Councilman's DUI threatens to upend his political career

Councilman's DUI threatens to upend his political career »Play Video
Brian Sullivan
EVERETT, Wash. -- Just days away from the primary election, Snohomish County Council chairman and congressional candidate Brian Sullivan was busted for driving under the influence.

In addition to his duties on the county council, Sullivan wants to take over former Congressman Jay Inslee's seat for one month until the next representative is elected.

All that could go by the wayside thanks to his recent DUI arrest on Chennault Beach Road in Mukilteo.

"Obviously, people are concerned when something like this happens," said Bill Phillips of the Snohomish County Democrats. "Obviously, Brian is feeling certainly some regret, and I am waiting for the legal process to play out."

Phillips said the issue for voters is if the arrest makes Sullivan unfit to lead.

"The question is, is it going to affect his council duties?" Phillips said. "And his colleagues are on record saying they don't expect it to have any effect."

A police report says Sullivan was drinking at a restaurant in Everett before driving home to Mukilteo last Thursday night. Another driver saw him swerve and called police.

"Impaired drivers are making a major mistake when they get behind the wheel of a car. They are putting a lot of lives at risk. They are putting themselves at risk. There's a huge cost associated with it," said Snohomish County GOP Chairman Bill Cooper.

Sullivan's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he was arrested. The police report says he thanked the arresting officer for doing a good job, but worried about the media fallout from the arrest.

"In terms of whether or not this will impact his political career, his political standing, I think it will damage it. I don't think it's fatal," Cooper said.

Sullivan made his first court appearance on Friday. It's unclear when his next court date will be because it appears there's an effort to move the case to Skagit County.