Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom already faces competition for re-election from his east-of-Lake Washington 48th District. But the man elected as a Democrat who leads a mostly Republican majority in the Senate is seeing that competition from Democrats.
Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride has already announced and state and district Democrats are hoping she can help them punish Tom for bolting from the Democratic caucus.
While still claiming that he prefers the Democratic party, Tom has hired a senior GOP campaign staffer to run his re-election campaign. Keith Shipper, most-recently the press spokesman for the Washington State Republican Party, will manage the campaign. Last year he managed Jan Angel's successful Senate campaign that bumped the Majority Coalition Caucus from 25 members to 26.
Tom has been elected to the Legislature as both a Republican and a Democrat. In 2002 he won a House seat from the 48th District as a Republican. He then won the Senate seat from the same district in 2006, this time running as a Democrat.
So far no Republican has stepped up to challenge Tom. The two candidates with the most votes in the primary advance to general election regardless of party preference.