should not go unchallenged in a primary because she does need to prove she can get elected and win the support of our base and the entire district, before a general election, or we could lose another Senate seat that we cannot afford to lose.

        It doesn't mean I don't want her to win the primary, it doesn't mean I don't want her to do well in The Senate, it means we need to understand, as a party that it is OK to require a lot of our lawmakers. It is also healthy for her constituents to point out why we had concerns about her, where we want to see proof she will lead us well and how she can be the strongest candidate in 2012.

        Noticing where our candidates have weaknesses does not mean we hate them or our party. I wish nothing more than the very best for Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward in this upcoming session. I hope she uses this opportunity to show us why she deserves our support and votes in 2012. I also look forward to working with her.

        I know what it is like to go walking door to door with a Republican (in a Democratic Primary) for this district. And James, that only happened because Brad was the kind of Senator who people in the district believed in. They knew he was just like them and he would consider their needs in all of their votes.

        Suzanne may not have been exactly like all of us, but you would never feel that way if you ever sat down with her or met with her at your front door. I've had the privilege of walking with her, door-to-door, in this district, too. I look forward to doing the same for Elizabeth once she has proven herself in session.

        You don't have to shut down and ask nothing of your representatives just because you serve the party and your community as an elected PCP. Kindly, understand that I've served as a damn fine HDL and PCP in this district for many years and it isn't for any other reason than the fact that I simply care about my community - above individual lawmakers.

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      As a teacher and politically involved member of the state and local education association let me plead: do not rely on those with kids in (or still with kids young enough to be in) our public schools--they are a minority of the population. If everyone is not kept convinced of the value of public education, we will continue to struggle. Elected officials and voters should always be kept apprised of the needs of kids in the state, and not just education needs.

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      I get that you are frustrated (see my comment below), but to advocate a primary challenge is ridiculous. Your anger is clouding your better judgement.

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        Carla, I don't find it the least bit ridiculous to say that we should hope to have our new Senator win the vote of her base before facing a Republican challenger. Does that cost money? Does that mean our new Senator has to consider her base in this short session? Yes and Yes. But would that make her a stronger candidate in The General Election? absolutely.

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          Sadie, THIS is your comment:

          My strong hope tonight is that Washington County Democrats find a strong primary candidate to run in May because SD17's seat will be hard to hold if a strong Republican decides to run against her.

          Your implication & assumptions are clear here. You intimate that Elizabeth is not a strong candidate AND you clearly set up an adversarial scenario in suggesting that the WashCo Dems find another candidate to run.

          You set the bar quite a bit higher for her in comparison to what is asked of other Democratic candidates in other races. To a large degree, Dems collectively are quite comfortable with having a solo Dem in the Primary... even a rookie candidate.

          To answer your $ question, albeit rhetorical... YES, it does take money and sweat equity to engage in a primary challenge. These Districts do not operate in silos, and volunteer hours and money do have limits.

          While a Dem may be inspired to challenge an incumbent - nobody is stopping him/her - to actually call for that in SD 17 specifically reeks of your anger. You are not trying to make her a "stronger candidate" via a Primary challenge, you are just PO'ed.

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            I'm not POd and she's not currently a strong candidate, she couldn't win an election in a room of less than 200 Democrats - her base. These are just facts. That doesn't mean I don't believe she can become one, and I've pointed out how (make public education a priority and show that she can win the vote of her base before facing a Republican).

            I do feel strongly that our party does a disservice to everyone when we refuse to ask anything of our representatives and line up with our unquestioned allegiance when there is clear reason to ask them to earn it.

            In the end we spend less money on campaigns in districts with our strongest candidates. It's not unreasonable that we expect a candidate to actually win a single election before we decide they are untouchables.

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              I will preface this by reiterating that I think both Chris and Elizabeth are great folk, and mention again that I am neutral in this and any process in which I have even a small part in running.

              Sadie, I find this reply of yours particularly ironic:

              "I do feel strongly that our party does a disservice to everyone when we refuse to ask anything of our representatives and line up with our unquestioned allegiance when there is clear reason to ask them to earn it."

              This is exactly the argument that could have been used by Elizabeth & her supporters during the entire process. I don't know that she did; what I saw of Elizabeth's communications were focused on what she could bring to Salem. I.E., she didn't go negative.

              As far as your assertion that she is not a strong candidate: Elizabeth did face a tremendous uphill battle, and while not getting the nod as the first nominee to move forward, she was w/o question a contender, and followed up her second place finish by campaigning successfully to that very small audience of County Commissioners.

              Even you said this in a post above:

              "She did a great job campaigning..."

