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Chair of King County Democrats resigns amidst harassment investigation

Bailey Stober, former chair of the King County Democrats.
Facebook Photo/Bailey Stober
Bailey Stober, chair of the King County Democrats.

The chair of King County's Democratic party has resigned in the wake of a harassment investigation.

Volunteers filed a complaint against Bailey Stober earlier this year, accusing him of harassing a staff member, using sexist language and mismanaging party funds.

Volunteers said Stober pulled offensive pranks and would chastise the group's executive director (who he later fired) for not drinking alcohol with him.
Since then, board members from Washington State Democrats, including David McDonald, have helped conduct an investigation. McDonald, who is also a Democratic National Committee member, says the findings against Stober were presented in a 13-hour meeting on Sunday.

McDonald: "The trial committee had concluded that there was one or more violations and was about to take up penalty when Bailey Stober asked to speak to the committee and resigned."

Stober announced he would step down before an investigative group could deliver its sanctions. He told the group his resignation is effective this coming Saturday, and that in the meantime he'll call to thank donors and volunteers.

Stober had repeatedly denied the allegations that he harassed a former staff member and called for due process in the investigation. At Sunday's meeting, however, Stober said the investigation was eye-opening and that he apologizes to anyone he has hurt. He has previously told KUOW that he stands by his record as a party leader for getting women, people of color, and LGBTQ people elected to office.

McDonald says the trial does send a message. He says "I think it is significant that you have your largest county taking this strong a stance regarding conduct."

McDonald says now King County Democrats will start to organize an election for a new chair, which could happen this summer. In the interim, Democratic National Committee member Sharon Mast is serving as chair. Mast is also a board member for Washington State Democrats.

Separately, the Washington State Attorney General's Office ordered Stober to pay fees this year in an investigation over campaign finance violations. He is also on leave from his job at the King County Assessor's Office while that department holds a fact finding mission over the allegations Stober faced.

This post has been updated as of 4/11.