New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Hillary Moralez is the new chairperson of the Snohomish County Democratic Party. (Snohomish County Democrats)

Hillary Moralez is the new chairperson of the Snohomish County Democratic Party. (Snohomish County Democrats)

Democrats in Snohomish County welcomed a new leader this week while Republicans will get a new chairperson for the state party this weekend.

Just 13 months ago Mario Brown of Edmonds became chairman of the Snohomish County Democratic Party in an election laced with drama.

It took two rounds of balloting before Brown, a gifted speaker and talented political organizer, unseated the incumbent and assumed the reins of leadership for the Democratic Party operation in the state’s third-most populous county.

On Sunday, Brown resigned, telling friends he needed to step back. He could not be immediately reached to discuss his departure.

His tenure had its challenges.

He couldn’t fully mend the lingering rift in the Democratic family between backers of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Nor did he improve the party’s financial well-being heading into this year’s election cycle. Its major fund-raising event proved a dud at the cash box in spite of Brown’s bringing a pair of renowned political progressives to address the locals.

And in possibly the biggest political test of this year — the race for Everett mayor — the two Democratic candidates endorsed by the county party lost and the one it did not support is now in office.

Succeeding Brown is Hillary Moralez of Bothell who noted on Facebook this week that she is the youngest person and first Hispanic woman to serve in the job.

“I want to express my admiration and support for my friend (Brown), and know that while the decision to take a break wasn’t easy it is well earned,” she posted. “I hope we can all respect his decision, his privacy, and give him our love and support.”

And, she continued, “while leadership has changed, momentum has not. We can do great things, together.”

Meanwhile, Republicans from around the state will be in Moses Lake on Saturday to choose a successor to Susan Hutchison who announced earlier this month she is resigning as chairwoman of the state party.

Her last day is Feb. 4. Don’t be surprised if soon after she lands a gig with the administration of President Donald Trump as Hutchison has been one of Trump’s most loyal and vocal defenders in this state.

Four people are reportedly vying to succeed her: Caleb Heimlich, the executive director for the state Republican Party; Marty McLendon, chairman of the Pierce County Republican Party and a 2016 candidate for lieutenant governor; Monique Trudnowski, a member of the Tacoma Public Utilities board and a 2014 candidate for state representative; and Lance Henderson, whose political resume includes aiding the 2014 re-election of Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

There will be 117 people making the decision — three from each of the 39 counties. Whoever is chosen will guide the party in what portends to be a difficult year for Republican candidates.

Polling has shown Trump is not a popular guy in large swaths of Washington including suburban legislative districts where voters had elected moderate Republicans in recent years.

And with a growing buzz about Democrats taking the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives this fall, the party’s new leader must prepare for a real tussle to ensure Republicans hang on to the 8th Congressional District seat from which Rep. Dave Reichert is retiring.

Let the changes begin.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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