County’s GOP foot soldier heads east to sell real estate

Through the years a conversation with Larry Stickney eventually evolves into a forthright pitch for his latest endeavor to spread conservative ideas.

These days the only product he’s putting his heart and soul into selling is real estate.

And he’s not doing it in Arlington, where he had encamped for nearly two decades, but in Colville, a small town north of Spokane where he quietly resettled with his family a few months ago.

You heard right. Stickney, one of the state’s most recognized town criers of conservatism, is taking a break from politics.

“I will keep a toe in the political waters,” he said this week. “Right now I just want to try to relax for a couple of years and see if I can actually make a living. I’m ready to be your man for real estate in northeast Washington.”

Stickney and his wife are now nearer her aging parents and he is spending more time with his three children still at home; four other children are grown.

It also will give the 55-year-old Stickney a chance to recharge and reflect after a stretch of strenuous ballot battles, all of which ended badly for his causes and candidates.

In 2009, he led the charge with Referendum 71 to repeal a state law granting same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of married couples except the ability to wed.

Much to his chagrin, voters upheld the law. Then he and others in the Protect Marriage Washington Coalition became locked in a high-stakes legal battle to keep the names of those who signed the referendum a secret. And he lost that, too.

The next year Stickney managed Snohomish County Councilman John Koster’s campaign for Congress against incumbent Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen, which resulted in defeat.

Stickney and Koster, who are close friends, teamed up again in 2012 to duel Democrat Suzan DelBene for the congressional seat vacated by the current governor, Jay Inslee. A different opponent did not bring a different result.

Then, in December, Stickney sought out the chairmanship of the Snohomish County Republican Party and came up a handful of votes short.

By February, he had relocated to a political clime better suited for one blessed with his bombast, bravado and beliefs.

His absence is noticeable, Koster said.

“Any time a person that has the passion that Larry has leaves the scene, it does leave a little bit of a void,” he said.

Stickney’s move from the edge of left-leaning Pugetopolis comes as the GOP leaders headquartered in Bellevue are recalibrating the party’s strategy for future contests.

No doubt a few of those GOP players welcome a break from Stickney who’s been a lightning rod for conflict in the party.

For his part, Stickney said he is glad to be farther from this maddening crowd which he views as wrongly trying to secularize the Republican Party rather than strengthen its roots among social conservatives.

But he’s not done with politics and even hopes Koster will make a run for Snohomish County executive in two years.

“If the right battle comes up again, I’ll be ready,” he said. “I just don’t know what it will be.”

Until then, he’s got an awesome log home he’d like to sell you.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Marysville hit-and-run leaves man with broken bones

The state patrol has asked for help solving an increasing number of hit-and-run cases in the state.

Everett man killed at bar had criminal history, gang ties

A bar employee reportedly shot Matalepuna Malu, 29, whose street name was “June Bug.”

There’s plenty to cheer in overdue capital budget

In Snohomish County, there’s money for a number of projects.

Parking a constant problem at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

Front Porch

EVENTS Autoharpist in Everett Folksinger, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller returns… Continue reading

Most Read