Can Foreman Straddle The Great Divide?
Rep. Dale Foreman popped out of the box this week and added himself to the governor sweeps.
Not that running for governor is a particularly original idea these days: There are about a half-dozen GOP candidates already and the election is still a year away.
Foreman, R-Wenatchee, the House majority leader, is a Harvard-educated lawyer, orchardist, and a relative newcomer to politics. He has just one House term under his belt.
He’s unknown to most voters. So Brett Bader of the Bellevue-based Madison group, a conservative political think tank, has been drafted by the campaign to help craft Foreman’s public image.
Bader’s buzz will be that Foreman can “straddle the Cascade curtain.”
What that means in practical terms is that Foreman appeals to East Side voters with his orchardist and Eastern Washington ties while raising money from his Olympia power base.
After all, the honorary co-chair of his committee is House Speaker Clyde Ballard, R-Wenatchee.
Makes a nice one-two punch for any lobbyist or interest group with a checkbook and dealings before the House of Representatives for the next year or so.
Foreman is a buttoned-down type, who speaks in measured tones as though for listeners whose first language is not English. He keeps his salt and pepper mustache as closely cropped as his sentences.
In addition to his law practice and orchard business, Foreman has written a book called “Crucify Him,” an exhaustive analysis from a lawyer’s perspective of the trial of Jesus.
Foreman is opposed to abortion rights. But he was instrumental in talking House conservatives out of miring the 1995 budget debate in a fight over abortion funding.
He can raise a ruckus, though.
Foreman helped embarrass the Legislature into making more of its meetings public by complaining about being shut out of conference committees.
Meanwhile, Dan McDonald, R-Bellevue, the Senate Minority leader, hasn’t decided if he’ll enter the governor’s race. He could have a tough time attracting support given his lackluster gubernatorial campaign in 1992.
Attorney James Waldo of Vashon Island has raised the most money of the GOP candidates so far, with more than $94,000, state records show.
But Waldo has never held public office, and is virtually unknown east of the mountains.
King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng has raised $69,026, almost entirely from small contributors ranging from travel agents to police officers and homemakers.
While his support in King County is strong, Maleng has lost two statewide races, which could scare off supporters.
Ellen Craswell of Poulsbo, a snowyhaired former state senator and staunch religious conservative, may prove too conservative for all but the most ideologically-motivated voters.
Others insist Craswell should not be counted out: She entered the race first, has raised $65,817 in contributions as small as $5 each and enjoys support from around the state.
Nona Brazier, former chairwoman of the King County GOP, is often mentioned as a gubernatorial candidate but has yet to raise any money or put together an organization.
Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, has raised only $24,330 so far.
Good old boys
Sherry Bockwinkel, the Tacoma initiative maven, has learned something fishing widows could have told her: for many, fishing is a sacred rite.
Bockwinkel signed on as campaign manager for Initiative 640, a measure that would ban fishing with gillnets or troll gear.
But she quit in the middle of the campaign this month. The reason: irreconcilable conflicts with her male clients, primarily sports fishermen.
When her board of directors chose an all-male lineup of endorsers for the voter’s pamphlet, Bockwinkel bailed.
“Did you know that many men don’t even think it’s good luck to have women on a boat?” Bockwinkel said, aghast. “I mean it’s a good old boy culture.”
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West Side Stories runs every other week.