Newly elected Senate Democratic majority leader Sen. Ed Murray said today that if two conservative Democrats flip sides and align with the GOP to elect their own majority leader off the Senate floor, it would “poison the atmosphere” for years to come.
“It would throw out a 100 years of how the Senate has functioned,” Murray told “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins.
Democrats hold a tenuous advantage in the state Senate. They will either have a 27-22 or a 26-23 majority, depending on the results of a hand recount in Clark County. Republican Don Benton is winning there by just 78 votes over Democrat Tim Probst.
Two fiscally conservative Democrats, Sen. Rodney Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, joined forces with Republicans over the budget in a surprise coup last session. GOP leaders have suggested the same thing could happen in the upcoming session, giving them a “philosophical majority.”
Murray said that type of majority would be too “unstable” to lead — especially given that Tom is a more socially liberal Democrat who voted in favor of same-sex marriage and is pro-choice.
“We have to function, we have to govern,” Murray said. “If someone isn’t in control, you have chaos.”
The full interview airs tonight, Nov. 29, at 7 & 10 p.m. on TVW. Also a guest on the show: Sen. David Frockt, the co-chair of a new bipartisan education committee charged with finding ways to comply with the state Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund education.