Evan Smith: Ferguson enjoys unopposed victory

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer


King County Councilman Bob Ferguson (pictured, right), who represents Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and part of north Seattle, was unopposed for re-election in November.

Ferguson said Tuesday that he found the election a welcome change from his first two campaigns for the Council.

In his first campaign six years ago, he defeated longtime Councilwoman Cynthia Sullivan by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin in the Democratic primary.

Two years later, redistricting put Ferguson and fellow Democratic incumbent Carolyn Edmonds in the newly drawn 1st District. Ferguson won by a 52-47 margin.

He had no Republican opponent in 2003, and he had a 75-25 percent margin over his 2005 Republican opponent.

With most districts having little inter-party competition, the new non-partisan County Council elections were supposed to bring more competition in single-party districts. Ferguson said, however, that, while it may be true some day, it didn’t bring enhanced competition this year.

Ferguson and three of the other four Council incumbents on this year’s ballot ran unopposed.

The change from partisan to non-partisan County elections had the unintended consequence of complicating the process of filling the vacancy in the district that Dow Constantine held before he was elected County executive.

Under a partisan system, the Council would have replaced Democrat Constantine from a list of three candidates selected by Democratic precinct committee officers in Constantine’s West-Seattle-area district. Now, the officially non-partisan Council ended the year in a deadlock between the four former Democrats and four former Republicans over a replacement.

Ferguson said he expected the Council to reach agreement on a compromise candidate when it reconvenes in January.

The person appointed would serve until next year’s election when someone would be elected to fill the last 13 months of Constantine’s Council term.

As for his own political future, Ferguson confirmed that he is considering a run for State attorney general in 2012, but he said that he would run only if current Republican attorney general and former King County Councilman Rob McKenna (pictured, left)  doesn’t run for a third term.

Many observers expect McKenna to run for governor.

Ferguson said he needed to raise at least $2 million to mount a statewide campaign.

He has already taken one important step toward a run for attorney general. He has reactivated his status as a member of the bar. Ferguson, who worked for a large Seattle law firm before his run for County Council, had switched to inactive status.

Some observers had mentioned Ferguson as a candidate for King County prosecuting attorney three years ago, but his bar status was then inactive. He has now returned to active status.

Ferguson had these observations on two other subjects:

• On the election of County Assessor Lloyd Hara with 32 percent of the vote in a five-person race, Ferguson said that any form of runoff would have brought the same result. He blamed the awkward election on former Assessor Scott Noble’s resignation coming too late for a primary.

• On the elimination of most election-ballot drop boxes, Ferguson said that the Council had to make the move at a time when it was cutting human services and straining to keep police protection.

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