Longtime political consultant from Quilcene withdraws from race for state's top Democratic Party post

By Peninsula Daily News staff

In a three-sentence email message today, Nancy Biery said she had withdrawn from the race for chairmanship of the state Democratic Party.

“I am officially withdrawing from the race for State Democratic Party chair," she wrote.

"While it's clear there are many changes our party desperately needs to get back on solid ground, it's my assessment that the status quo forces are unwilling to make those changes.

"I will not be endorsing another candidate in the race at this time.”

Here's our previous story on her announcement that she was seeking the chairmanship, from the Nov. 8 Peninsula Daily News:

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
QUILCENE — A political consultant who once led the Jefferson County Democratic Party and served as an aide to former Gov. Gary Locke and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is the first announced candidate for chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party.

Nancy Biery of Quilcene is announcing this week “because I have a lot of ground to cover before the Feb. 1 election.”

Former state Rep. Brendan Williams also has expressed interest in the job, according to The Seattle Times.

Biery plans to campaign throughout the state in anticipation to the election in Vancouver, Wash., seeking votes from Democratic committeemen and committeewoman.

One of each is elected by the parties of each of the 39 counties and 49 legislative districts, so 176 people will elect the new chair.

The winner will succeed chairman Dwight Pelz, who is stepping down from the post he has held since 2006 at the midpoint of his current term.

Pelz, 62, said in September that he will leave the position effective Feb. 1.

The February election will fill the current term. An election will be scheduled in February 2015 for a full two-year term.

The state chair operates out of an office in Seattle and supervises a paid staff of five or six people, Biery said.

The chairmanship is a paid position that earns more than $100,000, Biery said, although she does not know its exact amount.

Biery, 59, noted that her top priorities as Democratic Party chair would include electing four more Democrats to the state Senate in 2014 to take back the majority from the “turncoats,” she said, who have allied with the Republican Party.

She also wants to lay groundwork now for the future of the party — especially the 2016 re-election campaigns of Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

“The first responsibility of the chairman is to raise money in order to elect Democratic candidates across the state,” Beiry said.

“There's a lot of 'inside baseball' stuff, but without money, you don't have the resources to elect Democrats, up and down the ticket.”

The party chair is involved in recruiting candidates on all levels — from federal to local — and providing them with the training needed to run and the media support necessary to create a successful campaign.

Biery moved to Jefferson County in 1999 and served as Jefferson County chairwoman from 2000 to 2003. Since then, she has worked as a consultant.

She worked on successful campaigns for Port Townsend City Council candidates Michelle Sandoval and Catharine Robinson, Jefferson County Commissioner David Sullivan and state Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, who represents the 24th District, which includes Jefferson and Clallam counties.

She worked for Locke from 2003 to 2005 in a staff position and also worked for Cantwell in from 2008 to 2011, during which time she took a break and worked for Locke when he became commerce secretary in the Obama administration.

While Jefferson County is small, Biery said her home base gives her an advantage.

“Jefferson County is a little blue sapphire,” she said, referring to the blue designation for Democrats, versus the red for Republicans.

“It is the only county off of the I-5 corridor that consistently supports Democrats and always has the highest voter turnout,” Biery added.

“It is a little beacon of hope for some of the rural counties that aren't as blue.”

Biery said the political environment in Washington state isn't as contentious as in Washington, D.C., but still lacks bipartisanship.

“I don't have the answer as to how we can get more bipartisan cooperation,” she said.

“So the only way I can think of to get something done is to get more Democrats elected and hope the Republicans fall in line.”


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 12. 2013 1:21PM
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