              Further, she is not the first candidate to come in second in the first stages of election process to come from behind and win. Current sitting Multnomah County Commissioners Diane McKeel and Loretta Smith both finished second in their respective May primaries only to do the diligent work in the summer & fall to effect a November win.

              In short, your contention that she is not a strong candidate is based singularly on the close results of the Nominating Convention. These are the exact same results that I could site: a remarkably strong showing which further legitimized her candidacy.

              I know folks are upset about the process, but Elizabeth and any other candidate could do nothing but work within the limits and peculiarities of the process.

              Finally, I am not sure what to make of your "untouchable" comment. No one is barring any doors (could that even be done), but at this juncture, recruiting a "new" candidate to the SD 17 race is absurd. The time for candidate to get in was in these past months. You advocate for a newbie, and further, you challenge your own County Dem organization to do so:

              "My strong hope tonight is that Washington County Democrats find a strong primary candidate to run in May because SD17's seat will be hard to hold if a strong Republican decides to run against her."

              Did you insist on this after any other Nominating Convention? Have you actually spoken to your Party leaders, who are keenly aware of the strong DPI #s in 33 and 34? Do you want to put all the other rookie Dems through Primary warm-up drills?

              You may insist you are not angry, but every pronouncement and comment you put forth suggests just that. It's time to move and focus on the races that have huge targets on them.

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                For the record, and since I did not above fully parse this comment from you....

                "I do feel strongly that our party does a disservice to everyone when we refuse to ask anything of our representatives and line up with our unquestioned allegiance when there is clear reason to ask them to earn it."

                I do NOT believe that there is "clear reason" to ask Elizabeth to "earn allegiance" (nor did I w/ Chris)... at least by the method you propose: a primary challenge.

                You throw down a gauntlet before you even know if there is a policy or issue disagreement that actually rises to the level of logically effecting such a serious challenge.

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    What the Dems needed in the Senate was small business experience, not another doctor. The Republicans on the Washington county board of commissioners understood this, and they voted for their party.

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    I believe that both of the candidates are good people who will do good work.

    However, I am surprised that Haywood got the senate seat without ever running for office while Harker has earned it by working as a house member. Did any of the county commissioners vote for Haywood because they think she will be easier to beat in an election or did they just want to screw over Harker?

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      John, I don't think they wanted to screw over Harker. I think 2012 is going to be an election year all about the 99 vs. the 1%. It's hard for a Democrat to say they are the voice of the 99 when their children don't go to school with our kids. It's not impossible, but it is really hard! She even had an answer tonight to a question about rural unincorporated Washington vs. Multnomah County and representing both and she made the fatal mistake of referring to them as being essentially the same. There was an audible laugh throughout the room - because seriously, you just have to go to one CPO 7 meeting and you will know why that is a very BAD answer!

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        If by she you mean Haywood, then you seem to be arguing against yourself. You seem to be saying they should have chosen Chris Harker, not Elizabeth Steiner Haywood?

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    Wait....maybe I missed this....is Elizabeth a Democrat or a Republican?

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    The Oregonian reports that both Wyden and Blumenauer lobbied on her behalf. Why would they intervene?

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        because they're Oregonians who care about the future & think ESH is an outstanding nominee for the Oregon Senate? jeez Karen, your question makes it sounds like you suspect something nefarious.

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      http://www.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/advindsea.shtml Search her name and you will understand. Even the Dems bend to the Dollar.

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      I view this as a parochial issue. Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer are from Multnomah County, where State Sen.-designate Hayward lives and works; State Rep. Harker is from Washington County and has (until now) followed Suzanne Bonamici up the political food chain the way she followed (until recently) now-Commissioner Brad Avakian.

      Maybe Republicans think they can give themselves their best chance at flipping this (very Democratic) seat by hoping to pit Democrats in Multnomah and Washington counties against one another. Maybe they just want to sow disruption. But I've read nothing to indicate that Hayward is more conservative than Harker, and I'm willing to give her a fair shake.

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      Let me expand on this. As I wrote back in 2008:

      In any case, it's also true that the process includes the county commissioners for a reason. They are not potted plants, and nor should they be expected to merely rubber stamp the wishes of party functionaries.

      And a week later on the same topic:

      They have a role to play under the law -- and for good reason: they've been elected to represent "the people", unlike the PCPs whose role as the nominating cmte is necessarily a partisan one.

      The county commissioners have a duty to exercise their judgement and select the person they think is the most qualified, rather than merely ratifying the pick of a political party.

      In short, the PCPs - who have been elected by and represent members of the party - provide their nominees. And then, the county commissioners - who have been elected by and represent all the voters - select from among the nominees.

