Washington lawmaker finishing 3rd after misconduct claims
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state representative who resigned his chairmanship following allegations of inappropriate conduct was finishing in third place Tuesday in early primary returns.
Democratic Rep. David Sawyer on Tuesday trailed Melanie Morgan, a Democrat and local school board member, and Republican Terry Harder. Under Washington’s primary system, the top two vote getters advance to November, regardless of party.
“The voters have spoken that enough is enough,” Morgan told the News Tribune. “Time’s up and we want a new leader.”
Sawyer represents a district that includes parts of Tacoma.
In June, Sawyer resigned as the chairman of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee a day after an outside investigation found that he violated the chamber’s policies on harassment, decorum and ethics.
The investigation found that Sawyer sent a House employee “inappropriate and offensive” text messages over a period of three months. It also found that he made comments and jokes about another House employee’s sexual orientation and used employees’ time to discuss a newspaper’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.
Sawyer apologized and said in an email at the time that it was “clear that I messed up and that it’s time for me to acknowledge some personal mistakes.” In an email to the Associated Press on Tuesday night Sawyer wrote: “There was an orchestrated smear campaign that was dishonest but it is politics and I respect the will of the voters.”
Another state lawmaker facing an investigation into allegations of misconduct in his role as a professor at Central Washington University advanced to the November ballot.
Republican Rep. Matt Manweller represents a district that includes Ellensburg. In results posted Tuesday, Manweller led Democrat Sylvia Hammond. Both will advance to November as they are the only candidates in the race.
Manweller has been on paid leave from the university since December. That same month House Republican leadership moved Manweller from his ranking member position on a House committee, and he resigned as assistant floor leader.
An outside investigative report into the allegations has been completed, but the university has not released it pending the completion of its internal review. Manweller has denied wrongdoing and issued a video last week accusing the university of manufacturing allegations. He says the investigation is politically motivated.