By Evan Smith
Both The Herald and The Seattle Times have endorsed Democrat Scott Whelpley to replace retiring 21st District Democratic State Rep. Mary Helen Roberts.
Whelpley also can point to endorsements from State Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn, 32nd District State Rep. Cindy Ryu, five members of the seven-member Mukilteo City Council and former Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine, a former Republican candidate for Congress.
Fellow Democrat Strom Peterson, an Edmonds city councilman, has endorsements from Roberts, from 21st District Democratic State Sen. Marko Liias, from Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, from Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling (a prominent Republican) and a joint endorsement from the District Democratic organization with candidate Justin McMahon
McMahon’s endorsements include Democratic 1st District State Rep. Luis Moscoso of Mountlake Terrace.
Whelpley, Peterson and McMahon will share the Aug. 5 primary ballot with Democrat Dick McManus and Republican Allen McPheeters. The top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, qualify for the November general-election ballot.
Whelpley, a former Navy aviator who lives in Mukilteo, holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington.
The Times said July 16 that Whelpley would be learning on the job, but added, “He holds the clear potential for independence from powerful interest groups and his Democratic caucus.”
Dorn said in his July 7 endorsement that Whelpley would “make public schools a priority in the legislature.
“As the only parent with school-aged children in this race, Scott Whelpley knows the challenges our public schools are facing because his young daughter and son attend our public schools. Scott is the only candidate with the leadership, experience and passion necessary to prioritize and overcome the challenges our schools face.”
The Herald’s July 22 editorial said that Democrats Whelpley, Peterson and McMahon have the mettle to step into the position, concluding: “Of the three, Whelpley gets the nod based on his professional experience, personal narrative and grounding in K-12 minutia.”
“District Republicans have an option with McPheeters, a former software developer and the Republican 21st Legislative District chairman, who bravely stepped forward when no one else from his party jumped. He may squeak through the primary, but he’ll need to brush up on issues to go toe-to-toe with Whelpley, Peterson or McMahon.”
The editorial went on: “If elected, Whelpley will need to navigate the Olympia jungle, where theory and practice part ways. He looks to have the strength of character — and hopefully the stomach — to push back and, when necessary, embrace the art of the possible, whether it’s on transportation reform or class size.”