      That is as it should be.

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          Sorry, Ron, but if the PCPs present didn't think ESH was a worthy nominee, then they shouldn't have nominated her.

          I get that there's some crankiness about folks wanting a different choice. And I'm not arguing with that. I have spent ZERO time evaluating Steiner Hayward versus Harker. (For all I know, such an evaluation for me would land on Harker.)

          But ESH was nominated by the Democratic PCPs of the district.

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            I'm not questioning the legitimacy or legality of the appointment. I'm surveying the politics of it, making observations from the ground, and looking for a way forward that empowers Democrats in Washington County. As an organizer I am constantly reminded of Alinsky's axiom "the action is in the reaction", and this is no less the case here. We'll be dealing with the repercussions of this legitimate and legal process for some time, being reminded that it was a legitimate and legal process is of little help, except as a potential cautionary note for future nominating conventions.

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              when did Deb Kafoury & Loretta Smith become conservative Republicans?

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                When did Andy Duyck, Bob Terry and Roy Rogers become people who support the position of progressive Democrats in Washington County?

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                  That's not their job. The party nominates, while elected officials stand in for all the voters.

                  Some may not like the outcome, but this is the process and the outcome is legitimate.

                  Don't like the outcome? There's three months to convince someone to run in the primary. There's also the option of taking on those county commissioners.

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                    I don't see anyone questioning the "legitimacy" in terms of the legality of the outcome. Were the commissioners within their rights to do this? Yes.

                    Does it appear that the three conservative Washington County Commissioners deliberately did this to undermine the will of progressives in Washington County? Also, yes.

                    The two are not mutually exclusive.

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                      Not mutually exclusive, true.

                      But how did they undermine the will of the progressives who did the nominating? After all, the same group that gave Harker a majority of votes for the nomination, also gave ESH a majority of votes.

                      Undermining the will of the nomination process would mean, for example, rejecting all three and sending it on to the governor.

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                        Kari, while I'm advocating that folks move on already (see below) and I think Elizabeth will be a fine Senator, and I even don't particularly object to the process by which she was appointed, I also have to respond to this weird argument. The same group that gave Rep. Harker a majority of votes for the nomination, also gave Elizabeth Steiner Hayward a majority of votes... when Rep. Harker was no longer an option because he'd already been nominated. The elections for the first, second and third nominations are different because the options change, and only the first one included a matchup of these two candidates. The nomination process did in fact show first, second and third choices of the majority of the PCPs in the district, but the PCPs in the district don't have the final word. That's all.

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                          Sorry, but there appears to be an ongoing confusion about the law and the process here.

                          The district's PCPs nominate three to five nominees. The order in which they are selected is, as a legal matter, irrelevant.

                          I highly recommend the relevant section of Oregon statute. It's short and easy to read.

                          Now, PCPs who themselves had a first choice are - like any citizen - welcome to shout their preference from the rooftops, but the county commissioners who make the final appointment are not obligated to ratify the first choice, or even to listen to those pleadings.

                          I'm going to say it again: If there are PCPs who didn't want ESH to get the appointment, they should not have voted to nominate her.

                          If they voted to nominate her, then they were casting a vote in favor of moving her forward in the process and ultimately toward the appointment.

                          To express "disgust" at that outcome (a term used above) is just plain silly.

                          If you offer up a menu, don't be surprised when the diner doesn't choose the special.

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                            Kari, I don't see an argument here. The PCPs are obligated to nominate at least 3 candidates or end up with no influence at all, and the information regarding who were their first, second and third choices is made available. Given an opportunity, I will vote for my second choice to be my second choice; I won't, for example, vote for my last choice to be my second choice because doing so is both risky and dishonest. Is that what you're suggesting, that each PCP should engage in some kind of gamesmanship on behalf of a single candidate?

                            You are right, County Commissioners are free to consider that or not, just like any other piece of information regarding the candidates and the district. The order of nomination is a piece of information, and each County Commissioner gets to decide how that piece of information might be relevant to his or her vote. Then they vote, we welcome the new Senator, and look ahead.

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                              Thanks, Sue. You and I are not in disagreement.

                              Others on this post, however, are expressing shock and dismay that having forwarded three names to the county commission, one of them was chosen.

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              When I run these things (the Nominating Conventions), I am clear with my PCPs in both the preliminary messaging and during the Convention, that our ranking of the nominees may have a subjective impact, but not an objective result other than limiting who we send forward to the County Board. While the result yesterday was not necessarily expected, it was by no means out of the question.

