In a unanimous vote last night, members of the 43rd District Democrats censured a state senator who was elected as a Democrat but, earlier this week, officially caucused with Republicans to hand control of half the Washington legislature to the GOP. Further, the party members vowed to take their case to county and state Democratic organizations, pledging not only to withdraw any future support for Senator Rodney Tom but also threatening to cut off resources to any other Democrats who stand with him.
"This type of treachery will not only be frowned upon with access to resources taken away for those who hand over control like Sen. Tom did, but other elected officials who would help him win re-election must also have access to resources revoked," says Michael Maddux, a vice co-chair of the 43rd District Democrats. While the urban Seattle district's vote doesn't have the proximity of a similarly harsh resolution passed last week by Senator Tom's native 48th District, comprising the suburb of Bellevue and nearby bedroom communities, last night's vote telegraphs a surge among the party to punish the turncoat. Senator Tom, after all, benefited from $25,000 in party money and campaign infrastructure in his 2010 reelection bid, in which he narrowly defeated Republican Gregg Bennett.
Maddux says his group will ask King County Democrats to further censure Senator Tom and he is "confident" that the state party will deny future support to the backstabbing senator, thereby refusing him access to the Democratic election database called VoteBuilder. "What Sen. Tom did goes beyond crossing party lines," Maddux adds. "The only acceptable response left is to deny him access to the resources that our values, our volunteers, and our dollars create."
If you ask me, Democratic Party leaders should also do this to the entire "Roadkill caucus" and their weaselly counterparts in the House, who are trying to gut education and health care funding when they take silly anti-tax stances. They're not really Democrats if they're screwing over students, the sick, the elderly, and other parts of the true Democratic base. And they're not being honest if they don't admit we have a structural revenue deficit, not living in some ginned up GOP fantasy about a spending problem. We're better off cutting them out of the party and building support for a caucus that can unite around the most essential progressive values in the state's budget. Otherwise these people are just Republicans who vote for gay rights. Now that that the LGBT marriage fight is done, these "moderates" are displacing seats—and usurping Democratic party resources—that should go to candidates who will go to bat for college funding, health care, and fair taxation.