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March 13, 2012 at 2:20 PM

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Port commissioners eyeing other seats

Port of Seattle Commissioner Gael Tarleton announced Monday she's running for state legislature, for a rare open House seat in North Seattle's 36th District. Port Commissioner Rob Holland is running for an open state House seat, in the 11th district, representing South Seattle, Tukwila and Renton. Both are Democrats.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Bill Bryant, rumored to be a possible Republican candidate for U.S. Senate this year, said he is not running.

So what happens if both Holland and Tarleton win?

First, there's no prohibition on holding two offices, such as state representative and port commissioner, according to the Secretary of State's office. For example, Tim Sheldon is both a Mason County commissioner and a state senator.

What you can't do, however, is appear twice on the same ballot. That doesn't seem to be a problem in this case as the state legislative races occur this year and the next Port elections are in 2013.

Tarleton told us she wouldn't serve as both port commissioner and state representative. If elected to the House, Tarleton said, she'd step down at the Port -- where she started a second four-year term in January -- when she was sworn in as a state representative.

So what then?

Under state law, the remaining members of the five-member commission would appoint an interim replacement who would serve until a November 2013 election determines who would serve the rest of Tarleton's term.

If Holland is elected to the Legislature, he said he would serve the remainder of his Port term through 2013. That means Holland would join the other three commissioners -- Tom Albro, Bill Bryant and John Creighton -- in appointing an interim commissioner to take Tarleton's place next year.

But what if Creighton, a Democrat, also is elected to the State House?

Creighton says his current plan is to seek re-election to the Port Commission next year. But he noted that state Rep. Deb Eddy (D-Kirkland) is resigning at the end of this year. And Creighton lives in her district. And he said he's "thought about" running for her seat. And he noted that the state Legislature is a "perfect fit" for Port commissioners because of their work on economic development and transportation. But again, his current plan doesn't envision running for Eddy's seat.

Bryant considered challenging U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, but said Monday he's decided against it. "I have no plans [to run for another office] at this time. But it appears to be a pretty dynamic environment out there," Bryant said, laughing at the what-if scenarios involving Port commissioners.

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They've displayed such honesty and skill in running the Port, why not try to get their... MORE
Port commissioners eyeing other seats So what does that tell ya. MORE
What open seat in the 11th? According to the Stranger, Zach Hudgins is running for... MORE

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