              My worry is that OF the reaction, such as that of Ms. McIntyre's above. As I remarked to her, I understand the frustration, but to react wholly out of anger and spite and speak of a primary challenge (before Elizabeth has even had a chance to be sworn in!) is at best illogical and counterproductive.

              Opportunities to run for elective office are rare, and sometimes they are neither at the perfect time, or in the perceived perfect lineal progression. Upstarts and stars appear and foster resentment among supporters of the assumed successor, esp. when the new blood has the audacity to win. Recall the PUMAs in 2008?

              Elizabeth should NOT be a target for any reactive Democratic wrath simply because she worked hard to get the support of a lot folk at every level and every vector in the process.

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                Interesting that you view my comments as targeted anger and wrath. I truly have zero ill feelings towards Senator Steiner Hayward. I have deep concerns about keeping my district in Democratic control post 2012, I have a strong desire to make sure she recognizes there will be political pressure on her to prove herself to her base and the people she is now representing and I have a strong hope that she will win the support of her base before she has to face a Republican challenger, because this is a tough district in many respects. And education is going to be a serious issue in 2012 - what will Democrats do if we have a candidate in SD17 who has never been a product of public school, has no children who have ever been through public school and her opponent does have that experience? Well we better hope that our schools were one of the highest priorities she had in the short session.

                She has said they will be, let's hope so.

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                  "I have deep concerns about keeping my district in Democratic control post 2012"

                  Let me be the first to assure you. There is a near-zero chance of the Republicans winning this district.

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                    Charlie Ringo had to spend a lot of money and fight hard to win this district, the last time he ran for this seat. That wasn't a Presidential year, and he'd won races in the district before. Washington County Democrats have made this race look easier than it is - that by no means makes it a guaranteed safe seat.

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                      That was 10 years ago. The demographics have changed, the brands of the two parties have changed, and as you note, that wasn't a presidential year (and thus Dem performance would be down.). In fact, it was 2002, the strongest GOP year between 1994 and 2010.

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        Do you not feel the least bit gross making a Conservative argument like that? I mean seriously? Would it be OK with you if Electoral College delegates went off on their own in the next Presidential election, simply because they can? Was The 2000 Supreme Court decision not squishy with you because they had the right to make that call?

        I know the Commissioners can make choices separate from ours, but the true question is why a Democrat would argue for such a slight to our Democratic process just because it is legal.

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          Whoa. I think you're going too far. I don't think the Supreme Court in 2000 actually had the right to intervene there.

          I'm going to say this again and again. The PCPs nominated three candidates. Not one.

          They forwarded THREE names to the County Commission. The commission then is expected to pick one of those three.

          If the PCPs present did not feel that ESH was a worthy nominee, then they should not have nominated her.

          But having nominated her, and given her the official nod of the Democratic Party, then there's illegitimate about the county commissioners selecting her.

          You may not like their choice. You may have preferred another choice. Their choice may be "wrong", but it's not illegitimate or outside the bounds.

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            Actually, we voted to send three nominees and rank them in order of preference. We select 3 because if you select less the Commissioners can opt to appoint somebody of their own choosing.

            Again Kari, because they CAN ignore our Democratic process does not mean they should, or that it's right, or that a lover of our Democratic values should argue in favor of their decision to act as a wiser elitist body - it's the core difference between Democrats and Republicans. Do we know what we are doing enough to make wise choices, or do we need a wiser body to ignore what the people want in favor of what they want for their own elite reasons?

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              No, as a legal matter, all three nominees come to the county commission on equal footing.

              Now, let me be clear, advocates for individual candidates are entirely within their rights to advocate for their candidates and be disappointed when the outcome doesn't go their way.

              You can disagree with the outcome, that's perfectly reasonable. But let's not pretend that there's anything illegitimate or immoral about the county commissioners selecting one of the three nominees forwarded to them by the party.

              And let's not play the "this is what democracy looks like" card. Remember that the PCPs are elected by - and represent the interests of - members of one political party. The county commissioners are elected by - and represent the interests of - all the voters. If you're looking for the democracy component, it lies with the elected county commissioners.

              Again, I'm not saying you have to be happy with the outcome. I'm saying that the process was legit.

              If you don't like the outcome, you have multiple remedies. 1) Work to defeat those county commissioners who didn't agree with you. 2) Organize a primary election campaign for your favored candidate.

              Filing day for this seat is in just less that three months. And the election is in five months.

              If you don't like the freshly-minted incumbent, challenge her.

              That's what democracy looks like.

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                (And I'm not saying that the process shouldn't be reformed. Lots of good options there - including, perhaps, allowing the PCPs to formally rank the candidates; forward just one to the county; hold special elections; etc. But under current law, this is our process. And it was executed appropriately.)

