3rd party run for governor would force school funding debate

  • By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2016 7:09pm
  • Local News

For very different reasons, Donald Trump and Randy Dorn are poised to alter the dynamics of this year’s race for governor in Washington.

Trump’s effect would derive from his position as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president and the cascading consequences of his words and actions.

Dorn’s impact would come from entering the race as an independent candidate and coercing Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and leading Republican challenger Bill Bryant into rigorous debate on how to pay for public schools. That’s been Dorn’s focus the last few years as chief of the state’s public school system.

At this moment, Trump is a clear and present factor. Polling shows his ideas, idioms and insults are a turn-off to many self-described independent voters and those are the very voters Bryant needs to lock up to have any chance of pulling off an upset.

Strategists in the state Democratic Party and Inslee campaign know this. That’s why they’re obsessed with getting Bryant to say if he will vote for Trump in the state’s presidential primary now under way and in the general election as well.

“Now, not only do Washington state Republicans refuse to reject their nominee… my opponent has refused to rule out voting for Donald Trump,” reads a May 4 fund-raising letter from Inslee.

The state party has even set up a website to track Bryant’s aversions to answering those questions.

“Voters deserve to know his position,” said Democratic Party spokesman Jamal Raad. “Who you support for president is a powerful indication of where you stand on the major issues facing our state and nation.”

Bryant, who never envisioned Trump would emerge as the front-runner, is steadfast in his refusal to reply to inquiries of his presidential preferences. He contends the presidential race is in its own orbit and the battle for governor won’t be pulled into it.

“You guys in the media want to talk about Trump all the time,” Bryant said. “If (Jay Inslee) wants to run against Trump, that’s fine. At the end of the day he’s running against me and he’s going to have to run on his record.”

Meanwhile, Dorn hovers on the sideline, sounding like he’s a sure bet to get in the race when candidates file next week.

He started talking this way after deciding not to run again for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Such a campaign, he says, would be the best vehicle to focus the race for governor on funding public schools adequately and in line with the state constitution.

Dorn insists he’s got a plan while Inslee and Bryant do not. And he doesn’t mind telling you.

“If they come up with a plan by filing, I’m out,” he said. “If I don’t do this, I don’t think anything is going to change. In fact it might get much worse.”

If Dorn runs, he’s likely to siphon more votes away from Bryant than from Inslee, according to a recent Elway Poll. But his entry could also provide Bryant a benefit by forcing the campaign conversation to something other than his views on Trump.

“I guarantee you I will be by far the most interesting candidate,” he boasted in a very Trump-like fashion.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Safeway store at 4128 Rucker Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Police: Everett Safeway ex-worker accused of trying to ram customers

The man, 40, was showing symptoms of psychosis, police wrote. Officers found him circling another parking lot off Mukilteo Boulevard.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 196th ST SW Improvement Project near the 196th and 44th Ave West intersection in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jarred by anti-Semitic rants, Lynnwood council approves tax increase

Three people spewed hate speech via Zoom at a council meeting this week. Then, the council moved on to regular business.

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

Bikes and toys line the Riverdale Apartments in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. There was a shooting across the street on Sunday. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
As family grieves slain teen, Jackson Park neighbors fear more violence

Cesar Sanchez, 17, went to stay the night at a friend’s house in Everett, his mother said. Early Sunday, he was shot to death.

Graffiti covers the eastern side of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County Cascade Unit on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Again, Boys and Girls Club tagged with suspected gang signs in Everett

Residents on Cascade Drive say their neighborhood has been the scene of excessive graffiti and sometimes gunfire in the past year.

Pam and Ken Owens, of Granite Falls,  stop to take cell phone photos of the flooding along Lincoln Avenue on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. The couple were planing to take the road to Monroe for lunch.   (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Brace for flooding: Weeklong storm to pummel Snohomish County

Weekend weather may pose problems as meteorologists project flooding near Snohomish and Monroe and officials plan for outages.

An STI clinic opened Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free STI clinic opens in Everett after 14-year hiatus — and as rates spike

The county-run facility will provide treatment and resources for prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Offloading ferry traffic is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street at the Edmonds ferry dock on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 in Edmonds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
2-ferry service restored on Edmonds-Kingston route — for a weekend

M/V Salish, one of the system’s smallest vessels, will fill in through Sunday after weeks of one boat on the route.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.