We asked him for an explanation, and he said:
It's no secret that Gerry has a high level of support from party activists, reflecting his 20 plus year history of engagement. While I am a proud member of the local party, nothing is to be gained from practicing divisive politics in the 46th district. My job isn't to convince the 100 people in that room to support me, it's to show the 90,000 voters in the district that I will be an effective leader representing their values in Olympia.
Four years ago voters took a critical look at the candidates and over 70 percent determined that Gerry wasn't a good fit for the district. I'm a better reflection of what that 70 percent voted for in 2008.
Editorial comment: I certainly get the criticism of leaving the nomination up to 100 cranky party activists in an elementary school cafeteria or church basement—as opposed to letting the supposedly regular busy folks living and working in the districts make the real decision—but at the same time, being vetted by Precinct Committee Officers who are versed in the issues and having to work the party structure and round up votes is certainly a legitimate litmus test for candidates.[pullquote]My job isn't to convince the 100 people in that room to support me, it's to show the 90,000 voters in the district that I will be an effective leader representing their values in Olympia.[/pullquote]
Footnote: This year's nomination process is a clunky consequence of the Democratic Party's need to stake an official claim on a seat by having an official candidate in place in case a legislator from a swing district leaves office and needs to be replaced mid-term. If a departing legislator was an official nominee, the local county council (county council's appoint replacements) would have to fill the seat with a legislator from the same party.
This isn't super relevant in Seattle where the county council is likely to be Democratic anyway and would replace a non-official nominee with a Democrat (Reuven Carlyle, for example, wasn't the official nominee, John Burbank was). But in order to protect seats in other parts of the state that aren't safely Democratic, read former Walla Walla state Rep. Bill Grant who died in 2009 and had to be replaced, the party needs to be consistent about its process.