"They told me, 'Pam, you're rubbing the fur the wrong way.' My response is, 'Well, then turn the cat around.'" That's from state Sen. Pam Roach's latest TV ad and you have to agree she's capitalizing on her strength, irritability. In her ongoing re-election campaign, she continues to add to her legend of orneriness, thanks in part to a 31st District Senate opponent who provides great fodder.
The caucus has censured her twice, this year ejecting her altogether. She was also reprimanded in 2003 and urged to seek counseling after she brandished a handgun at a staffer.
But a judge sided with Roach, ruling Richardson made three errors, including the claim the sanctions were permanent. He had to change his statement. Game, Roach.
Richardson seems to have worked at making himself Roach's foil. The state Auditor's Office is probing a claim - made by a former Roach aide - that the Sumner city council member used city e-mail for personal business. Chris Clifford said the e-mails "set up liaisons at the Seattle Westin Hotel... Setting up an extramarital liaison with a woman does not constitute City business." Richardson denies both the e-mail misuse and the affair.
His courtroom history plagues him as well. Early on, news leaked out of his guilty plea to a 1993 misdemeanor sex crime stemming from allegations first made when he was a teenager. Now a 9th grade teacher, Richardson said he was falsely accused.
That was followed by a more recent report that he was placed on administrative leave and reprimanded in 2006 after students in his Federal Way middle school class accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Yesterday, Roach gloated on her blog over a recent traffic violation by Richardson. Noting she'd just landed the Republican endorsement for the general election (she and Richardson are both GOPers), she wrote:
My Republican opponent in the general election has a prize too! The City of Puyallyp judge awarded him with a reckless driving, 1 year suspended sentence. Richardson was going 42 miles over the speed limit though town on August 1st. There was something to do with "road rage" too. I suppose he will try to blame this on me too.
Richardson rebuffs some of these claims on his campaign web site. But he is shadowed by an anti-campaign web site which he says is linked to Roach. It posted some of the school documents that cloud his past, and on its home page says "Welcome To Elect Matt Richardson," followed by "Urge Matt to Resign!"
Last week, he and his attorney issued a cease-and-desist letter to the website operators. "The things on the website are illegally obtained documents, altered documents, falsified documents, and out-of-context documents," Richardson said.
The site reacted over the weekend by adding more documents, and the statement: "Our Response, Sue Us Please!"
Roach hasn't blogged about the Federal Way incident or the anti-Matt web site. So far. Having out-scored Richardson 2-1 in primary votes, the usual outbursts may not be called for.