State Democratic Party chairman announces resignation

SEATTLE -- Dwight Pelz announced Monday that he will resign his position as chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party effective Feb. 1.

In a letter to party Vice Chairwoman Valerie Brady Rongey, Pelz stated his intention to serve until the next meeting of the party’s Central Committee, to be held Feb. 1 in Vancouver, Wash.

“It has been my honor to serve the Democratic Party for the past eight years.”, wrote Pelz. “I want to thank the Washington State Democratic Party for this, the greatest honor in my 40 year political career.”

Pelz, 62, was born in Seattle but went to public school in Montgomery County, Md., when his father went to work in Washington for Seattle Congressman Don Magnuson.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, he and his future wife, Beth Brunton, moved to Seattle in 1975, where Pelz immediately began a career in politics. For the next 15 years Pelz worked as a community organizer for a variety of grass-roots groups on a variety of social issues.

In 1977, he and Rod Regan organized the statewide initiative campaign that repealed the sales tax on food.

Pelz was elected to the state Senate in 1990, where he represented the 37th District for six years. In 1997, he was appointed to take Ron Sims' place on the King County Council, representing south Seattle for the next nine years.

Pelz was elected chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party in January 2006 and re-elected in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

Pelz and Brunton have been married for 34 years, and have two children, Karen and Andy, who both live in Seattle.

“I will be leaving this position and taking some time off but not necessarily retiring,” Pelz said. “I still have a few more miles left on these tires.”