Former state Senate majority leader Ted Bottiger died Thursday morning at the age of 81. Word went out at the Legislature later in the day, announcing that the former Pierce County politician had passed away. Details on arrangements were not immediately available.
Bottiger, a south Tacoma native and Democrat, served the 2nd Legislative District in the Senate from 1973 until 1987. He also served four House terms during 1965-72 in the 28th and 29th districts and left the Legislature after winning appointment to the Northwest Power Council.
He was first elected majority leader in 1981 but that lasted only a couple of weeks – when Sen. Peter von Reichbauer switched to the Republican Party and shifted the majority to the GOP during a deep recession.
Voters gave the Senate back to Democrats in the 1982 election and Bottiger became leader again in 1983. During his status as minority leader in the Senate, he was quoted by reporters as saying: “The role of the queen’s loyal opposition must be exactly that … We shouldn’t sink the ship.’’
In a 1986 profile of the senator, Peter Callaghan wrote that Bottiger provided votes for the Republicans’ budget in 1981 over objections of some fellow Democrats.
Bottiger is survived by his wife, Darlene, of the family home in the Graham-Puyallup area, and two daughters.
UPDATE: The fuller news obituary story from Jordan Schrader of The News Tribune is here.