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    Steiner-Hayward is HARDLY a "firm member" of the 1%. I have known her personally for over seven years. She is down-to-earth and has earned whatever success has come her way. Since when does being educated and successful mean that one is elitist? And since when does sending one's children to private school mean one is out-of-touch? I sent my daughter to private school for several years, and now she attends Beaverton Public Schools. Guess what, I've been the same old mechanic's-daughter-turned-psychologist working stiff the whole time.

    Personally, I wonder if part of the reason that the commissioners appointed Elizabeth is that the PCP the vote was extremely close -- so close that, had Harker recruited a few less last-minute PCP's, Elizabeth would have been the first nominee forwarded for consideration.

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          It's not a winnable seat for Republicans. D's outnumber them approximately 2-1 in the district, I can't see any reason why a credible Republican candidate would even consider running for the position.

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        Now, I'm not one to defend a bunch of Republican county commissioners, but....

        Karen, are the county commissioners under any obligation to peek inside the PCP nomination process and count votes? My understanding is that once three (to five) nominees are nominated, they're supposed to apply their own independent judgment.

        If the PCPs didn't want ESH appointed, they shouldn't have nominated her.

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          We are obligated to send at least 3 names to the county commissioners. If not, they are free to appoint anyone they like. At the conventions I've chaired (and those of my predecessor), we have always voted to send the names to the commissioners in rank order. It is extremely rare for the commissioners not to appoint the PCPs' first choice. But not unheard of -- in recent years, Martha Schrader and Matt Wingard have both been appointed over the stated preferences of the PCPs.

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            I really don't think it's "extremely" rare. As Val Hoyle notes upthread, she was the #2 choice in her appointment. Martha Schrader was the #3 choice in hers.

            Yes, you're obligated to send three names. But you're not obligated to send these three names.

            The PCPs are supposed to come up with three worthy nominees. And then the county commissioners - who represent all the voters, not just the partisans - select from among that pool.

            If there was an expectation that the "first choice" person would be appointed, then there would no point in nominating three (to five).

            If folks didn't want to nominate ESH, then they shouldn't have nominated her.

            That she was appointed should not be a surprising outcome to those that forwarded her name to the county commission.

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        Karen - I'm not sure I understand your math. According to the numbers you've just posted, around 34,000 people voted in the pcp election. However, there are only 37,000 registered Democrats in that Senate district, so how do you come up with 34,000 votes? More specifically, what were the actual votes cast in the Democratic Party's nominating process for that seat?

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          According to the elections offices (Wa and Mult), there were 35,864 registered Dems in the district at the time of the resignation. Thus each candidate needed 17,843 to be nominated (a majority).The votes were apportioned to WashCo Dem PCPs and Mult Dem PCPs, and the number each one who attended received depended on how many PCPs from each county were in attendence.Since WashCo Dems had approx twice the number of registered Dems in SD17, we had the lion's share of votes to cast at the convention. We had 93 pcps present, Mult had 27 present. In general, Mult PCPs cast most of their votes for Steiner-Hayward and WashCo PCPs cast most of theirs for Harker. Which makes it all the more interesting that the Republican WashCo Commissioners cast all of their today for Steiner-Hayward. Thus the consternation of many WashCo Dem PCPs who feel the vote today circumvented their preferences.

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      Yeah, the idea that a family physician and professor (who is a public employee) is part of the 1% is nonsense.

      In order to be in the top 1%, one must have an annual income of $516,633.

      No idea how much ESH makes, but it ain't that. An Oregonian story last month indicated that the top 10 managers at OHSU (which doesn't include her) have an average base salary of $454,038.

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      Had Elizabeth not recruited her own PCPs, hired staff, and printed mailers she would not have stood a chance; especially given the fact that she's never been seen at a CC meeting previous to her desire to become a Senator.

      Also, being an elitist has nothing to do with being in the 1%; I think the reference is to the fortune she's mangaged to donate to politicians over the past several years.

      Further, when her facebook page has pictures of her daughter piloting a plane to meet with President Obama I think you might be stretching it to call her down-to-earth. I'm personally disheartened by the commissioner vote and will wait to see what the primary brings.

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        Actually, it might not be such a terrible thing. A candidate with personal wealth is not dependent on special interests to fund their campaign, and may therefore be better positioned to be an agent of reform than is a candidate whose political career is tied to someone else's checkbook.

        The downside, as you say, is that many people who are born into privilege are simply out of touch with the realities most people are facing in the current economy. I don't know Ms Steiner-Hayword, but will hope that she falls into the former rather than the latter category (not that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive).

