Old dog leaves the porch

Jim Clements

Jim Clements

Curtis King

Curtis King

The political quiet of midsummer in an off year in the solidly Republican terrior of Yakima, a time when the old political dogs hang out on the front porch, has taken a turn. A challenge, actually.

Selah farmer Jim Clements, a former six-term House member appointed in January to the state Senate (replacing fellow Republican Alex Deccio), is up for election this year, first in the Republican primary. (That will be the decision-maker; the general likely will be a non-event.) Well-known in the area and a proven vote-getter, Clements started by saying he likely wouldn’t raise any money, indicating he didn’t expect to campaign hard. Self-described as an “old porch dog,” he seemed likely to stay ensconced on the porch.

No longer. A businessman (cabinet maker) from Union Gap, Curtis King (who also sought the Senate appointment in January), jumped in and appears to be running one heck of a campaign. The Yakima Herald Republic story on the race starts with his campaign door-knock at a house; the woman who answered the door knew exactly who he was: “Curtis King? You’re the one with the signs, huh.” A solid website too, an unusually long list of endorsees, and a large campaign organization as well. He is said to have 850 signs posted in Yakima; that would be a lot.

Clements may have taken his time, but he’s now actively out there campaigning. Maybe just in time: The paper reports that the contest is now considered too close to call. The election is August 21.

Some street lessons here, in Politics 101.

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