Constantine Still Waiting for the Also-Rans’ Support

His primary competitors are keeping quiet.

Over the past week, almost every Democratic statewide officeholder or member of Washington's Congressional delegation has endorsed Dow Constantine in the race for King County Executive. As of today, the list includes both U.S. senators, four representatives, Governor Christine Gregoire, and a few other state officials. But while the state party and its marquee names might be jumping on the wagon for Constantine, notably absent is any sign of support from the three men who won the votes he'll need to get past Susan Hutchison in the general election. Fred Jarrett, Larry Phillips, and Ross Hunter received a total of 116,877 votes, according to the latest numbers from King County Elections. Constantine won 89,675 and Hutchison took 109,874. While Jarrett, Phillips, and Hunter are now all Democrats, Jarrett used to belong to the GOP, and he and Hunter are supported by a more moderate Eastside base. Hutchison won both of their districts. Constantine—once referred to at a landowners' meeting in Issaquah as "Chairman Dow" for his support of strict regulations on rural property usage—is further to the left. The race is officially nonpartisan, but state Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz has no intention of letting the race actually run that way. "This is a partisan race; Susan is a conservative-to-right-wing Republican," Pelz said by phone the day after the primary. "Unless she made a mistake with her checkbook, she's a Republican." Accordingly, Pelz said, the party will be actively supporting Constantine. But what he really needs is the votes of his former competitors. And the only public statements we've heard from any of them since the primary are e-mails from Phillips and Hunter requesting donations to help alleviate their campaign debt. Where's the unity press conference?

 
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