Bobby Forch is the sixth person to announce his intention to run for Richard McIver's soon-to-be-vacated seat. Forch, 53, works as a "strategic advisor" for the Seattle Department of Transportation. According to his press release [PDF], that means working with businesses and overseeing contracts on things like the city's involvement in the big viaduct replacement.
"I have been able to work with other agencies and across jurisdictions to put the best tools and practices in place to stimulate business development. Within three years, Forch was able to increase city contracting with disadvantaged businesses by more than 40 percent," he is quoted as saying about his intention to run in the release. (Either he actually speaks in the third person a la Bob Dole or this is a lesson in the dangers of campaign consultants writing quotes for someone else.)Forch joins a crowded field that has candidates stepping all over each others' turf. There is Rusty Williams, who's hoping friends and fans of his now-deceased mom, the former city councilor Jeanette Williams, will flock his way. Some might, but another legacy candidate, Jordan Royer, son of Charlie Royer, has bigger name recognition.
Another two candidates, David Miller and Richard Rosencrantz, have both laid claim to endorsements from members of the political establishment, including Bob Ferguson and Peter Steinbrueck. "At the time folks are asking for endorsements it's before it's settled out," Ferguson says, adding that he's asked them to consider switching to different races. "I hope they don't run against each other, I've mentioned that to them."
Then there's the fifth candidate, Mike O'Brien, chair of the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter. He's the one who orchestrated the opposition to the roads and transit package in 2007, then helped get a new one with less roads and more trains passed the following year. He'd presumably siphon off voters who make the environment their top priority from all the candidates.
And don't forget Robert Sondheim. He hasn't officially declared which seat he'll seek, but says McIver's is the most likely. Sondheim owns the Rosebud and is a long shot, but he'll win some Capitol Hill ballots, which could have a spoiler effect on one of the other candidates.
All this means that Forch is going to have a tough time distinguishing himself. Demographically he's got one huge advantage--he's black and lives in the Central District, which gives him a different base to start with. It's worth noting Rosencrantz also has roots in the CD so even there, Forch will have to fight for votes. He's also an unknown quantity politically--in his 53 years, there's no record of him ever even donating to a race.
Of course, there's still an entire month for city council hopefuls to jump in the race. And just because you've declared your intention to run for a seat doesn't mean you can't switch, so the field is far from set.