Moderate Dems may join GOP coalition, forcing shared power

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Republican lawmakers may have a minority in the state Senate, but they also have a chance to expand their influence with the help of two moderate Democrats. Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch have both signaled in recent days they aren’t going to endorse their party’s leadership to control the chamber. That could lead to some sort of power-sharing agreement, a different Senate Majority Leader and a situation where a mix of both Democrats and Republicans hold committee chairs. Tom said the public wants to see government operate without party labels. The move would escalate an effort last year in which Tom and Sheldon worked with Republicans on the budget, helping drive some major changes on pensions and balanced budgets.

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