Former state Rep. Brendan Williams, a hard-hitting lefty who resigned his seat in 2010 because he was frustrated with Democratic leadership, has decided to endorse state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44) in the crowded field of Democrats running in the redrawn 1st Congressional District.
Williams' endorsement is a surprise because Hobbs is a leader of the Roadkill Caucus, a group of conservative Democrats who commandeered the state senate away from liberal leadership to thwart the unions, pass conservative budgets, and give Republicans more power than their numbers dictate. In short, the ascension of Hobbs' conservative economic agenda in the legislature (and anti-teachers' union agenda) is exactly what sent Williams running for the hills.
However, with the addition of rural Whatcom County, the 1st—Democratic US Rep. Jay Inslee's once-blue district (Inslee's now running for governor)—has become more of a swing district.[pullquote]Williams called Hobbs, an Iraq vet, an authentic voice for the middle class.[/pullquote]
Williams, who had been supporting super liberal state Rep. Marko Liias in the intramural (Liias dropped out yesterday because he was re-disricted into the 7th) thinks Hobbs (who's liberal on social issues, by the way, such as gay rights) gives Democrats their best chance. Williams also likes that Hobbs, an Iraq vet, is authentically middle class.
In his inimitably candid style (loaded with backhanded compliments about how the Democrats on the redistricting commission remade the 1st), Williams said:
In designing a 1st Congressional District weighted toward Republicans, the Redistricting Commission made centrism essential. My friend Steve Hobbs is an unrepentant centrist. Even where we disagree, I know where he stands. In a Congress dominated by the super-wealthy, Steve can be an authentic voice for the middle class because he is middle class. With his fiscal conservatism and social progressivism -- along with his military service -- Steve is best-suited to win a district made very challenging. Furthermore, as a Snohomish County officeholder he can best take on a presumptive Republican nominee from Snohomish County – John Koster.
Koster, an ultra-conservative who ran and lost narrowly to US Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2) in 2010, has been redistricted into the 1st.
There's also a (not so backhanded) dig at Suzan DelBene in Williams' statement. DelBene, the "super-wealthy" ex-Microsoft executive who put $2.3 million of her own money through loans and direct contributions into her 2010 campaign against US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ), has also been redistricted into the 1st and is likely to announce her candidacy in a week or so.