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          I agree. And I certainly do not think that Elizabeth S-H is out of touch. As a family practice doctor, she sees daily, I'm sure, the realities that her patients are facing in our economy. And she she seems to be a good Democrat who holds to Democratic values.

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        FYI: Harker recruited PCPs and had letters sent out on his behalf and phone calls made as well. I know this, because I'm one of the people who was initially called by Harker supporters at the front end of the process and asked to become a PCP in order to vote for him at the convention.

        I thought that was how the process was supposed to work, but I haven't been a PCP very long so maybe breadth of experience is too shallow to be well informed.

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      Point of reference, my own step-mom(whom I adore) is a product of very old money, she attended private school, my sister attended both public and private, so I am not inherently biased against people in the 1%. That YOU see no difference, makes me not trust your assessment, of the difference between public and private school, though.

      And everybody in the room yesterday heard Elizabeth's own statements about her life. It was very clear she is safely in the 1%. That's not embarrassing or disqualifying, it's simply politically inconvenient when you have little else to connect you to your electorate in a campaign year that will be about the 1 vs. the 99.

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        I guess it will be inconvenient for the President who is a multi-millionare. Get off this Hayward is part of the 1% thing.

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          James, no. Because this election will be about the 1% vs. the 99% and if you would like to see Democrats lose you can ignore that. If we have Democrats who are part of the 1% they better damn well be able to show that their life experiences have not been to keep them separated from the 99%. Obama may be a self-made millionaire now, but he was not always and he has a lot of characteristics that can relate him to the 99. Can Mitt Romney say that? We are going to see people from both parties playing this angle - especially in local elections.

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      With all due respect, there are perfectly valid reasons to question the appointment process. I have been a critic of how we fill vacancies in the past, and I think yesterday highlighted some serious flaws with having vacancies filled by appointment. My concern is not the disparity between the PCPs and the County Commissioners' decisions; I agree with you and Kari that as the process is currently laid out the Commissioners are not obligated to simply rubber stamp the PCPs' decision.

      The problem I have with this decision is that what should count more than the votes of PCPs or County Commissioners are the votes of the constituents who live in the district. In this case one candidate (Rep Harker) has previously received over 11,000 votes from those constituents, while the other has received none. Granted that's because Steiner-Hayward hasn't run in the past, but the end result is that Rep Harker has proven he has the support of many of the district's residents in the past and Steiner-Hayward has not. In my opinion that should have been extremely compelling to the CCs, such that selecting Harker should have been the default option. The whole point of the office after all is to represent the people of the district.

      What compounds the problem is money. As has been implied, Elizabeth has been an extremely prolific donor to a number of candidates and committees. Frankly I am disturbed to hear that Rep Blumenauer and Sen Wyden campaigned on her behalf, given that she donated $2000 to Wyden last year and $30,400 to the DCCC (granted not directly to Earl but then again that wouldn't be a very efficient use of the money). There's also $5,000 to the DNC and as best as I can tell a total of $10,600 to the DPO. Just in 2010-11. For the beneficiaries of those contributions to then use their standing to try and influence this appointment does not reflect well on the integrity of the process. Granted it was not the CCs directly responsible for her appointment that received her contributions. Yet had Bob Terry's connection not been reestablished for a little longer, the decision would have gone to Gov Kitzhaber. Last year Elizabeth donated $10,000 to meet the President at the Obama-Kitzhaber event.

      So I think it's appropriate to question the process. Let me be clear, I didn't have a dog in the race and I have nothing against Steiner-Hayward. She seems well-qualified for the position and I trust that she will be a good Senator. Nor am I suggesting that there was the actual occurrence of impropriety. But when the candidate who has given the most contributions trumps the candidate who has received the most votes in the district, I think the process opens itself up to at least the appearance of impropriety. That's not helpful for maintaining trust in our government.

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        Voters will have the chance to validate her appointment in May and November of next year, she is required to run in what would normally be an off-year for that seat as part of the appointment process. This campaign will give her the opportunity to reach out and build the type of loyalty and trust so many of us feel for Brad and Suzanne, who were able to pivot almost immediately from an extremely contentious primary toward a genuinely unified base for the special general election. Elizabeth can win the election next year simply by virtue of having a D by her name, but the quality and tone of that campaign will determine whether she has a strong base within the district that can fuel her legislative vision.

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          Please, let's not act naive here. While my intent here is not to discredit the legitimacy of Steiner-Hayward's place in office, everyone here is well aware that being reelected next year won't exactly be a challenge for her. The benefits of incumbency are far too great. For one, Representative Hoyle above is already putting the clamps on any suggestion of a primary and I'm sure those sentiments are shared by other Democrats around the state. Even if someone wanted to contest the primary election, they would be roundly discouraged from doing so and would start at a real disadvantage. Then, since the seat is designed to be very safely Democratic as others have pointed out above, the general election has already effectively been decided. The bottom line is that any reasonable person appointed to the seat would be reelected.

