In releasing its 2010 endorsements over the weekend, the Washington State Labor Council was making some predictable noises—yes for Patty Murray for Senate, yes for almost every major Washington Democrat running for a U.S. House seat, yes for Bill Gates Sr.'s "tax the rich" initiative—and also, more interestingly, settling at least one score.
That score-settling involves the council's beef with House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43). He hasn't drawn a serious challenger despite concerns in the Seattle labor community over his perceived willingness to toss aside the progressive agenda whenever its politically expedient. (Even the once-furious Anyone But Frank Chopp Facebook page seems to have disappeared.) Still, the labor council is not endorsing him.
Council spokesperson Kathy Cummings, in an e-mail yesterday, explained that her group was looking to endorse only "champions," and that too many people with a say in the council's endorsements still had hard feelings about Chopp "calling the cops on us."
Meanwhile, wading into the Democratic fight that's brewing down in southwestern Washington's 3rd District, the Labor Council is endorsing state senator Craig Pridemore (D-49) for Congress over former state house majority leader Denny Heck. Both Democrats want to be the man to replace outgoing Democratic Congressman Brian Baird.
Here's how Cummings explained, in an e-mail, that decision:
Pridemore has a lifetime voting record of 98% [on labor issues]. He is a true champion for workers in Washington. He has stood with us time and time again. In this year especially when we have changed our endorsement process to really search out who stands for us, it was clear to delegates that Pridemore was right with us. Heck had a 72% voting record, and that is from 1977 -84.
I can say it was a close vote and a very spirited debate. But in the end it was Pridemore who won with just over the 2/3rds majority that he needed for a full endorsement. Usually we can tell from a voice vote—this time it took a roll call vote.