Team of Rivals

Was one night in Bellevue a taste of bipartisanship to come?

By Eric Scigliano January 5, 2009 Published in the January 2009 issue of Seattle Met

Five days after November’s election, Kemper Freeman Jr.—Bellevue Square’s mall lord, Sound Transit’s nemesis, and just “Kemper” to everyone east of Lake Washington and right of Chris GregoireÔsat on a Bellevue ballroom stage in leather jacket and biker do-rag, catching fire from both ends of the political spectrum.

Many of the yuks revolved around Kemper Freeman’s crush on Harley hogs.

The occasion was the Washington News Council’s annual Gridiron fundraiser. Many of the yuks revolved around Kemper’s crush on Harley hogs. KOMO radio talker John Carlson saluted him for riding with “the mild bunch” and ordering diet smoothies at Duvall’s famous biker bar. But the weird high point came when right-winger Carlson swapped ad libs with his political opposite, King County Executive Ron Sims.

“It’s been a great week!” Sims crowed, casting a blue postelection glow on the red-tinged room.
“Oh, really?” Carlson faked bemusement.
“Oh, how sweet it’s been!”
“I must have missed that.”
“Don’t worry, John, it’ll be that way for another eight years.”

Sims turned his glee back to the roastee, giving him a fist bump and five. “Yo Kemper, what’s happening? Give me some. See, he’s got potential. Got the colors, coming into the community. Ain’t a brother yet, but we can work on it.”

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