The battle for a state Senate seat continued Sunday between incumbent Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, and candidate Kyle Taylor Lucas of Shelton.Earlier this week, he referred to himself as an infidel:
At the 35th Legislative District Democrats quarterly meeting at the North Mason Timberland Library in Belfair, the executive board and about 50 members present voted to approve Lucas. Three members voted against the approval.
"I’m deeply gratified by their support collectively," Lucas said. "They’re so eager for a change in the 35th District."
The committee said they did not approve Sheldon, who has held the seat for nine years, because his questionnaire was not received before a scheduled board meeting. Under the group’s new by-laws, candidates seeking endorsement must return a form to the board for them to consider approval, said district chairwoman Fran Moyer.
According to Sheldon, he did not receive the form until late last week before he left town. At the meeting, Sheldon said he learned the executive board held its meeting to discuss the candidates before he received the form in the mail. The group e-mailed the form to him, according to Moyer, although Sheldon indicated he did not receive it.
"They absolutely dislike my bipartisan approach to politics," Sheldon said after Sunday’s meeting. "I don’t take it personally, it’s politics as is from a very small vocal minority."
Moyer, who is also the co-chairwoman of Lucas’ campaign, said the committee supports Lucas because Sheldon does not represent his Democratic constituents in Olympia.
"When Republicans identify Tim Sheldon as a Republican," she said, "I think that is very telling."
Sheldon was criticized for his support of George W. Bush in 2004, as well as his other votes that have sided with Republicans. Sheldon contends that when he votes, he represents his constituents — Democrat or Republican — first and his party second.
The board is scheduled to make a recommendation to the central committee to approve or not approve Sheldon for office during a scheduled Aug. 6 meeting. Because two candidates are running for the 35th District, the committee’s by-laws states the "executive board shall serve as a screening committee and shall then recommend to the Central Committee approval (when there is more than one candidate) or endorsement or non-endorsement when there is only one candidate."
"Approved" candidates may receive any "non-financial aid, such as walking lists from the 35th Legislative District database."
State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, is sure his own party leadership is out to get him.
"They want to purge the party of infidels like me," said the lawmaker, who is considered a renegade for his voting record.
When 35th District Democrats meet Sunday in Belfair, Sheldon faces the prospect that party members will endorse Kyle Taylor Lucas of Shelton for the Senate seat Sheldon has held for nine years. He previously served seven years in the House. Lucas has never held elected office.
So far, they’re the only candidates of any party to register their intent to run with the Public Disclosure Commission. Candidates officially file for office during the last week in July.
This will be the first time that Sheldon, 59, has ever faced a primary contest in which only voters who identify themselves as Democrats could cast ballots for him. Sheldon has broken party ranks many times, including endorsing George W. Bush for re-election in 2004. If they are the only two candidates to file for the seat, a Lucas victory in the September primary would send Sheldon out of the Legislature.