The biggest elephant in the room in this upcoming election?
You know who it is, right?
County Commissioner David Madore.
I was thinking about my buddy Madore this week when our editorial board had Craig Pridemore and Jeanne Stewart in for a talk. They’re running against each other for a chance to sit beside Republicans Madore (and Tom Mielke) on the board.
Stewart — the Republican in the race — lost her bid to be re-elected as a Vancouver city councilor last year. During those council elections, Madore kept his head down and almost vanished from the political scene.
He knew he was toxic. He had done so much stupid stuff in his first year as a commissioner that any association with him meant defeat.
Still, he was tied to Stewart, and her longtime city council incumbency was finished.
But old warhorses like Stewart don’t fade away. They run again.
So here she is. And once again, Madore will be a player.
But this is a new year. A new office. And — for reasons I’m not quite sure of — a new philosophy from Madore.
This guy — who was so far down the rabbit hole you couldn’t see what he and Mielke were doing — is now flexing his political muscle. For example, he and his wife have given the maximum amount to Stewart’s campaign. And he’s publicly speaking in support of her.
Madore obviously believes he now is an asset to those whom he blesses with his support. But does Stewart think that? What the heck, why not ask her?
Me: Do you welcome Madore’s support? Do you think his support is a benefit or a hindrance to your campaign?
Stewart: I haven’t really thought about it.
Me: You’re a relatively shrewd politician – that’s a compliment, by the way – surely you have thought as to whether or not someone like Commissioner David Madore would be a benefit or a hindrance to your campaign. When you say you haven’t really thought about it, that’s really difficult for me to believe.
Stewart: Honestly, I haven’t thought about that. I don’t believe anything is expected of me by David Madore.
Me: That’s different than whether or not someone is going to associate you with Madore and whether or not they may decide to vote for you or against you based on that association. That’s different than you being beholden to him.
Stewart: The decision to file as a Republican at a time where the party has kind of been disparaged and beat up — whether or not that’s just — took a long period of thinking before I decided to file as a Republican.
I’m not sure what to make of her answer. I simply can’t buy that she hasn’t thought about what impact Madore’s support would have on her campaign. If you believe that, you’d have to believe she’s naive. The only other option is she’s being disingenuous.
o o o
I should say that I believe Stewart is a good person. During the editorial board interview, I felt she had improved immensely not only in her delivery of her message but the message itself.
I should say Pridemore also is a good person. He’s a thoughtful, insightful guy. And like Stewart, he’s an old warhorse in the political arena who — despite getting whooped in a recent statewide election — is back for more.
If I had my way, folks like Stewart and Pridemore would simply step aside. Let new blood give it a try. I’m not a fan of career politicians. Both would tell you the only reason they keep running is because they love to serve the public. I would tell you if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Yacolt to sell you.
Some of it, of course, is public service. But once elected, you can’t beat the power, the money and — yeah — the pension.
Still, today we are faced with having Stewart and Pridemore.
Will Madore’s support of Stewart push Pridemore over the top? Stay tuned.
Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor.