From Paul Berendt and Jeff Smith

January 12, 2017
Dear Washington State Democrats:
We were deeply disappointed this morning to read a note from Dwight Pelz, a former Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, regarding the current contested race for that post. In it, Dwight launched repeated personal attacks on Chair candidate Tina Podlodowski, which we find offensive in tone and untrue in content. This has no place in our party.
As Democrats decide who is best to lead our State Party into the future, we must focus on who can help us win elections, advance an agenda that reflects our values, and best serves the needs of people of Washington.
We know both chair candidates very well, and have for many years. We know the content of their character, and the quality of their work. In considering the candidates, and what is best for the future of our party, we are 100% behind Tina Podlodowski’s bid to serve as our next party chair. Tina has the energy, vision, experience, and leadership qualities needed to be a tremendous Party Chair for our state. We saw it when she was a Seattle City Councilmember, we saw in it the over 50 political campaigns she has been a critical part of, we saw it in the strong race she ran for Secretary of State. And we have watched it again in this race for State Chair.
Unlike her opponent in this race, Tina has actually crafted a platform and a plan to win back the state for Democrats with her Vice Chair running mate Joe Pakootas, and we urge everyone to read it at Tina has also begun an important dialogue our party must take seriously: how do we respect the long-term volunteers and new activists who make our party run, while also finding new ways to communicate and connect our values to the lives of people around our state so we can bring fresh ideas into the process, fight for change, and win elections.
One thing to remember – making career decisions that are best not only for the organizations you lead, but that also take into account your health and the needs of two young children should be celebrated, not used as an attack. Those are seemingly always leveled at female candidates in particular, who face tough personal and professional choices. It’s simply not ok to do this, and we would encourage Dwight to remember that he resigned from serving as Party Chair during his tenure long before completing his term. Let’s leave the personal attacks to the GOP.
Democrats succeed when we work together—rather then expending energy attacking one another. This note from Dwight is no more than a ‘Hail Mary pass’ designed to distract from the important work of constructive discussions about the future of our party, and our ability to win elections in the State of Washington.
These conversations have been inspiring, and it’s clear Tina has built strong momentum in this race around the state. She deserves credit, support and respect for pushing these conversations forward. We know she’ll be a tremendous Party Chair and urge everyone to support her.

Paul Berendt
Former Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, 1995 – 2006

Jeff Smith
Former Executive Director of the Washington State Democratic Party, 1981-1993