Newly minted Jan Drago opponent Casey Corr, who jumped into the open field against the 12-year incumbent Monday, wants to convince voters that Drago is washed-up. "We need change," Corr said Monday. "Twelve years is long enough."
Sound familiar? Political newcomer Tom Rasmussen used almost identical rhetoric in his campaign against another 12-year incumbent, Margaret Pageler, in 2003. Pageler was one of three council members ousted in the wake of the "Strippergate" scandal. (On Tuesday, King County prosecutors filed charges related to that scandal.) Now Corr wants to turn the recent scandals at the monorail into his central campaign issue, and target monorail proponent Drago for being out of touch.
But the monorail is no Strippergate, and Jan Drago is no Margaret Pageler.
The truth is, Pageler was washed up. After more than a decade on the council, she had lost her enthusiasm for the intricate political machinations and policy-making minutiae that fill council members' days. Drago, in contrast, seems fired up and ready to meet Corr in the ring. "I'm looking forward to talking about Casey's right-wing agenda," Drago said Monday. "He's been against almost every major project the city has ever done, including the parks levy. It's unbelievable!"
Last month, perhaps anticipating a move against Drago, Corr took campaign contributions from monorail foes such as Bob Gogerty and Martin Selig, two linchpins of last year's anti-monorail campaign—and changed his pro-monorail tune. And why wouldn't he? Drago, more than any other council member, has thrown her political future in the path of the elevated train, and Corr knows it. Last year, Drago did everything in her power to nudge the 14-mile Green Line toward a speedy approval, prompting one council staffer, Martha Lester, to complain publicly that never before had council staff been given so little time to analyze such an important issue. Shortly after her outburst, Lester went on a yearlong leave of absence.
None of which would matter, really, if it weren't for the political resurrection of monorail foe Conlin, which coincided exactly with the monorail's fall from fortune. On Monday, Conlin reported his best fundraising month ever, with more than $28,000 in contributions.
Corr's defection from the Conlin race leaves only Paige Miller and Darlene Madenwald in the running. Last month, Madenwald racked up bills that totaled more than twice the $4,180 she took in. Of the $9,116 Madenwald owes, the vast majority—$8,662—will go to consultants Linda Mitchell and Cathy Allen. During the same period, Miller, a monorail proponent, spent $571 printing up campaign yard signs bearing what looks like the now-ignominious image of—you guessed it—the monorail.
Last week, McIver staffers received a public-records request from a volunteer for Robert Rosencrantz requesting detailed information about McIver's schedule, including vacation, travel, and sick time—information Rosencrantz consultant Grossman is sure to use as ammunition against an incumbent Rosencrantz has portrayed as ineffective and, in some cases, literally absent. ■