The King County Democrats began the 2015-2016 election cycle yesterday with an exciting, well-attended reorganization meeting at the IAM Hall in Seattle’s South Park, at which more than two hundred Democratic precinct committee officers gathered to choose the party’s leadership for the next two years.
By a final vote of one hundred and five to eighty-nine, Mercer Island Democratic activist Rich Erwin was elected as the new chair. The runner up candidate, Omaha Sternberg, was subsequently elected by acclamation as First Vice Chair. Outgoing King County Chair Karl de Jong was not a candidate, having announced in October he would not seek another term.
The power went out in the midst of the voting for chair, causing the overhead lights and microphones to quit working, but the meeting went on and all business was successfully concluded. The power came back on just as Erwin was taking over the meeting as the newly-elected chair.
Erwin, fifty-three, has been active in Democratic politics for over a decade. He supported Howard Dean’s campaign for the presidency in 2003 and joined Democracy for America when it was formed the following year. He helped organize a portion of the media campaign against I-1240 (charter schools) in 2012, and has served in the party primarily as a vice chair of the 41st District Democrats.
“I am deeply honored to be elected to this position,” said Erwin. “I look forward to working with my fellow Democrats to win more victories in November and advance the ideals of the Democratic Party as we work toward improving the lives of the citizens of King County.”
Nine positions were filled at the reorganization meeting, which is required to be held at the beginning of every election cycle by state law and party rules. Only precinct committee officers elected at the August 2014 Top Two election and taking office on December 1st, 2014 were eligible to vote.
Five of the individuals elected are returning as officers for new two-year terms; four are joining the leadership. The following is a complete list of the King County Democrats’ new officers (parentheses indicate the area of the county each individual is from):
Chair: Rich Erwin (Eastside)
First Vice Chair: Omaha Sternberg (South County)
Second Vice Chair: Joel Ware (Seattle)
Third Vice Chair: Christina Lewis (Seattle)
Fourth Vice Chair: Julius Caesar Robinson (South County)
State Committeeman: Javier Valdez (Seattle)
State Committeewoman: Ann Martin (Seattle)
Treasurer: Dave Fish (Eastside)
Secretary: Roger Crew (Eastside)
About the King County Democrats
The King County Democratic Central Committee is the face and voice of the Democratic Party in King County, working to elect Democratic candidates to office at every level of government and advocating for public policies rooted in Democratic values.