No point in re-running through the thorough David Postman post on this, but has to be noted here. State Representative Fred Jarrett, R-Mercer Island, one of the handful of Republican legislative survivors on the east side of King County, is doing a Rodney Tom: Switching parties and planning a run for the state Senate. Jarrett's route there may be easier than Tom's, since he would be replacing a retiring Democratic senator (Brian Weinstein).
Tom, you'll recall, defeated Republican incumbent Senator Luke Esser last year, in a neighboring district.
Just a little further background here. District 41 (and its predecessors), the area running from around Mercer Island to Issaquah near I-90 east of Seattle and including parts of Bellevue and Renton, was in the 90s a generally Republican district. The elections of 2002 gave it two Republicans, the senator (Jim Horn) and one of the House members, Jarrett, who was unopposed that year; the other was Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who is still there. In 2004 Weinstein defeated Horn, and Jarrett's percentage slipped to 54.6%; in 2006 it slipped to 53.1% (while Clibborn won with 64.5%). In the past six years, this has become a Democratic district.
Jarrett has been a relatively moderate GOP caucus member, and the switch isn't especially shocking. Postman did pull an enlightening quote from Jarrett: ""I felt there was a strong tradition in the Republican Party that really couldn't be lost. So what I've been doing as long as I've been in the Legislature is trying to articulate that moderate Republican, progressive Republican, viewpoint, and what I found is I may have a lot of ego, but I don't think I have enough ego to think anymore that I can do it."