Two years ago he ran for mayor of Sumner and lost. One year ago he ran for the state senate--in a mud-slinging blowout with Pam Roach--and lost. Now this will be remembered as the year Matt Richardson lost his Sumner council seat, if not his political career altogether. The pol who was portrayed by his fellow Republican Roach as some kind of child molester has missed the last three Sumner city council meetings, prompting fellow council members on Monday to vacate his council seat and oust him from public office.
Richardson had notified Sumner officials in late February he intended to take a six-month leave of absence, which he said was due to "personal and unavoidable circumstances." He preferred the matter not publicly be discussed, he wrote, since "there are people out there who have no regard for me or my family's well-being." He couldn't be reached for further comment.
According to state law, a council member who misses three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings has to vacate the office. Richardson, 44, a councilman seven years, has not asked to be excused from the missed meetings.
If he's fed up with politics, it's understandable. Voters in the 31st District had to hold their noses and vote last fall for Roach or Richardson in what was called America's slimiest state political contest. The volatile Roach sued Richardson for defamation, blogged about his reckless driving, and linked her blog to a video in which a man accuses Richardson of having had sex with the man's wife.
She also issued a re-election mailer showing a man lurking near little girls at a playground, with the caption: "He pled guilty to sexually molesting a young girl...now he's running for State Senate." Though he did plead guilty in 1993 to a misdemeanor sex crime, it was committed in 1982 when he was a teenager (Richardson and his cousin were "playing doctor," he said).
Roach won re-election by a 2-1 margin--a slimeslide.