          Elizabeth Steiner Hayward is the Senator for SD-17 and will be for the foreseeable future, and fair enough. I simply don't think we should have a process for filling vacancies in which elected officials can play kingmaker.

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            "For one, Representative Hoyle above is already putting the clamps on any suggestion of a primary and I'm sure those sentiments are shared by other Democrats around the state."

            Nick, are you saying that the Democratic party already has plans to stamp out any primary challenger?

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              Representative Hoyle is not putting clamps on anything, the Democratic Party has a standing policy of not supporting challenges to Democratic incumbents, one with which I concur without reservation. And regardless of the atmospherics, Senator Hayward (Steiner-Hayward? Have to learn the preferred usage..) will be the incumbent in May, and will receive the full support of the county and state Democratic parties. For that matter, she'll receive mine as well. "Parochial"? Sure, it's local politics, it's literally where we live. But let's get real, nobody died here. It's a local dog fight. Time for folks to dust themselves off, shake hands and go have some egg nog.

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                Last I heard, the Democratic Party -at both the county and state levels - has no such policy.

                Caucus organizations, of course, are entirely different - since they're largely funded by dues assessed to incumbents.

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        Three things: 1. For the record, I would rather we have a different process in place for appointing vacancies that involved the voters of the district as opposed to a small group that may or may not accurately represent the district.
        In my above post when I said that the process shouldn't be questioned, I was referring to the fact that both candidates and all the parties involved followed the rules as they are currently written. No one should question whether the current process was followed, whether we should change the way we appoint vacancies is a different question. Sorry if I was unclear.

        1. @Nick, you are mistaken to think that I have the inclination (or that I have the power) to put the clamps on a primary challenge over 100 miles away from where I live. I believe in an open democratic process and if someone wants to step in to challenge either Sen. Steiner-Hayward or Rep. Harker in the primary or general election, they should have at it. I will be supporting both incumbents as I know them well and appreciate what they can bring to the table. I think Mitch said it best when he said Elizabeth will be a valuable member of the Senate for many years to come, I already know that Chris Harker will continue to be a valuable asset in the House and I look forward to working with them both.
          Strategically you are correct that the likelihood of someone winning a primary challenge against Elizabeth is slim, she is an incredibly hard worker and there is power in incumbancy. My focus will be on other races but I most certainly don't have the authority to "clamp down" on anyone who wants to run.

        2. Kari mentioned above that in this process the PCP's can send up nominees and if there was someone that you didn't want to be in the mix, you could have not voted in her as one of the choices. When Susan Castillo was appointed to fill the appointment for Senate District 20 in 1997, Phil Barnhart also went for the appointment and would have had a good chance at winning the majority of County Commission votes, he was not one of the candidates moved forward in the process by the PCP's. Susan out organized him. I am glad that Phil is still in the House and that I get to work with him but the point is that there were other outcomes possible if Sen. Steiner-Hayward didn't have a base of support of the voting PCP's but she did.

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        Weird formatting above, this one is better.

        Three things: 1. For the record, I would rather we have a different process in place for appointing vacancies that involved the voters of the district as opposed to a small group that may or may not accurately represent the district. In my above post when I said that the process shouldn't be questioned, I was referring to the fact that both candidates and all the parties involved followed the rules as they are currently written. No one should question whether the current process was followed, whether we should change the way we appoint vacancies is a different question. Sorry if I was unclear.

        2.@Nick, you are mistaken to think that I have the inclination (or that I have the power) to put the clamps on a primary challenge over 100 miles away from where I live. I believe in an open democratic process and if someone wants to step in to challenge either Sen. Steiner-Hayward or Rep. Harker in the primary or general election, they should have at it. I will be supporting both incumbents as I know them well and appreciate what they can bring to the table. I think Mitch said it best when he said Elizabeth will be a valuable member of the Senate for many years to come, I already know that Chris Harker will continue to be a valuable asset in the House and I look forward to working with them both. Strategically you are correct that the likelihood of someone winning a primary challenge against Elizabeth is slim, she is an incredibly hard worker and there is power in incumbancy. My focus will be on other races but I most certainly don't have the authority to "clamp down" on anyone who wants to run.

