Writings and observations

Denny Heck
Denny Heck

We’ve suggested any number of instances where unsuccessful candidates gearing up for a second run may be thinking … unwisely. Today, a case arguing for the opposite.

Or, not really, because in the case of Denny Heck, the Olympia-area executive and Democrat who lost a race for the 3rd district last year to Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, there are a bunch of changed conditions.

One is that 2012 is unlikely (as matters stand) to be the kind of strong Republican year than 2010 was. More important, Heck and Herrera Beutler are likely to be in different districts next time. Washington gains another congressional district next year, and the new territory will have to be parceled mostly out of the heavy population area running from around Olympia to King County east of Seattle. There’s a good chance Heck will be in a new district without an incumbent but with a Democratic leaning.

The Seattle Times reports, “Heck filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last Thursday, setting up a campaign for the 10th District. He then refiled less than an hour later to say he was running for an unspecified congressional district (listing it as district “00.”)”

In a case like this, probably wise to put down a marker, if he has any interest at all.

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Washington

Washingtonians might be a little uneasy about tomorrow’s legislative special session deadline. They probably should feel better if legislators and the governor just went ahead and announced another session, right now.

That runs counter to most of what you hear: Those legislators should get it done and get out of town! Well, sure, ideally. Problem is that really tight deadlines can impair the decision-making process. It’s a little like torture: You’ll say or do anything, just to get it over with. (Remember the old legal principle, that hard cases make bad case law?)

The problem in Washington has had to do with developing a final budget. The excellent Political Buzz blog (of the Tacoma News Tribune), after noting some of the items which apparently are scheduled to be sliced, and some others that aren’t, reports that as of today, there’s talk that the session might wind up on schedule come Wednesday.

Or not: “A few minutes ago the Senate’s two negotiators on debt, Democrat Derek Kilmer and Republican Linda Evans Parlette, said they were still working on the issue, as they speed-walked into the office shared by House Speaker Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan.”

Look through the rundown of cuts and no-cuts. Are those the lists you would endorse? Are they the best possible? Are Washingtonians likely to get the best possible from a pressure cooker?

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Washington

Veteran national political reporter Lou Jacobson (working for Governing magazine) has been searching out some of the top state legislator prospects for the future, and today released a list of 10 Republicans to watch (Democrats next week). Two of them are from the Northwest.

One is, for Oregonians, a easy-enough name to come up with: House Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna: “In the tied Oregon House, Hanna shares power with his Democratic counterpart, Arnie Roblan. The duo has won praise for their cooperation, including their attempts to hammer out a budget agreement with Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber.”

The other, in Washington, is a newer face and less obvious, freshman state Senator Andy Hill: “Hill retired from his job as a Microsoft software engineer to fight what looked like terminal lung cancer. Thanks to an experimental treatment, he beat the disease and proceeded to knock off a Democratic state Senate incumbent in 2010. Since taking office earlier this year, he’s struck alliances with Democrats on certain environmental and education issues.”

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