On Sunday, Sammamish mayor Christie Malchow posted an endorsement from Democratic congresswoman Kim Schrier on her campaign's Facebook page. Two confusing things: (1) Malchow is a Republican. Her challenger, Sammamish Chamber of Commerce president Karen McKnight, is a real estate agent endorsed by the region's Democratic organizations, the Sierra Club, and the Washington Conservation Voters. (2) Malchow isn't calling Schrier's extremely positive statement an "endorsement." But, well, what would you call this:
"I've known Christie for several years," Schrier wrote in her non-endorsement endorsement, "and she has consistently proven to be an independent, thoughtful, considerate mayor who brings the community together... It is a pleasure to work with her now as elected officials serving our shared constituents."
Though some of the region's top environmental organizations endorsed McKnight, Schrier went on to praise Malchow's work on the environment and commended her commitment to "growing our city in a responsible and measured way."
Since Schrier claims to know Malchow so well, she must also know that Malchow caucused for Mitt Romney in 2012, back when Dino Rossi (Schrier's opponent in her 2018 bid for Congress) cochaired Romney's Washington team.
She must also know that Malchow was featured in a 2017 commercial supporting Jinyoung Englund, the GOP candidate who ran against Democrat Manka Dhingra in one of the most important post-Trump races in Washington State. In the TV spot, Malchow praised Englund for opposing an income tax, the lack of which greatly contributes to the state's upside-down tax code.
And Schrier must have heard that in June of last year, Malchow hosted a fundraiser (complete with "drinks and heavy appetizers") for Paul Graves, the Republican running against Lisa Callan, who ultimately beat him and helped expand the Democratic majority in the state house of representatives.
So, Malchow worked to defeat Barack Obama, campaigned to retain a Republican majority in the state senate, and served loaded potato skins to a bunch of Republicans during the 2018 midterms, and Schrier is caping for her because she's a friend?
That's a choice, I guess. A somewhat destructive choice, given that lending bipartisan cred to the ladder-climbing politician risks boosting the campaign of someone who might one day run against another Democratic ally or even against Schrier herself, but a choice nonetheless.
It's also a choice that isn't going over well with the activists who knocked on doors for Dhingra and Callan. A local democratic activist says Schrier's support of Malchow "is frankly jaw-dropping on its face."
"Sammamish city government has pretty much come to a standstill under Malchow," the activist adds. "She's an obstructionist. There is serious dysfunction on that council, and it sits squarely on her shoulders."
"I think we are all mystified at this choice," said KC Shankland, chair of the 5th LD Democrats. "[Schrier] could do nothing and come out ahead. Instead, she is actively working against our efforts to build a local bench."
When asked whether Schrier considered her statement an endorsement, and when asked why she's not endorsing the candidate supported by other Democrats in the race, Schrier said she was "disappointed to see partisan politics seeping into a nonpartisan seat."
"We should be spending more time working together on the issues facing our cities and our country, and less time tearing each other down," Schrier added.
In response to this classic nonresponsive comment, I'll first note that this is a campaign. Building up the candidate supported by Democrats in the race isn't the same thing as "tearing down" down the Republican incumbent. Second, city council seats in Sammamish and elsewhere are "nonpartisan," but the people who sit in those seats are not. If Schrier needs a lesson in what happens when Republicans take over "nonpartisan" city councils, I encourage her to read up on what the Trump-loving council in SeaTac is doing to its immigrant communities.