8 months ago, just weeks into his campaign for King County Executive, Dow Constantine won an early endorsement and donation from this area’s biggest political group, the 34th District Democrats. Tonight, as you can watch in our video above, he gave a triumphant, thankful six-minute speech to the group for its role in helping him win a “long, tough campaign” that at the start, he admitted, seemed like “a long shot.” He also laid out a few priorities in moving toward what he promised would be “fundamental reform,” and invited everyone to a swearing-in ceremony that’ll break with tradition – around 4 pm on Nov. 24th, after the certification of the election (which as of tonight has him up 59%-41%), not in County Council chambers, but likely at the historic First United Methodist Church that he helped save downtown.
Meantime, as you can hear him say at the end of the speech, his election sets off something of a chain reaction, provided subsequent events go the way the 34th DDs hope they will. They passed a resolution tonight urging the County Council to appoint State Sen. Joe McDermott to the District 8 Council seat Constantine is leaving. McDermott made an appeal to the group at the start of what was on the agenda as a legislative preview from him, and State Reps. Eileen Cody and Sharon Nelson (who in turn was mentioned as a likely State Senate successor if McDermott moves to the County Council):
This is no slam dunk for a variety of reasons: The County Council is looking at a process that would mirror what they did with the interim County Executive appointment of Kurt Triplett – seek to fill the job for the remaining year of its current term with someone who wouldn’t be interested in running for the full term next year. (They’re scheduled to take up legislation regarding the process next Monday.) Bad move, in the view of 34th DDs chair Tim Nuse: “The caretaker role doesn’t work,” he declared toward the start of tonight’s meeting. “Our interests won’t be represented as strong as possible in the council. … A year from now, regardless of the decision the council makes, Joe will be our county councilmember – he’s gonna run and gonna win – so it’s a very clear message to (the County Council) ‘let’s do it right the first time’.” That message may be coming from hundreds of voices – the resolution passed tonight called for every supporter to call every councilmember about the appointment.