Shahram Hadian is the other guy in the race for governor.
Not a lot of people around the state know it as he’s mostly blocked from the public’s view by the shadows cast by Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee, the chosen ones of their political parties.
And many of those who do know of this conservative Republican from Everett are trying to ignore him.
It’s a frustration Hadian shared Tuesday night at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Lynnwood where 150 people who want him to be governor squeezed into a banquet room for a fundraiser on his 41st birthday.
“The establishment of this party wants to pretend there’s not another candidate for governor and the media wants to pretend there’s not another candidate for governor. There is another candidate for governor,” Hadian said as the crowd roared.
“I need you not to listen to the pundits,” he said. “Let’s tell others there is a choice. They don’t have to hold their nose to vote.”
Claudia Cookson traveled from Port Angeles for pasta and politics. She’s on board with Hadian.
“Why? Because everything he stands for is what I’ve been hoping and praying would happen in this country,” Cookson said.
Evangeline Rivera-Levine of Sequim, who carpooled with Cookson, said leaders of the Republican Party and voters in the state are in need an awakening and Hadian is the one to do it.
“We need to rock the boat,” she said.
Many interviewed Tuesday said they’re behind Hadian because of his uncompromising opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage and absolute allegiance to the Republican Party platform.
Their chief critique of McKenna is they find him too willing to trade principle for pragmatism.
While they may be causing light turbulence in the party with their views, they don’t want to upend it. If Hadian doesn’t finish in the top two in the August primary they’re prepared, albeit reluctantly, to vote for McKenna in November.
Until August, they’re all in for Hadian who isn’t anything like the other guys in the race.
Where McKenna and Inslee are tall, slender and able to peer over the heads of most in any gathering, Hadian is a head shorter with the physique of a football fullback who can move anonymously about in a crowd.
And Hadian doesn’t sound a bit like them either.
Where McKenna is professorial and Inslee mechanical in explaining their positions, Hadian is an energetic and passionate preacher of the 12 principles on which his quixotic quest is founded.
Clearly what most sets Hadian’s candidacy apart is his Christian faith. Campaign events are laced with prayer, scripture and biblical references such as the tale of David and Goliath.
He knows he will perhaps need divine intervention to become the state’s next governor — because religious conservatives in Washington are not numerous enough to do it on their own.
He prays for it and Tuesday night he concluded by asking supporters to stand, and do so too.
“Heavenly Father, I pray tonight that as you look upon this room you will see a team willing to stand on the side of truth, on the side of righteous values … and be a force,” he said.
This is a bigger cause than political expediency and political power.
For Hadian it is a calling.
And one he hopes will be divinely led to victory.
Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com.
Contact him at 360-352-8623 or firstname.lastname@example.org.