Habib to seek Senate seat; McBride switches campaign to House

By Matt Phelps

Reporter Newspapers

The decision by state Sen. Rodney Tom not to seek re-election already has shaken up the political world. Former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, who had targeted Tom in this year's Senate race in the 48th District, has switched her focus to the House seat now held by fellow Democrat Cyrus Habib. At the same time, Habib says he will run for the Senate.

Tom stepped away from the race to care for his father, who was seriously injured when struck by a car.

Habib, a Bellevue resident, initially endorsed McBride for the Senate position.

“I originally ran for two reasons: to defeat Rodney Tom and bring my perspective and experience as a longtime Eastside Civic leader to Olympia and continue my record of service,” McBride said in a news release, who served four terms on the Kirkland City Council and two terms as mayor. “With Tom out, my priority is to do what’s needed to make a difference on issues that matter – fixing transportation and transit, investing in our schools and families, and protecting our environment. I think I can make the most immediate impact as part of a dynamic team in the state House.”

McBride has raised more than $70,000.

Habib views his Senate run as an opportunity to bring common sense and a focus on Eastside priorities to a chamber mired in gridlock and dissent.

“I am proud to represent a district that leads the country in innovation and invention,” Habib said. “It is critical that we make the needed investments in human and physical capital to secure our continued prosperity and competitiveness. Unfortunately, the Republican leaders in the state Senate have punted on the most pressing issues of the day: education funding, transportation investments, and job growth. I am running to bring both my legislative experience and our district’s socially progressive yet pro economic growth values to the state Senate, where I know I can make an even greater difference.”

McBride said it’s always been about serving the people the best way she knows how, not the particular office. If elected for the House position, she will join Eastside colleagues Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48) and Rep. Larry Springer (D-45), himself a one-time Kirkland Mayor.

McBride also has won support from Springer, County Executive Dow Constantine, Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci, Redmond Mayor John Marchione, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen.

“I know I speak for many when I say that I am thrilled Joan is going to campaign for the House, and we will see her in action next year in Olympia – where we desperately need her passion and commitment to our families and communities,” said Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci.

“I’m excited for Joan to join our caucus and efforts to complete 520, fund our schools and protect the character and quality of our Eastside communities,” said Springer in a news release. “She is a strong, principled voice for our region and will make an immediate, positive impact in the House.”

In 2012, Habib defeated Redmond City Councilmember Hank Myers. a Republican, for the House seat, garnering over 61 percent of the vote in the general election.

In addition to his position on the powerful Rules Committee, Habib serves as vice chair of the Committee on Technology and Economic Development, as well as on the Business and Financial Services and Transportation committees.

He authored and prime sponsored the Washington Jobs Act of 2014, the state’s first investor crowdfunding law. That bill, which allows Washington small businesses to raise money from a wide array of local investors, was the top legislative priority of the state’s entrepreneurial and technology communities.

McBride will formally kick off her campaign May 8.

“I want to thank so many neighbors, friends and supporters around the region for their help so far,” McBride said. “But while we accomplished our first goal faster than anticipated, we have a long way to go to the finish line in November. I look forward to meeting voters throughout the district and continuing to build on our incredible momentum as we move forward.”

A proven fundraiser and grass roots campaigner, Habib also will quickly begin campaigning for the Senate.

“I enjoy meeting voters in their neighborhoods, listening to their concerns and ideas, and translating those ideas into action,” Habib said. “I appreciate the opportunity to join — and improve the effectiveness — of the State Senate, and look forward to the campaign ahead.”


Matt Phelps is regional editor of the Kirkland Reporter and Bothell Reporter, both sister papers to the Bellevue Reporter. He can be reached at or 425-822-9166 ext 5050.

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