Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Social Conservatives and Republicans: Mike Lonergan and Shawn Bunney

In the heavily contested Pierce County Executive race, many observers are giving Pierce Councilmember Shawn Bunney a good shot at winning the County Executive race, but he will probably need second choices from social conservatives to obtain a majority.

Earlier this year, Bunney voted with the three Democrats on the County Council to give health benefits to the domestic partners of county employees. Some social conservatives were upset by Bunney's vote.

Originally, Mike Lonergan was talking about running for County Executive as an independent. When Bunney voted for the domestic partner benefits, some social conservatives encouraged Lonergan to try to run as a Republican. Lonergan went to the Pierce County Republican convention and attempted to get approval to run as a Republican. Lonergan fell one vote short of obtaining that right.

Lonergan decided to continue his campaign by starting his own party, the Executive Excellence party, as a way of emphasizing his strengths in the race. Lonergan is still in the race.

Social conservatives are now deciding whether or not to list Lonergan as their first choice. Many of them are likely to do so. The big question is "Will they list Bunney as their second choice?" If they do this, they may well help elect Bunney while registering their dissatisfaction with Bunney's position on domestic partners.

If Bunney succeeds in winning a majority in this year of Obama, it will be a real political feat. To win the majority, he will need the second choices of the voters who select Lonergan as their first choice.



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