The King County Council today named Seattle attorney Rod Dembowski to fill the council seat vacated by newly-elected state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The politically connected Dembowski had been widely expected to receive the nod over the other two finalists, state Representative Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline) and Shoreline City Council member Will Hall. So, no surprises.
"Growing up in a single parent home in Renton, selling socks at swap meets to pay the bills and getting my healthcare from neighborhood clinics, a day like today seemed all but impossible,” Dembowski said in press release. “But because of our shared investment in health care for the needy, public K-12 education, and a top-notch public University, I was able to attain my dreams of public service..." Blah, blah, blah.
Nothing against Dembowski—he seems like a decent, well qualified council member and all—but the circumstances of his appointment also paint him as the anti-Bob Ferguson of sorts. Whereas Ferguson twice defeated council incumbents (once after redistricting) through hard work and relentless door-belling, Dembowski is a seasoned politico, well practiced in the art of the back room deal, and appointed via the same. No doubt his stint on the county redistricting committee earned him a bit of favor among his new colleagues.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Back room dealmaking is a crucial political skill. It's just that Dembowski's path to office is strikingly different from that of the man he's replacing. I'm just saying.
Dembowski will defend his seat in the November general election, and while his brief incumbency will prove a big advantage, he should not expect to run unopposed.