        3.Kari mentioned above that in this process the PCP's can send up nominees and if there was someone that you didn't want to be in the mix, you could have not voted in her as one of the choices. When Susan Castillo was appointed to fill the appointment for Senate District 20 in 1997, Phil Barnhart also went for the appointment and would have had a good chance at winning the majority of County Commission votes, he was not one of the candidates moved forward in the process by the PCP's. Susan out organized him. I am glad that Phil is still in the House and that I get to work with him but the point is that there were other outcomes possible if Sen. Steiner-Hayward didn't have a base of support of the voting PCP's but she did.

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          Representative Hoyle,

          To be clear, I'm not trying to suggest that you are organizing a vast and sinister conspiracy to prevent contested primary elections around the state, and perhaps "clamp down" is thus not the right phrase to use. All I'm pointing out is what you say above, that you would not support any primary challenge in the race. I don't fault you for having the sentiment, and no doubt that even if someone did want to contest the primary, they would run into the same sentiment from plenty of other figures in the party. The broader point is, as you note above, realistically a primary challenger would have almost no shot of defeating Steiner Hayward or any other incumbent. She has become safely entrenched in the position without the voters of the district having a meaningful say.

          In regards to your third point, I guess I just disagree with the idea that support from PCPs is an adequate substitute for or representative of support from voters at large. It's a completely arbitrary group of people, by no means can it be considered a representative sample of constituents. As TA pointed out 2 years ago, people come out of the woodwork to be a PCP when vacancies are being filled. The candidates themselves can and do recruit people to become PCPs for the occasion. It simply is an undemocratic system, one that I find rather troubling

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            See point one, I agree with you about pcp's not being representative and that our current process is flawed. The third point that I was making is that there is precident for pcp's not picking one of two strong candidates in an appointment process under these rules.

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            The vast majority of PCPs are hard working party activists but some only become PCPs to support a candidate in the nominating convention. At one time a PCP had to run and be elected in a Democratic primary and receive a minimum amount votes to serve. Now a person only has to show up at a WashCo Dem meeting and volunteer to be a PCP and bam you're a PCP. Good for getting more participation but ripe for abuse regarding a nominating convention. Maybe WashCo Democrats need a rule that a PCP needs to attend a minimum of three meetings in the previous calendar year to vote in a nominating convention.

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    This whole "process" only under

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    I'm curious. Was there any concern expressed, either at the PCP meeting or the county commissioner meeting, about the risk that Rep. Harker's replacement might not be selected by the start of the February session?

    As I recall, that was the concern Sen. Bomamici expressed about her seat when she announced her resignation.

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      Jack, it would have been tight, but the calendar for appointment would have placed a replacement for Harker in the seat by the second week of January, in time for the special session.

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    Jeff Mapes helps us out in answering at least one question: how often does a sitting legislator lose an appointment process?

    Answer: not in a generation, or roughly not in the last 35 times, assuming Mapes' estimate of this process happening a couple times a year is accurate.

    Not often. Legislative vacancies crop up frequently, at least a couple every year. Typically, if a state representative wants the appointment, he or she gets it. Sometimes, of course, both of the state representatives in a Senate district want the seat, but the practice seems to be for the legislators to work it out between themselves and not openly compete for the seat.

    The last example I've been able to find where a sitting representative was rejected happened shortly after the November, 1994 election. That's when Republican Marylin Shannon was appointed to the Senate instead of then-Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Lyons. She filled the seat held by Jim Bunn, a McMinnville Republican who was elected to Congress.

    So, it doesn't answer the question about how often the County Commissions appoint someone other than the top PCP recommendation, but it does point out this is unusual.

    Welcome to the Senate, Dr. Steiner-Hayward. And we're glad you're still in the Legislature, Rep. Harker.

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    not that it matters a lot, i think Chris Harker is a terrific representative. had he been appointed to the seat, my only disappointment would have been having one fewer woman in the Senate. once again, this was a process where the people of the district were not going to lose; either way, they were going to get a terrific person to replace Sen Bonamici.

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      I supported Rep. Harker for this appointment, but that was because I supported him, not because I was opposed to any of the other candidates. The thing about politics is that you can't always get what you want. When you get a pretty good result, well, run with it.

      And regarding the process: There are some pretty good reasons for using the process we do. It doesn't "suck" as far as I'm concerned unless somebody has one that is better without being worse. All electoral processes have flaws. the question is: which flaws are acceptable, which flaws are unacceptable, and which features are essential?

      There are plenty of things to get mad about in the world, and we've all experienced the consequences of truly tragic political results. None of that is going on here.

      SD 17 and HD 34 will both be well represented. Yay!

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    Congratulations to the new State Senator Elizabeth! Suggest you hook up with Senator Alan Bates to continue the health care push in our state. Best wishes!

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