Washington Senator Carrell Dies Of Complications

By Austin Jenkins

Washington state Senator Mike Carrell of Lakewood has died from complications related to treatment for a pre-leukemia blood disorder. The Republican’s death Wednesday leaves the Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus down a critical vote – but perhaps not for long.

The 69-year-old Carrell has been absent from the Washington Senate for several weeks due to his illness. But Democrat Jim Hargrove has voted in Carrell’s place as a courtesy. Carrell’s death means the Senate’s mostly Republican majority caucus now has just 24 members – that’s one short of a majority. But former Republican Party chair and public affairs consultant Chris Vance says finding a replacement for Carrell can happen quickly.

Chris Vance: “It actually provides clarity now to the political situation. The system doesn’t have any mechanism to deal with a senator is too ill to be in the chamber and voting, but the system does provide for a vacancy.”

Vance says the Pierce County Council will choose from a list of three Republicans to fill Carrell’s seat. The legislature is currently meeting in an overtime session to balance the budget. Carrell is being remembered for – among other legacies - his work to reform the state’s criminal justice and corrections systems.

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