Politics & Government

Deceased lawmaker Roger Freeman headed toward re-election, so who replaces him?

Federal Way Rep. Roger Freeman maintained his lead Wednesday in a second day of counting election results, but celebration among his supporters was muted.

Freeman died less than a week before Tuesday’s election.

“I’m supposed to have Roger right next to me. It’s a bittersweet moment,” said friend and Federal Way City Councilman Martin Moore.

“It was a wonderful night, and it was a night where the community came together and they said: We still believe in Roger. We believe in his legacy. We believe in his vision.”

If Freeman defeats Republican Jack Dovey to win re-election, a Democrat will be chosen to replace him in the state House.

Names being talked about include Federal Way School Board President Carol Gregory; court-reporting agency owner Roger Flygare; real estate agent Shari Song; firefighter Greg Baruso; and local Democratic Party officer Richard Champion.

Two confirmed they are considering the job: Champion, a chemical engineer by training who has been working on roofing jobs and the SeaTac campaign for a $15 minimum wage; and Gregory, a retired teacher and former Washington Education Association union president.

Song, fresh off her loss Tuesday to Mark Miloscia in an expensive race for state Senate, said she hasn’t given the prospect much thought. Baruso and Flygare couldn’t immediately be reached. Both men lost elections to GOP Rep. Linda Kochmar — Baruso on Tuesday and Flygare in 2012.

Moore said someone whose views align with Freeman’s should be selected: a “pro-life Democrat” who cares deeply about people with disabilities. Moore says he fits that bill, but those same views may make him unacceptable to the Democratic Party. He also ruffled feathers by supporting Miloscia, a former Republican, over Song. He hasn’t made a decision about the seat, he said.

The Democratic Party will choose three nominees, a process that involves voting by local party activists known as precinct-committee officers. The Pierce and King county councils then jointly pick one of the three. The party ranks its choices but both councils have shown willingness in recent years to ignore those rankings.