Dem leader disowns 2 senators now working with GOP

The leader of the Washington State Democrats is disowning two of the party’s senators.

Dwight Pelz said Monday that he now considers Sens. Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch to be Republicans. Both senators said they still call themselves Democrats, even though they plan to work with the GOP in the upcoming legislative session.

Pelz says he’s long viewed Sheldon a Republican, but the party had invested money to re-elect Tom this year. Pelz says that won’t happen again and the party will draft a candidate to oust him next time.

Tom was initially elected as a Republican but switched parties in 2006. Pelz said he believes the latest move was simply a way for Tom to fulfill his personal ambitions. Tom will serve as majority leader under the new coalition.