In the past few weeks, three Methow Valley women have announced their candidacies for relatively high-profile elective offices — one returning for another campaign, two new to the fray.
Ann Diamond, who gained impressive recognition as an Independent candidate for House of Representatives Position 1 in the far-flung 12th legislative district two years ago, could be considered the veteran of the group. She could also be looked to as an example of how a political neophyte can take a campaign from zero to full speed and keep it there.
Running against Republican Keith Goehner in a district considered fairly safe for the GOP, Diamond lost the overall vote but won Okanogan County in 2018. Undaunted and road-tested, she’s back for another run, this time against a first-term incumbent who may not yet be firmly entrenched in the position. Diamond is no longer an unknown.
Adding interest to that race, Adrianne Moore — familiar to many not just in the valley but also throughout the county for her long tenure at Room One including fire recovery oversight — has also declared for the Position 1 legislative seat (see story on page A1). She’s running as a Democrat, which gives us one of each on the ballot, so far. The 12th Legislative District represents Chelan and Douglas counties and parts of Grant and Okanogan counties including Winthrop, Twisp, Brewster, Bridgeport, Nespelem, Grand Coulee, Chelan, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Rockland.
Incumbency is a powerful thing. However, Goehner seems not to have made a deep impression in the Methow Valley, based on what people have been telling me. It’s not so much that they don’t like him or are ideologically inclined to dislike him, it’s more that they don’t know him well. By contrast, 12th District Position 2 Rep. Mike Steele and Sen. Brad Hawkins — both Republicans — have established themselves in the valley as willing listeners, attuned to local and regional concerns. In 2018, Methow resident Valerie Sarratt lost to Steele in the Position 2 race, 65% to 35%.
Theoretically, Diamond and Moore could emerge as the top two vote-getters in the August primary and move on to the general election, although I suspect that’s not likely. Moore promises to be an active and forthright candidate who has the political long game in mind with her candidacy. She’s looking beyond 2020 no matter what the outcome of the legislative race.
At the more local level, first-term incumbent Okanogan County Commissioner Andy Hover, a Republican, is being challenged by Katie Haven, a Democrat who has been paying close attention to the commissioners for years through Okanogan County Watch.
Hover, whose father Bud was a longtime county commissioner, is well-known in the valley and has created a favorable impression among many valley residents. He’s attentive, approachable and seems to be intent on finding reasonable positions on challenging issues. Haven is well-versed on county issues, articulates her ideas effectively, and is organized for a smart campaign. But she will have a lot of ground, literally and figuratively, to cover in catching up to Hover’s broader familiarity with the voters. That said, another political newcomer, Methow Valley resident Ashley Thrasher, who was matched against Hover in 2016, polled 47% of the vote countywide in that election.
We shouldn’t be surprised any more that capable and energetic women are coming to the forefront as candidates (and look how many of them are from the Methow). As is the case in these two races and the earlier ones, usually they are running against men. That’s a gender thing to be sure, but I think it’s really an issue thing.
Diamond, Moore and Haven are all driven by what they see as lack of attention to what some would call “women’s issues” or “social issues” in the past. I prefer to think of them as human issues: accessible health care, affordable housing, child care, educational options, job opportunities, support for those in need, global warming implications. They don’t see action on those things consistently happening now, and they don’t see them adequately happening ever unless more women are in decision-making positions.
The pace of campaigning is going to ratchet up pretty quickly in coming weeks. You’ll have an opportunity to meet and get reacquainted with the candidates at campaign events, public forums, through their websites or on your doorstep if they show up there. Ask them good questions, offer serious comments. They all say they want to hear from us. Take them at their word.