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Are Democrats “Outsourcing” Candidates for WA State Legislature?

Democrats accused of  "moving" candidates around in districts for election purposes
Democrats accused of “moving” candidates around in districts for election purposes. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Now that the filing period for the 2014 election season is over,   one watchdog group is discovering it appears state Democrats persuaded candidates to change their addresses so they they could run for office in certain key districts.

While it’s not illegal to move from one legislative district to another,  the way they did it appears to be shady.   These candidates have no ties, history or affiliations to the districts where they relocated so they could run for office.  These are however, important regions who are controlled by Republicans in the State House and Senate!

  According to ShiftWa,   at least three Democratic candidates changed their addresses in an attempt to run in key legislative districts.  They are the 30th, 42nd, and 47th. districts on the West side.

One of them, Seth Fleetwood, a former Whatcom County Commissioner, entered the 42nd., District race to run against powerful GOP Senator Doug Ericksen.   The problem is, he didn’t change his address in time to comply with election rules.   You have to prove permanent residence in the district you’re running for.

According to ShiftWA,   the week Fleetwood announced his campaign, he was still a legally registered voter in his original district.   Another candidate, Chris Barringer,  is going to take on leading GOP Representative Mark Hargrove in the 47th. District.   Barringer is still officially listed as a voter within the Seattle city limits;   the 47th. District is a number of miles away from Seattle, and only includes the cities of Auburn and Covington.

The FEC, or Federal Election Commission, will automatically disqualify a candidate if they’re not a registered voter in the district for which they are running; they will also give you the boot if it’s obvious you’re “carpetbagging” or deliberately moving to run in another district or region strictly for political purposes.

ShiftWa says the Democrats are “outsourcing” these candidates because no qualified candidates were found in those districts.  They also say these “carpetbagging” techniques are not working with voters.   A recent campaign kick-off event held by Barringer attracted a tiny crowd of about 25 people.

ShiftWa is also investigating allegations these candidates (and several others) were asked by Gov. Jay Inslee to “relocate” so they could try to unseat Republican legislators.

We’ve already seen what happens when Inslee doesn’t get his way in the legislature, so what’s to stop him from “persuading” candidates to play fast and loose with election rules so they can try to tip the balance of power in Olympia, especially in the GOP-controlled Senate?

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