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Sen. Billig on candidacy for Senate Democratic Leader

Two candidates have separated in the race for Senate Democratic Leader:  Sen. Andy Billig and Sen. Jamie Pedersen.

The final election will be held once the full caucus is known, following this November election.  However. the race is likely to quickly coalesce around a likely candidate as the caucus members sort through their preferences.

I corresponded with Sen. Andy Billig today about his candidacy for the Senate Democratic Leader.  The position is open as a result of Sen. Sharon Nelson’s announced retirement from the Senate.

He was gracious in complimenting all of the candidates in the race, a recognition that the caucus will continue to work together as a team regardless of who wins the race.

“I appreciate the encouragement I have received from my colleagues regarding running for leader of the Senate Democrats. The position of leader is selected by the caucus and we are a long way from that vote. All of the people who have expressed interest in the position so far are qualified, and I believe the SDC, the Senate and our state will be in good hands with any of them in the position of leader.”

I asked him about the dynamics of the role of the leader during a campaign cycle, and whether the transition there posed some level of instability for the caucus.  Sen. Nelson has been a prolific fundraiser, far exceeding the work of her predecessor, Sen. Ed Murray.  Sen. Billig cautioned to separate the two positions, that of Leader and that of campaign chair.

“The role of leader and that of chair of the campaign committee are not one in the same and have often been handled by different people. Obviously the leader is involved and Senator Nelson will remain the leader of the caucus until November.”