Former Sen. Cheryl Pflug criticizes appointment of Dino Rossi as successor, endorses Mark Mullet
July 10, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
UPDATED — 4:40 p.m. July 10, 2012
Cheryl Pflug, former state senator for Issaquah and other Eastside communities, lambasted the appointment of Dino Rossi to fill the seat Pflug vacated late last month.
The sharp statement from Pflug, a Maple Valley Republican, came a day after the King County Council appointed Rossi, a Sammamish Republican, to the seat as a caretaker until after the November election.
Pflug also endorsed Mark Mullet, a Democrat and Issaquah City Council member, in the race for the Senate race. Mullet is running against Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman, for the post. (Rossi is not a candidate for the seat in the upcoming election.)
“I’m a Republican. I believe Rob McKenna will be a great governor because he’s honest, and he’s a brilliant unifier. That’s why I’m also endorsing Mark Mullet,” Pflug said in a statement issued just after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. “His business background, financial expertise, and common sense make him the right person to represent all the residents of the 5th District, not just special interests and party bosses.”
Pflug resigned from the seat last month after Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, appointed Pflug to a $92,500-per-year post on the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board.
“Mark Mullet is a Democrat, but he’s also a small business owner, and Mullet is well-respected as a moderate, honorable member of the Issaquah City Council,” she continued. “I believe that he will continue to prioritize the needs of people over politics, and he’ll represent our legislative district with integrity and commitment to service. That’s important to me, because my family and I live here, too! Also, I know firsthand the importance of electing courageous leaders who are loyal to us.”
Rossi — a GOP candidate for governor in 2004 and 2008, and for U.S. Senate in 2010 — succeeds Pflug. The businessman and Sammamish resident last represented the 5th Legislative District in the state Senate from 1996 until resigning in 2003 to run for governor.
Pflug lambasted the process to appoint Rossi to the seat and state Republicans’ decision to support Toft.
“I’m angry and appalled at the tactics of my former Senate Republican leadership, and I think they and Rossi shame themselves by trying to play godfather,” she said.
Pflug rose from the state House of Representatives to replace Rossi in the state Senate through the same appointment process.
The council also considered Bob Brunjes, 5th District GOP chairman and a Snoqualmie resident, and Kate Kaluzny, a former Issaquah City Council candidate, for the open state Senate seat.
Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur used similarly blunt language to defend the Rossi appointment.
“The process that appointed Dino Rossi to Cheryl Pflug’s old seat was open and honest, the exact same way it was when Cheryl was appointed to her Senate seat in 2003,” he said in a statement. “For her to criticize this transparent appointment process, given how sneaky and deceitful it was for her to make a backroom deal for a cushier position as a bureaucrat, makes her a hypocrite — plain and simple.
“Having Dino in place as a solid Republican will allow the 5th District to finally be represented by someone who reflects their values. Dino is the perfect caretaker for this seat,” Wilbur continued. “He doesn’t intend to run for office and he has extensive experience in the Legislature should they be called into another special session. This was a smart, good, grassroots decision for the 5th District and I fully support it. Cheryl should keep her irrelevant thoughts to herself — no one cares.”