SULTAN — Maybe it’s his Southern accent, or maybe it’s his lack of bluster.
Whatever the case, Dale Sorgen doesn’t sound like a typical Washington politician.
He begins one e-mail to supporters with his usual polite approach.
“I hope you don’t mind,” he writes, “but I wanted to reinvite you.”
The Sultan man — a computer programmer, former Baptist pastor and father of five — is the first declared candidate in the 2012 governor’s race. He will meet with the public to discuss his campaign at 7 tonight at Sultan High School.
“We’re not going to be raising funds,” he said in an interview. “This is just a chance to share.”
Sorgen, 41, filed campaign papers on Nov. 6, listing himself as a conservative. He hopes to use the governor’s office to address the $12 trillion national debt.
The campaign will mark an abrupt shift in course for Sorgen, who led the Sultan Baptist Church until June.
He resigned from that role after 3 ½ years to study politics. Sorgen, who grew up in Mississippi, felt the federal government was making awful budgetary decisions.
Sorgen began reading the work of economists who advocate for a hands-off approach to government spending, a style also favored by people such as U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
“Our financial condition nationally is pretty dire,” Sorgen said. “I think all the indicators lead toward trouble, but I’m also persuaded to believe that our only way to address those is from the state level.”
He said by uniting Washington state behind the issue, a clear message can be sent to the entire country, making it clear that many feel taxes are too high and spending, too reckless.
Paul Elvig, who has led the Whatcom and Snohomish County Republican parties in past decades, said an anti-tax and anti-deficit message will resonate, but Sorgen’s concentration on federal spending could complicate his run.
“It’s hard to take a national issue and tie it to a governor’s office,” Elvig said.
Sorgen has heard that before. When he tells people about his campaign, some ask why he isn’t seeking a seat in Congress, he said.
He considered that route, but felt his voice would be lost among the 535-person Congress. He notes that congressmen who agree with his views haven’t been able to change the country’s direction.
“I’m not a pessimist,” he said. “I’m just not sure that the problem is fixable on the national level.”
Optimism will have to carry him for a long time, as he stages a three-year campaign. He’s in it for the long haul.
“I’ll be surprised if I don’t win,” he said. “I wouldn’t have started for any other reason.”
Dale Sorgen will meet with the public at 7 tonight at Sultan High School, 13715 310th Ave. SE. Call 425-609-2251 or e-mail dalesorgen@ imagineliberty.us.