One fact that cannot be overstated in discussing the Republican state Senate coup, is that Senator Rodney Tom was elected as a Democrat from an overwhelmingly Democratic legislative district. How Democratic are 48th LD voters? Just take a look at these results from the 2012 election:
- 61.4% - Barack Obama (D), President
- 64.5% - Maria Cantwell (D), US Senate
- 52.9% - Jay Inslee (D), Governor
- 55.8% - Bob Ferguson (D), Attorney General
- 51.8% - Kathleen Drew (D), Secretary of State
- 69.3% - Ross Hunter (D), State Rep. Position 1
- 61.4% - Cyrus Habib (D), State Rep. Position 2
Of particular note is the last name on that list. Cyrus Habib won 61.4 percent of the vote in a race for an open seat to become our nation's first Iranian American state legislator. He's also blind. It's probably safe to say that neither Habib's blindness nor his ethnicity gave him an unfair electoral advantage. But the "D" next to his name surely did.
This isn't a fluke. 48th LD voters elect Democrats for a reason. And these Democratic voters expect their elected officials to work to implement a Democratic agenda, not impede it.
I don't bring up his district's demographics in order to threaten Tom. It's too late for that. Tom will face a serious, well-financed Democratic challenger. That die has been cast. Rather, I bring this up to emphasize how much he has violated the will of the voters who elected him. Nobody expects their state senator to be a rubber stamp for their party leadership. Legislators need to strike a balance between personal judgment and popular will. But the very least a legislator owes his constituents is to caucus with the party he claims to belong to, and let the organizing chips fall where they may.
Anything less is false advertising, and a big "fuck you" to voters.