Tana Senn chosen by 41st Dems to fill the remainder of Marcie Maxwell's term in the State House

The PCOs of the 41st LD Democrats chose Mercer Island City Council member Tana Senn to serve the remainder of the State House term of Marcie Maxwell, who resigned last month to become Gov. Inslee’s senior adviser on education.

The final vote was 49 votes for Tana Senn, and 33 voted for runner-up David Ellis. George Pieper was in third place.

Altogether, the PCOs made three round of votes. In the first round they those the top three (Senn: 32, Ellis: 25, Pieper: 21, Gerend: 6, Hoover: 1). In the second round they chose the top two (Senn: 37, Ellis: 24, Pieper: 23). The final round was between the top two (Senn: 49, Ellis: 33).

See Candidates forum for 41LD State House seat for a related report.

Tana Senn, photographed by Al Garman
Tana Senn, photographed by Al Garman

The King County Council will make the final selection of rep, from among the three nominees. Traditionally, the Council respects the choice of the PCOs. This will be especially likely because runners-up David Ellis and George Pieper both have agreed to endorse Senn. This show of Democratic solidarity was apparently arranged by King County Dem chair Karl de Jong, who chaired the proceedings during the vote and who humorously mentioned “meddling” to achieve this outcome.

De Jong encouraged Democrats to pack the King County Council gallery when the vote is held (at an as of yet undetermined date).

After the election, all the candidates appeared together with arms around each other.

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Senn received the endorsements of Gov. Inslee, Speaker Frank Chopp, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Marcie Maxwell, among others.  My hunch is that the reason so many people voted for Ellis was that they were impressed by his  knowledge and great speaking skills. (He has won oratory awards.)  But his relative youth and the experience and endorsements enjoyed by Senn won the day for her.  Another factor was the new PCOs that were recently recruited by the candidates.

The first half of the meeting was spent approving new appointed and acting PCOs, as opposed to elected PCOs. For both appointed and acting PCOs the precinct where they serve must not currently have a PCO. The difference between appointed and acting PCOs is that appointed PCOs must live in their precinct; acting PCOs serve in a different precinct from where they reside. Only elected and appointed PCOs were allowed to vote for Maxwell’s successor. See the by-laws of the 41st Dems for details.

Altogether 28 new appointed PCOs were appointed. At the July meeting of the 41st Dems about 10 new PCOs were approved. There was some opposition, especially by PCO David Combs, to the last-minute appointment of new PCOs.   Combs asked that each of the candidate PCOs state whether their presence was mostly a matter of participating in the vote.  Only one of the new PCOs admitted that his main reason for joining was to participate in the vote.   Several of the PCOs admitted that that was part of the reason. But it was apparent to everyone that most of the new PCOs were recruited by one of the candidates.   The new PCOs were strongly encouraged to continue participation as PCOs, knocking on doors, making phone calls, etc. (Someone joked about them making an oath to that effect.) The new PCOs were encouraged to mentor with an existing PCO.

Immediately after the 41st PCOs voted, the members of the King County Democratic Central Committee authorized the election in a noisy and unanimous voice vote.

It bears mentioning that both State Senator Litzow (R) and State House member Judy Clibborn (D) are from Mercer Island, as is Senn.   Former rep Maxwell was in the audience and received a standing ovation when she stood to speak about her work for the governor.  Clibborn was absent, as has been her custom in recent months.

Before the votes, the candidates got a chance to speak. Senn mentioned something about losing five people to gun violence.  Pieper mentioned the need to revive and pass HB 1651 (apparently, this bill), which would make sure that juvenile offender records are kept confidential, so that when reaching adulthood the perpetrators of minor juvenile offense aren’t prevented from getting jobs, etc. Pieper also spoke of our “upside down” (regressive) tax system, pointing out that the B&O tax is based on gross revenues, not net revenues, and so especially harms small and start-up businesses.

Several of the five candidates for the position spent money on signs and buttons.  The hall was crowded with PCOs, onlookers, and members of the King County Dems, who mostly stood in the rear.

Karl de Jong and 41st LD Chair Karol Brown were efficient, brisk, and humorous in their management of the proceedings.

Tann Senn
Tann Senn

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