Brough Jumps To Democrats
State Rep. Jean Marie Brough of Federal Way, a longtime Republican, will run as a Democrat for the Senate seat in the 30th Legislative District.
The seat is held by Ray Schow, R-Federal Way, a businessman who was appointed to the post by the Republican Party last year after Peter von Reichbauer was elected to the Metropolitan King County Council.
At the time, Brough was considered a leading prospect for the Senate seat.
Although her switch comes only months after that apparent snubbing, Brough, a former math teacher, maintains the move is not sour grapes.
"My not being appointed is an indication of where the party is," she said. "It wasn't a pleasant day for me, but I have had the party take hits at me before and survived it."
Schow called her move political maneuvering.
"I have to see it as a self-serving issue. She wants to further her political career. Philosophies don't count. Elections do, and that really disappoints me," Schow said.
"I feel kind of betrayed. I have always supported Jean Marie and been one of her bigger supporters financially in past campaigns," he said.
If Brough thought she was unfairly passed up for the Senate seat, Schow said, she could have run for the position in the primary Sept. 13 and let the voters decide.
Although Brough officially switched parties today, the move has no practical effect on the House of Representatives because the Legislature no longer is in session.
Brough and the GOP have long squabbled over her support of abortion and her position on civil-rights protections for homosexuals.
She said those issues did not force the switch.
"We maintained an uneasy truce," she said, though she added that she thinks the Republican Party leadership has "moved to the right" and that the party is "not interested in divergent viewpoints."
It was education reform that ultimately pushed Brough to change parties, she said. The GOP's "rejection of efforts to reform the public-education system was almost incomprehensible to me. At a personal level, that is the issue that shoved me over the edge," she said.
Education reform will require, in part, that students meet certain criteria before advancing to higher grade levels. Some critics claim the plan costs too much and could result in loss of parental control if local schools assume more of a role in teaching values. The legislation, passed last year, is in various stages of implementation.
A Brough victory would not tilt the balance of power in the Senate, according to Majority Leader Marcus Gaspard, D-Puyallup. The Senate is composed of 28 Democrats and 21 Republicans.
Schow disagrees with Gaspard's assessment, saying there are several swing districts up for election this fall, which could change the mix of the Senate. "Every seat is critical to both Democrats and Republicans," he said.
Before Brough could face her Republican opponent, she must face a primary campaign in September, how
Mark Miloscia, who ran against Brough for her House seat in 1992, is campaigning as a Democrat for the 30th District Senate position. Miloscia, industrial-services director for Tacoma Goodwill Industries, and Brough will likely clash on several issues, including abortion.
Miloscia said he is opposed to abortion, except when the life of the mother is in danger.
Brough said she doesn't know how voters will perceive the party switch. The people in the district have always been very independent and that will not change, she said.
Brough is not the only politician to switch parties. Von Reichbauer originally was elected to the Senate as a Democrat but made a switch to the GOP in 1981.
Brough's Senate campaign will focus on crime and education reform.
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