McAuliffe says coalition takeover of State Senate not done yet

Democratic 1st District state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe says a conservative takeover of the Senate isn’t a fact until the Senate convenes in January.

Election results show 26 Democrats and 23 Republicans in the Senate, but two Democrats say they will join the Republicans to form a coalition that would have a 25-24 majority with Democrat Rod Tom of Medina as majority leader and Democrat Tim Sheldon of Mason County as president pro-tem.

McAuliffe would lose her position as chairwoman of the Senate’s committee on K-12 education and early learning. Democratic leaders earlier had announced that McAuliffe would continue to head the committee before the “majority coalition” announced that it would divide chairmanships of committees between Republicans and Democrats, giving leadership of the education committee to a Republican.

McAuliffe said Monday that the change in control of the Senate wouldn’t be a fact until the Legislature convenes Jan. 14, adding, “Things could change.”

She said that public opinion would turn against the coalition, which she calls a “takeover.”

She added that if Sheldon and Tom want to form a caucus with Republicans, they should become Republicans and run for office as Republicans.

McAuliffe represents the 1st Legislative District, which includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.

She defeated Republican challenger Dawn McCravey by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin in the November election in an expensive contest that brought in outside support from education groups on both sides.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com

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