Phillips Does the Endorsement Dance

(Jan Drago, with Larry Phillips in background.) Like Bonnie Raitt observed, "I can't make you love me."
You may remember all that "hot rhetoric" between Larry Phillips and Ron Sims during last year's budget process, when Phillips was considering a run against the then-executive, culminating in a frigid-at-best hug in county council chambers. But really, what's a little animosity among friends? Or at least friends of friends.

Long-time Sims ally Larry Gossett introduced Phillips at a $35 a plate fundraiser last night at the closest thing Seattle has to a smoky back room, the Four Seas. "This happened months ago," Gossett explains.

Apparently Gossett told Phillips that he wouldn't support him against Sims. But if Sims got called up to D.C., Gosset told Phillips, he'd back him instead. "I didn't even know Dow [Constantine] was considering the executive," he says, adding that he assumed Constantine was more interested in running for Seattle mayor with an eye on the Governor's mansion.

Phillips' fundraiser last night wasn't exactly packed with bodies, but it carried a few other political heavies, including mayoral hopeful Jan Drago, who let out a "woo" when Philliips was announced. Though Drago's love for Phillips is rather unrequited at the moment.

Phillips says he's not going to make an endorsement in the mayoral race. He served with Nickels on the county council for nearly all of the nineties and got past help from Drago for reelection campaigns. "I'm not endorsing in that race; they're both long-time friends," Phillips says.

City council member Bruce Harrell also sponsored last night's soiree. He's the only current council member to be actively backing anyone in the mayoral or executive races. He stood by Drago's side at the Hammering Man when she announced her candidacy against Nickels and now he's squarely putting himself in the Phillips camp. Harrell says he decided to endorse Phillips because "what I hope to see in a King County executive is radical change." Phillips has been on the council since 1991, but Harrell says that at the top, Phillips would be a good manager.

Harrell says he picked Drago because, "she deserves the right to run, and I like seeigng this kind of female gender diversity as well." Drago supported Harrell in his 2007 run for the city council.

Other county and city office-holders have been reticent to come out too strongly in favor of anyone for the top city and county positions. After all, they'll have to work with whoever gets in. But Harrell says he's being careful not to damage his relationships with the other candidates in the races. "It doesn't mean you're disrespecting his or her opponents," he says.

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