Former 7th Legislative District Sen. Bob Morton was a fiercely independent leader. He brought his own ideas to the state Senate, even when it meant bucking the system, standing up to Western Washington and defying the Republican Party, of which he was a member.
As ballots arrive in the mail in the coming days, many residents will cast votes to fill Bob’s shoes for the first time since he retired a year ago. Voters will be choosing between John Smith of Colville and Brian Dansel of Republic.
We think Dansel is the candidate who best represents residents of Okanogan and Ferry counties.
Dansel says he got into politics because of development rules which prevented him from building his dream home on the last remaining parcel of the family homestead. He says he got into politics to make a difference, while protecting the rural lifestyle here. We think that’s admirable.
Smith was appointed by state Republican Party leaders to replace Morton. Prior to being appointed, Smith had been active in party politics for several years. And there’s no doubt his insider status benefitted him – and North-Central Washington residents – in the last legislative session when it came to the debate over wolf management.
Although he’s a good candidate, we just can’t get past our concern that Smith is too much of a Republican Party insider. That concern is exacerbated when we look at campaign financing and see much of Smith’s campaign being bankrolled by out-of-area donations.
Dansel’s campaign war chest is being financed primarily by local businesses and residents, which likely means more local accountability.
Smith also talks the talk of a career politician, and that concerns us, too. Dansel, however, vows to be a two-term state senator. Frankly, term limits appeal to us.
We don’t think we can go wrong in Olympia with either Smith or Dansel as our next elected 7th Legislative District senator. Both have similar political views on a number of subjects.
But given just the campaign finance and term limits discussions, we are endorsing Dansel.