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Originally published February 1, 2014 at 4:46 PM | Page modified February 2, 2014 at 1:33 PM

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Washington state Democrats elect a new chairman

The Washington state Democratic Party elected a new chairman Saturday — longtime top party staffer Jaxon Ravens — and not the person who had Gov. Jay Inslee’s personal endorsement.


Seattle Times political reporter

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The state Democratic Party went with a familiar face Saturday, electing longtime top party staffer Jaxon Ravens as state party chairman.

In picking Ravens, Democrats shrugged off the advice of Gov. Jay Inslee, who last week had endorsed former Planned Parenthood political director Dana Laurent for the position.

Ravens had the advantage of a close relationship with state party activists. He has helped run day-to-day party operations for the past nine years as its executive director. Before that he’d served as executive director of the King County Democrats.

The vote happened at a meeting of the Democratic Party state committee in Vancouver, Wash.

Ravens will serve out the remainder of Dwight Pelz’s term. Pelz, who had chaired the state Democratic Party since 2006, announced in September he would not seek another term.

The election for a full two-year term will occur in January.

Under Pelz, Democrats amassed a strong record of wins over the GOP in recent years. In the 2012 elections, Democrats won every statewide elected office except for secretary of state. Democrats also control six of Washington’s 10 U.S. House seats and have held both U.S. Senate seats for more than a decade.

Ravens grew up in Missoula, Mont., and has bachelor’s degrees in politics and economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, according to a biography posted by the state Democratic Party.

Two other contenders for the party chairmanship were eliminated on a first round of balloting: Jim Kainber, a political consultant and lobbyist who served as state party executive director from 1994 to 2003; and Jay Clough, Democratic activist from West Richland.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @Jim_Brunner



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