1. Joe Turner at The Tacoma News Tribune totally scooped Morning Fizz on this one. He's got the story here: Next Wednesday, the Democrats in the state House will finally elect their Caucus Chair—the No. 3 spot in leadership behind the top-dog Speaker, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford), and his second-in-command, Majority Leader, Lynn Kessler (D-24, Hoquiam, Twilight Series). The position was vacated when longtime Caucus Chair, Rep. Bill Grant, died last year.
The official candidates are: Reps Dawn Morrell (D-25, Puyallup), Mark Ericks (D-1, Bothell) and John McCoy (D-38, Everett, Marysville). Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-3, Spokane) is also expected to go for the job. And another name I've heard is Rep. Larry Springer (D-45, Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland, Carnation).
I think this is a big deal. Here's why: There's a mini-mutiny brewing within the Democratic caucus right now against the conservative tilt of Chopp's leadership. Chopp, seen as an ally of the conservative BIAW, has been nudging the Caucus to the right for years, but the recent flap over leadership's decision to table a workers' rights bill has turned the off-the-record grousing about Chopp—"Fuck this place" one Rep. said to me this week as they headed into the legislative building— into a more open rebellion.
One rumor has it that to quell the unrest, Chopp is going to tap Ormsby for the gig. Ormsby is a lefty. However, another rumor has it that Ericks, a conservative Democrat, is Chopp's choice.
Chopp's decision is a tipping point for the progressive members of the caucus. At the start of the session, Chopp made conservative Kelli Linville (D-42, Blaine, Nooksack, Bellingham) the House budget chair instead of liberal Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Lake Stevens, Snohomish). Dunshee had been vice-chair under retiring budget powerhouse, Rep. Helen Sommers.
One frustrated liberal, Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia)—who took to wearing a BIAW pin with a slash through it on his lapel, already announced last year that he's resigning.
Rep. Williams, spotted at last year's Washington State Democrats Holiday Party.
If Chopp goes with a conservative (it's actually an election, but everyone knows Chopp has the power to roll the votes and get his top choice in the spot), Williams—a lame duck with nothing to lose—wont be the only member in open defiance.
2. And the Seattle Times is all over the story that Dan Savage, my old boss, may or may not be running for mayor.