Dwight Pelz will retain his leadership of the state Democratic Party for the next two years, following a vote Saturday by party members in Olympia.
Pelz, a former state senator and King County Council member, was elected to the post of party chairman in 2006, in the second year of an unfilled term. He was re-elected in 2007, 2009 and again Saturday.
Pelz defeated Natalie McClendon, head of the Whatcom County Democrats, by a vote of 145-14.
On Saturday, Pelz was ready to look ahead.
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“We are getting ready for 2012,” he said. That’s when Democrats will be campaigning for president, governor and U.S. senator. Pelz said speculation is that Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire will not run for re-election.
Pelz will also try to steer a Democrat toward victory in the state’s new 10th congressional district. The state was awarded a new seat in Congress after the 2010 census showed its population had grown by 14 percent in the past decade.
No one knows where the district lines will be drawn. A bipartisan commission must submit boundaries by the end of this year.
Democrats also chose Valerie Brady Rongey of Spokane as vice chairwoman, Rob Dolin of Seattle as secretary and Habib Habib of Edmonds as treasurer.
The results of Saturday’s vote may have been predictable. But state Republicans last weekend offered up a surprise with the election of former KVI radio talk show host Kirby Wilbur.
He beat former party chairman Luke Esser by a vote of 69-36. Esser had led the party since 2007.
Wilbur most recently served as director of Americans for Prosperity Washington, a state chapter of a national group founded by Karl Rove, an aide to President George W. Bush.