Earlier this month, the 34th District Democrats endorsed two of the 11 candidates running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Sharon Nelson, and more recently, the Vashon Progressive Alliance endorsed those same two people: Shannon Braddock and Joe Nguyen.
Melvin Mackey, speaking for the alliance, said the local group believed it was important to endorse the same candidates because they are good, progressive candidates that would serve the island well and because of weaknesses in the August primary’s format.
“What we are fighting here is the top-two primary,” Mackey said.
In a recent letter to the editor and in a conversation last week, Mackey shared his concerns that with so many people running and despite the progressive nature of the district, two Republican candidates could win the primary. Currently, there are seven Democrats, two Republicans, one Independent and one no-party preference candidate in the race. Should the vote be equally split among them, they would all draw about 9 percent. And should the Republican candidates garner just 10 percent, that would put them on the November ballot — in an area that is progressive.
“We do not want to see two Republicans in the general election,” he said.
He added that the risk is “not huge,” but does exist.
There are two ways to prevent that from happening, he said. One is to arrange for two or more Democrats to drop out of the race — which so far has not happened — or get local progressive organizations to endorse the same two or three candidates. If most progressives vote for one of the endorsed candidates, it will ensure that at least one Democrat will be on the ballot in November.
Mackey noted that the Vashon Progressive Alliance sent news of its endorsement to Fuse Washington, the largest progressive organization in the state, whose endorsements influence many people’s votes. He hopes to sway that organization to follow suit.
“It would be a disaster if we have no progressives on the general election ballot,” he said.
On Monday, island candidate Lisa Devereau, who runs Island Funeral Service and entered the race in part to give working class people a voice in the Senate, provided her thoughts about these recent developments, saying it is a competitive race with many people who would bring a wide array of experience and expertise to this office. She noted she would bring transparency, honesty and integrity.
“While it is unfortunate that I will not be endorsed, nor interviewed by the progressive alliance, it does not dampen my spirits or my belief that I am the best choice for Vashon Island and the 34th District,” she said.
She added she has three generations of history behind her, and knows islanders’ needs. She directed people online for more information at Lisaforsenate.com.
Braddock’s website describes her as a children’s advocate, senior member of County Executive Dow Constantine’s administration and longtime resident of the 34th District. At King County, she has worked on coordinating and seeking reforms in the delivery of mental, health, addiction, and homelessness services, including working to pass the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services levy renewal last year and the Best Starts for Kids Initiative.
Joe Nguyen was raised in the White Center and Burien communities and is the son of Vietnamese refugees, according to his website. He is a senior manager at Microsoft and is the chair of the Wellspring Family Services’ Associate Board, which works on issues related to family homelessness. He is also involved with police relations as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight in King County. The group’s work focuses on building bridges between community and law enforcement to achieve equitable policing.
Ballots for the Aug. 7 primary will be mailed on July 18.