Bothell state rep gets Democrats’ nod for Senate appointment

Derek Stanford was the party’s top choice to fill an opening left when Guy Palumbo resigned.

Derek Stanford

Derek Stanford

Derek Stanford is the top pick from 1st Legislative District Democrats to take over a recently vacated state Senate position.

In a party meeting Sunday, the state representative from Bothell emerged as its leading nominee. The final decision will be up to the King and Snohomish county councils.

At the end of May, Guy Palumbo resigned his position in the state Senate after just over half of the four-year term. In a statement, he said he wanted to be closer to his family, home and small business that boards dogs, and to become an Amazon lobbyist in Olympia.

Washington legislative positions that become vacant midyear between regular elections are filled by appointment from that district’s county council or councils. The state committee of the political party that held the position can nominate up to three candidates.

The district includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, and north Kirkland, across King and Snohomish counties.

Hillary Moralez

Hillary Moralez

In a vote, Stanford was the preferred choice for the Democrats. The second nominee was Hillary Moralez, chairwoman of the Snohomish County Democrats. Third was Linda Tosti-Lane, whom Snohomish County Democrats Vice Chairman Bill Phillips said was a longtime Democratic activist and “a fixture in the 1st Legislative District.”

If Stanford is appointed to the Senate position, his House seat would become vacant. So the Democratic Party also picked its nominees for that post: Bothell City Councilwoman Davina Duerr, Moralez and Darshan Rauniyar, who sought a state House position in 2016 but didn’t advance beyond the primary.

The shakeup could provide an important push in the progressive agenda next session, as Herald journalist Jerry Cornfield reported. Stanford is not averse to a capital gains tax pursued by House Democrats a few times in his five terms, including this year. He’d be positioned to cast the pivotal 25th vote for passage in the Senate — if Democrats remain interested in 2020, an election year.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

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