1. At the beginning of what will be a whirlwind two-week campaign for votes among precinct committee officers in the district, candidates to fill the 43rd District state House seat being vacated by Jamie Pedersen, who is expected to win appointment to mayor-elect Ed Murray's old seat after he steps down at the end of December, two candidates are emerging as frontrunners, with neither the clear favorite. (The district Democratic PCOs will vote on the three candidates on the slate and send all three names to the King County Council, which traditionally appoints the candidate with the most votes).

A relative newcomer to the district group, Brady Walkinshaw, touts the backing of several state officials, including state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34). But inside the district itself, there may be more support for current district executive board director Scott Forbes, who reportedly got a loud and sustained round of applause after his speech at the district meeting Tuesday night, when he talked about his long history in the district (he's been active since 2008).

2. Sen. Nelson replaced Murray yesterday as minority caucus chair in the senate—a tough job in a body that has been dominated by the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus, made tougher by the narrow election of former Rep. Jan Angel (R-26), which gives the MCC a 26-23 majority over the Democrats.

Later today, the MCC is holding a work session on its formal $12 billion transportation tax proposal, which has split a coalition of environmental and business leaders, with environmentalists saying it includes far too much funding new highways over transit improvements (it also strips money from the state toxics cleanup fund to pay for stormwater mitigation), and business groups praising it for its focus on megaprojects.

3. Also yesterday, mayor-elect Murray appointed law enforcement consultant and former Pasadena Police Chief Barney Melekian to advise his 43-member transition team on public safety issues. Most recently, Melekian served as head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services division.

SPD is under a federal court order to reform the department after a 2011 DOJ report found evidence of excessive use of force and biased policing; city council members Tim Burgess (an ex-cop and former head of the council's public safety committee) and Bruce Harrell, the current public-safety chair, both praised the appointment. 

4. The War on Women struck close to home for the GOP yesterday (whose representatives have traditionally denied any such war exists), when state Republican Party chair Susan Hutchison cited it as the reason she gets paid $20,000 less than her predecessor, ex-talk jock Kirby Wilbur.

According to the Seattle Times, Hutchison wrote in a memo to the GOP executive board that "The pay cut defies the concept of equal pay for equal work." Wonder if that means the state Republican Party will be supporting the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, which Republicans in Congress have denounced as, among other things, a "liberal plot" to portray their party as anti-woman?

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