Koster not ruling out third run at Larsen

  • By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
  • Sunday, February 13, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

Republican John Koster isn’t letting two defeats keep him from weighing another run against Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen in 2012.

“He has not ruled it out. He has not ruled it in,” said Larry Stickney, manager of Koster’s near-miss campaigns in 2000 and 2010. “A lot of people are encouraging him. But there are a lot of intangibles.”

The biggest is what the 2nd Congressional District looks like when the process of redistricting is finished.

Washington will gain a 10th seat in the House of Representatives next year. To make room, existing districts are going to get reshaped and resized; for the 2nd District it will mean shedding about 92,000 people.

Where those people come from in a district which stretches from Mukilteo to the Canadian border could change the political character in favor of one political party or the other.

Right now, the district takes in part of Snohomish County and all of Island, Skagit, Whatcom and San Juan counties and is pretty balanced between the parties.

In the last decade, much of the population growth is in east Snohomish County where more conservative and Republican votes have been cast. Larsen, though an Arlington native, has twice lost out to Koster in those areas.

Democrats will want them shifted into a different district and make the 2nd District much bluer and much less inviting for Koster.

The citizen commission handling redistricting could opt to keep all of those areas of Snohomish County in the district — and ship San Juan and Island counties elsewhere.

That would be very attractive for Koster who might want to see if the third time is the charm.

u u u

State Rep. John McCoy could be the next chairman of the Tulalip Tribes.

We’ll find out when the Tulalip Democrat competes in the March 12 election for one of three seats on the tribe’s board of directors.

McCoy is among 17 board candidates including the three incumbents: Chairman Mel Sheldon, Jr., Treasurer Chuck James and board member Glen Gobin.

It’s an intriguing contest with very familiar names — and families — represented on the ballot including Tony Hatch, a former board member, Herman Williams Jr., another former board member and now manager of the Tulalip Tribes Housing Department, and Dale M. Jones, a former tribal housing chairman who admitted in 2005 to embezzling money from one of the programs.

The top three vote-getters next month will win seats. Then a second election will follow to choose a chairman and fill other executive posts.

Though McCoy is one of the tribe’s best known members in the state, he said it may not make a difference because it’s pretty tough for a first-time candidate like himself to win.

So why is he running?

“I had numerous tribal citizens call me and ask me to do it,” he said.

Really, that’s it? Tribal politics are as hard fought as any, yet he smiled and brushed aside questions about deeper motivations.

If McCoy wins, he can, legally, keep doing both jobs. Practically, he probably wouldn’t and could wind up leaving state office before his term expires.

To that, he said, “There is a plan in place.”

It could be activated very soon.

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

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