Marcie Maxwell ‘first in line’ for Fred Jarrett’s state Senate seat

Now that Fred Jarrett has accepted the post of deputy King County executive, the big question on everyone’s mind is: Who will replace him in the Washington state Senate?

According to press reports, House Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-41) is first in line. The Eastside politician’s current position and experience makes her the most obvious candidate, according to State Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41).

“I’ve been in close contact with Marcie. She gets to make the first call. It’s mostly out of deference to fact that she’s already in [the Legislature],” Clibborn said, adding that she fully supports this move.

Yet Maxwell said she is not completely certain that she will take on the Senate seat.

“It’s a possibility,” the Renton resident said. “I’m considering it very seriously and spending time speaking with leaders of the House and Senate and other stakeholders.”

If Maxwell decides against moving to the Senate, Bellevue attorney Randy Gordon, Greater Seattle Business Association vice-president George Pieper and Bellevue community activist Vicky Orrico have expressed interest in the democratic seat. And Clibborn said she knows of more people willing to run, including Islander Maureen Judge.

“Others will stand up. All the names so far would be good,” Clibborn said.

Indeed, it may not be in Maxwell’s best interest to move from the House to the Senate. If the local politician does take on Jarrett’s seat, she will have to run in the upcoming 2010 election. According to Clibborn, it would be easier for Maxwell to run for re-election in the House rather than the Senate.

“She won’t have an advantage running every two years,” Clibborn said. “Either way, whatever’s right for her will be the right thing.”

Jarrett is scheduled to give up his seat in the Senate this week. Once he does so, three candidates will be chosen by a vote of democratic precinct committee officers in the 41st District. The nominees will then go to the county council for a final vote.

Island resident Jarrett left the Senate last month after King County executive-elect Dow Constantine invited him to work as his deputy. Jarrett accepted the position as second in power and has since been working with Constantine’s team. He 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.

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