Rarely has the election season looked this promising this early. Gordon Pross, for example—the candidate opposing incumbent Doc Hastings for the 4th Congressional District GOP nomination—promises to go straight, having once served six days in jail for assault after trying to elude a police officer. He recently told reporters he "would bring a unique perspective" to Congress. A politician who tried to avoid arrest? Been there, done that.
More encouraging is the candidacy of Brad Plumb, who was recently declared eligible to hold public office but not a gun. Plumb is an Eastern Washington attorney who cheated the welfare system out of $7,000. Convicted of fraud five years ago, he had his civil rights restored recently, allowing him to campaign for a Spokane district judgeship. He promises to be unique: To anyone he sentences and tells not to carry a weapon, the judge/convicted felon can add sympathetically, "Don't feel bad—I can't either."
Sandra Romero likewise promises not to repeat history. The 22nd District rep has apparently moved beyond that DUI incident two years ago. As she told the deputies who arrested her when her Toyota rammed another car after going the wrong way on the freeway, "You guys won. I am drunk. I was drinking and I will tell you that I am intoxicated. You have ruined my political career." Not!
Same for Richard Pope, who a few years ago lost to Attorney General Christine Gregoire. Few thought he'd try a comeback after he pointed out that one of his campaign aides was "not necessarily all there," was accused of screaming and lunging at the wife of one of his clients during a divorce deposition, and admitted he had to work at home because no law firm would hire him. Now he's promising to do his job in the great big office of the King County prosecutor.
State Sen. Jim West, who was accused of making death threats to a lobbyist last session ("McCabe, you son of a bitch . . . you're dead"), is running again. Ron Taber, a former candidate for superintendent of public instruction who thought "Spanish is the language of doormen, dishwashers, and fruit pickers," is back on the ballot. And Sen. Pam Roach, who, Capt. Queeg-like, wanted to know who stole the roses off her Senate desk last session ("I am incensed... and I intend to take action!"), is back. They vow to be good this time.
Try not to be cynical. At least, in the words of the late comic and erstwhile candidate Pat Paulsen, maybe they'll fulfill the promise to "get crime and ignorance off the street and into politics, where it all started."