Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom says he expects the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus to keep control of the state Senate next year, even though his departure means only one Democrat will remain in the coalition.
Sen. Tom was one of two Democrats, along with Sen. Tim Sheldon, who joined with Republicans to form the coalition in December 2012.
In the months leading up to his decision to leave the Democratic caucus, Tom said he approached then-Senate Majority Leader Ed Murray and suggested that Democrats share some power with Republicans.
“In my conversations I said, ‘Ed if we’re going to make this work, it can’t be a winner take all. Let’s share some of the committees, let’s bring them in…and have a much more cooperative atmosphere,’” Tom said. “There was just no adhesion to that.”
A few months later, Tom and Sheldon stood besides several Republicans and announced the formation of the new coalition. Tom discussed his tenure with the caucus as part of an edition of “Inside Olympia” that will air Thursday, April 24 at 7 & 10 p.m.
Tom dropped his re-election bid earlier this month because of his health and to help take care of his father, who was recently hit by a car. Democratic Rep. Cyrus Habib is running for Tom’s seat. No Republicans have announced candidacy.
Tom said will likely be an “even swap” of seats, with Democrats picking up Tom’s former seat and Republicans winning the seat formerly held by Democratic Sen. Tracey Eide, who is not running for re-election.
Former Democratic state Rep. Mark Miloscia is running as a Republican for Eide’s seat. Democrat Roger Flygare announced this month he is also joining the race.