A former state lawmaker announced this week he would seek to return to the House, touting an endorsement from state Sen. Pam Roach.
Phil Fortunato, an Auburn environmental consultant, is challenging Rep. Chris Hurst for the second election cycle in a row.
Hurst, a former police detective from Enumclaw, has run as an “independent Democrat” to distance himself from his party in the right-leaning 31st District of southeast King and east Pierce counties. In 2014 Fortunato mirrored that strategy with an “independent Republican” party preference, and he says he’ll run under that label again if Hurst runs as an independent Democrat.
This time it’s a more crowded race, including Republican Pablo Monroy. And it could swing the balance of power in the House, which Democrats control by just a 50-48 margin.
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Fortunato served one term in the House in 1999 and 2000.
His announcement quotes Roach, R-Sumner, saying Fortunato is “very hard working. He reflects the values of the people in the 31st District and will stand up for open and responsible government. He will fight onerous tax increases and work to ensure that working families can make ends meet.”
Fortunato criticized Democrats for not supporting an amendment to the state constitution requiring the Legislature to muster supermajority votes before raising taxes.