Approval is still needed from the King County Council, but Bellevue attorney Randy Gordon is in pole position to replace 41st District State Sen. Fred Jarrett, who stepped down in December.
In an unusual appointment process, local Democratic party officials placed Gordon first on a preferred list of interim candidates at a Jan. 5 party meeting in Renton.
Precinct officials were balloted to select and rank the list after five candidates emerged. With 76 percent of the district represented, Gordon was ranked first, followed by Democratic party activist and Renton resident Aaron Belenky and Greater Seattle Business Association vice-president George Pieper of Bellevue ranked third.
Recognizing the 41st District’s competitive political landscape, Gordon immediately called upon party members to begin fundraising and campaigning for holding the seat in this year’s upcoming election.
“We’re going to get in great shape, doorbell and get to know all of our constituents,” he said.
The 41st District includes south and central Bellevue, Mercer Island, Newcastle and parts of Renton and west Issaquah.
State Sen. Eric Oemig (D-Kirkland) also spoke on Gordon’s behalf before the vote, promising a war chest of over $100,000 was ready to be invested in defending the seat.
“This really comes down to two things that matter: Electability and values,” he said. “He’s very persuasive and that’s what you want in a good senator.”
The ranked list of three candidates to replace him will be presented to the county council on Monday, Jan. 11 and Gordon is expected to be sworn in the same day.
Two other contestants for the seat included Mercer Island resident Michael Rosen and three-time congressional candidate Heidi Behrens-Benedict.
The process to replace Jarrett began in November when the democrat announced he was leaving Olympia early for the position of King County Deputy County Executive.
The senate seat will ultimately be up for re-election for the remainder of the four-year term this November.
Living in Bellevue for nearly 30 years, Gordon is a principal attorney at the Gordon Edmunds Elder law firm and has served as an adjunct law professor at Seattle University since 1999. He’s also been active in community organizations, including a program leadership role with the YMCA and as an advisor to a local Boy Scouts post.
Gordon isn’t new to politics and most recently ran for the 8th U.S. District in the 2006 election before bowing out of a democratic primary race with Darcy Burner.
Jarrett served four terms in the state House of Representatives as a Republican representing the Eastside’s 41st Legislative District, but switched to the Democratic Party before he was elected to the Senate seat in 2008.