A potential Democrat-on-Democrat throwdown over natural gas
Plus more campaign finance news and some interesting tidbits from Inslee's calendar
We’re entering Filing Week, when candidates around Washington formally announce their intention to run for office. It’s a sort-of official beginning to the campaign year, which really began months ago because candidates have to register with the Public Disclosure Commission to raise that most essential of campaign commodities — money.
To mark the occasion, we’re going to take a look at a state House race that could turn into a no-holds-barred throwdown between two rival factions of both the Democratic Party and organized labor, traditionally its most reliable source of money and manpower.
This story has its roots in the intramural showdown among Olympia’s Democrats over natural gas, which we’ve written about extensively.
Here’s the short version: The climate-change left wants to phase out gas in power generation, heating, and most other uses, citing the combined carbon footprint of methane leaks from the gas system and the emissions caused by burning all that gas. This idea has increasingly been embraced by the Democratic Party. For example, the 2020 Washington State Democratic Party platform calls for phasing out new gas connections.
The opposition to that idea includes not just oil and gas companies, but major players in the construction industry and, most importantly for this story, the blue-collar labor unions that represent workers who build and maintain the gas infrastructure, from big underground pipelines to the narrow copper tubes that feed the gas stoves beloved by cooks both professional and amateur. For a good encapsulation of their argument, check out this op-ed from earlier this year.
Thus far, those unions’ sway with majority Democrats, combined with the bipartisan clout of the gas utilities, has mostly stymied the anti-gas agenda in the Legislature. However, the green faction recently won a substantial victory in the obscure arena of the Washington State Building Codes Council.
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