In late 2012, after a Democratic sweep of the statewide offices in Washington state and solid results for team blue across the board, WA-48th State Senator Rodney Tom (
R D) turned his back on his party to grasp the mantle of Majority Leader in the Washington State Senate.
Tom, from the same Medina neighborhood in suburban King County as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, originally was elected to represent a pinkish swing district that includes parts of Kirkland and Bellevue, WA. As the district started trending bluer and bluer, Tom switched parties to keep his seat. And it worked.
But in late 2012, after Democrats maintained a mandate sized control over the state government and federal representatives as well, Rodney Tom grasped for power and control for himself. Democrats had 26 of 49 seats, giving them a slim majority of control of the upper chamber. But Rodney Tom and fellow blue dog Tim Sheldon decided that they knew better than the people of Washington State who voted for Democrats to control the chamber. Tom instigated a "bipartisan coalition" with Sheldon that wrested control away from then Majority Leader and now Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, installing himself as the new Majority Leader of that coalition with a 25-24 majority.
Rodney Tom and his coalition then went about the rest of 2013 dashing hopes for progressive, even just centrist solutions, to major state problems including:
- Blocking a major transportation bill that would prevent the almost 20% cut to King County Metro bus services
- Education funding
- Immigration reform
- Gun control
- What else
Finally, in 2014 voters will have a chance to tell Rodney Tom what they think of his job performance and how his behavior has hurt their priorities. And we have a great Democratic challenger who just announced her campaign, former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride announced that she is going to run as a Democrat in August's top 2 primary.
Tom, meanwhile, claims he will run as a Democrat, but has just hired a controversial Republican campaign consultant.
Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom has occupied many corners of the political map, from Republican to Democrat to official leader of a Republican-dominated coalition that runs the state Senate with an iron hand.Keep your eyes on this one folks. And if you live in the Northwest, please open your checkbook and get ready to pound the pavement on behalf of Joan McBride. Here's a link to her campaign Facebook page. And here's a link to her new campaign website, which did not come up in Google or Bing, so obviously needs some link love to move up the search results.
Now, while saying he’ll run for re-election as a Democrat, Tom has hired a fiery Republican political operative to run his re-election campaign in the Eastside 48th District.