5th District Republicans plan picnic to celebrate, plot future course

July 19, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

The state’s 5th Legislative District includes, of course, Issaquah and neighboring cities such as Sammamish and stretches east into the mountains past North Bend. And, as many probably know, it’s somewhat of a special place for Republicans.

While there are no major races specific to the 5th District this year, Republicans from the area will gather to celebrate their achievements and plot a course for the future during their annual summer picnic from 3-6 p.m. July 23 at Pine Lake Park in Sammamish.

The park is off 228th Avenue Southeast. The event is free and open to the public.

Representing the Klahanie area, Terry LaBrue is an area chairman for the 5th Legislative District Republicans. He said the district is the only one in what he called the “suburban crescent” around the Puget Sound to have all Republican representation at the state level.

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug and state Reps. Jay Rodne and Glenn Anderson all usually have an “R” near their names, as in “Republican.” LaBrue added that Republicans have held those seats since at least the 1990s.

“Representatives Glenn Anderson and Jay Rodne in the statehouse and the honorable Cheryl Pflug in the state senate have represented us well over the years and sustained our values,” 5th Legislative District Republican Chairman Bob Brunjes said.

He said all three state-level representatives are expected to appear at the picnic, presenting an informal legislative session wrap-up and taking questions.

Because of the success record of local Republicans, in addition to area representatives, the annual picnic usually attracts some big political names, LaBrue said. Probably the leading Republican candidate for Washington governor, state Attorney General Rob McKenna, is expected this year. In the past, the picnic featured U.S. congressmen and well-known state figures, such as Dino Rossi.

LaBrue specifically credited Brunjes with Republican successes in the district, saying the area has become a statewide model for grassroots campaign organizing.

“I am very fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of dedicated citizen-volunteers who contribute thousands of hours each year to disseminate voter information to their district neighbors,” Brunjes said.

Area Republicans use a grassroots approach dubbed “Elephant Hunt” to track down potential Republicans and get them to the polls, LaBrue said.

“We have a very effective program,” he added.

In the last round of state-level elections, according to LaBrue, Democrats spent about $100,000 to unseat Anderson. LaBrue said those dollars bought the opposing party an unimpressive 15 percent of the vote in the local primary. Overall, he described the Democratic effort against Anderson as “astonishingly ineffective.”

With no big local races this year, LaBrue said 5th District Republicans would throw their efforts into backing any Republicans running for county-level offices.

“We need to listen to the voters,” Brunjes said.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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