- Not happy.
Yesterday I mentioned the game of musical chairs that started up in north Seattle's 46th District right after state senator Ken Jacobsen announced he was retiring. (In brief: Jacobsen will retire, lawyer and Democratic activist David Frockt will switch from being a Jacobsen challenger to a candidate for Rep. Scott White's state house seat in the 46th, Rep. White will endorse Frockt for the position, and in the meantime White himself will run for Jacobsen's open senate seat with the endorsement of just about every major Democrat out there.)
One person was left out of this game, however: the 46th District's other Democratic member of the state house, Phyllis Gutíerrez Kenney. As it happened, Kenney was among the latina leaders at this morning's city hall press conference, so after all the speeches were over I pulled her aside and asked what she thought about all the fast-paced maneuvering in her district.
"The voters of the 46th deserve better," Kenney told me. "I am not a person who favors closed-door politics and I think that's what was done between White and Jacobsen."
Kenney is considering running for Jacobsen's senate seat, and she has a theory about why she got left out of the musical chairs. Kenney believes that Jacobsen is still mad at her about their disagreement over UW tuition rates (Jacobsen wants the state legislature out of the business of approving UW tuition raises, while Kenney doesn't). "I want poor kids to be able to go to college," Kenney explained.
As a result, Kenney thinks, Jacobsen gave White (who is in sync with Jacobsen on the UW tuition issue) an early heads up about his retirement. That allowed White to quietly line up an exhaustive list of Democratic backers for his bid—without mentioning to them that Kenney was interested because technically, at the time, Kenney had no idea the opportunity was going to arise.
"Let me say that the way it was presented to them [by White] wasn't necessarily full disclosure," Kenney told me.
She described the whole experience as "very sad for me," and said that if she does end up running against White for Jacobsen's seat she would "hope to win."