Washington State Senator Dies of Covid-19

Opponent of vaccine mandates succumbs to Covid-19.

I share this as a cautionary tale, one of sadly many. Via the Seattle Times: Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen dies; sought treatment for COVID.

State Sen. Doug Ericksen, a stalwart conservative voice in the Legislature, former leader of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Washington and an outspoken critic of COVID-19 emergency orders, has died, his family said Saturday. He was 52.

Ericksen said last month that he had tested positive for the coronavirus while on a trip to El Salvador, although his cause of death was not immediately confirmed Saturday.


Ericksen fought, through protest and legislation, Inslee’s orders and mandates intended to fight the spread of the virus. Public health officials have strongly endorsed vaccination and masks as the best tools for fighting the pandemic. Ericksen had introduced legislation that he said was intended to protect the rights of people who won’t get vaccinated, and had repeatedly called on Inslee to resign.

It was unclear if Ericksen had been vaccinated.

Ericksen tested positive upon arriving in El Salvador and was unable to receive a monoclonal antibody infusion in that country due to lack of availability. He was recently medevaced to Florida, where he passed.

He is yet another tragic example of someone who publically fought against public health measures to combat this disease and ended up succumbing to it.

All I can say is: if you haven’t been vaccinated, go get your shot. If you have been vaccinated and not yet boosted, go get your booster.

One last plea, that will likely go unheard by those who need to hear it and unheeded if heard: if you are in a position of authority and have been fighting efforts to vaccinate, stop.

We know that the vaccines decrease a person’s chance of contracting the disease and if contracted, decreases the chances it will be severe or fatal. And, the fewer people who catch the disease means fewer people who can transmit it.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Karma is a beach in Washington state.

  2. Kathy says:

    The Greeks were warning us about Hubris over three thousand years ago. Even the Christian mythologies warn against excessive pride. It may be time for some people to start listening.

    Assuming, of course, they are even capable of doing so.

  3. Moosebreath says:


    “Karma is a beach in Washington state.”

    I think that karma ran over his dogma.

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Moosebreath: It always does. In a contest betweed karma and dogma, bet on karma everytime.

    Moving on RIP to Senator Erickson with the hope that the good citizens of Whatcom County will get saner, wiser candidates for the next election season. And that they can recognize the advantages to their community of electing one.

  5. @Kathy: Indeed.

    Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written: ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”-Matthew 4:7

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I just tried, and failed, to find this story at foxnews.com.

  7. @gVOR08: Sigh.

  8. Kathy says:

    Even the Klingons know this:

    “Long ago, a storm was heading for the city of Quin’lat. Everyone took protection within the walls except one man who remained outside. I went to him and asked what he was doing. “I am not afraid,” the man said. “I will not hide my face behind stone and mortar. I will stand before the wind and make it respect me.” I honored his choice and went inside. The next day, the storm came, and the man was killed. The wind does not respect a fool. Do not stand before the wind, Gowron.”
    – Kahless

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    If we rely on karma (whatever that is) to kill off the anti-vax crowd Jesus will return before they are all dead.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    Just in case anyone is tempted to go down the “let’s not speak ill of the dead” path, you should know this guy was a corrupt piece of trash. In addition to his job as a State Senator he was a registered lobbyist. In particular he was a paid lobbyist for the government of Cambodia who ran a sham election in 2018 where they jailed political opponents, shut down or intimidated newspapers, and dissolved the main opposition party. Ericksen was Johnny-on-the spot to congratulate the Cambodian government on its free and fair election. I’m sure he earned extra because the average Cambodian is unlikely to know the difference between a Senator from Washington (State) and a Senator in Washington (DC).

    Why was he in El Salvador? Not clear, but he had missed several votes while on trips there with his business partner in his lobbying firm. And he had “monitored” the 2020 Salvadoran elections as well.

    Finally, he was part of the modern day Republican form of governance whereby, instead of offering legislation opposing the work of various government agencies, they simply appoint lobbyists and fanatics who want to destroy those agencies as important officials. In this case, Trump appointed Ericksen, who doesn’t believe in climate change, to a “transition team” to “reshape” the EPA.

    Bottom line, he was a nasty POS who drank his own Koolaid and died because of it. And lest you think he was an anomaly, here’s a comment from one of his Republican colleagues.

    Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, said Ericksen’s death had him “a little bit taken aback and dumbfounded.”

    “It’s tragic, the guy was one of the smartest people I know, and his floor speeches, his knowledge and environmental issues of all that stuff, was just fantastic,” said Fortunato.

  11. Richard Gardner says:

    @gVOR08: It is on the local Fox affiliate, where I first saw it, but nothing (yet?) on foxnews.com but is the death of a state legislator all that important (yes, manner of death and rubbing folks nose in it)?
    The WA legislature is part-time an has been out of session.

  12. mattbernius says:

    Again, its becoming harder and harder to deny the impact of politics on vaccination and covid deaths. And while this is a single, anecdotal example, the data back it up:

    It also makes me think of a recent bit of dark humor/irony I saw on Twitter. It was something along the lines of “why are the people who are most worried about ‘the great replacement’ speeding the process along by refusing to get vaccinated and then dying of C-19?”

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    Well, at least his survivors can say he had the stupidity of his convictions. The truly pernicious individuals are those who are vaxxed but are encouraging others not to do so.

  14. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    the hope that the good citizens of Whatcom County will get saner, wiser candidates for the next election season.

    While I join you in that fervent hope, may I please have a toke of whatever you’re smoking? They’re more likely to find someone who makes him look like a libtard

  15. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: What is it with politicians being lobbyists for foreign governments? You would expect that to be illegal, or a violation of their oath of office, or something. It’s certainly not patriotic, and doesn’t put America first.

  16. Slugger says:

    @MarkedMan: I have read that he got $500,000 from the Cambodians. That’s a lot of money! What possible benefit can a state senator, not a US Senator, from a rural county whose economy is based on raspberry growing deliver? Is there some complex underlying corruption? Is this common in our state legislatures?

  17. Gustopher says:

    52 is far too young to die, unless of course, you refuse to get a vaccine in the middle of a deadly pandemic because of politics, in which case I guess you got what you deserved. Fucked around and found out (I really like that phrase — it’s all over Twitter and I am wondering where it came from)

    At least he died doing what he loved — owning the libs.

    I have some compassion for those who were simply lied to, and believed their news and their leaders — dying because of an internet hoax is a pointless and stupid death. But, the politicians and other leaders have an obligation to not repeat the lies, and to understand what they are saying.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Slugger: I wasn’t being facetious above when I speculated that he was worth more to the Cambodians because he was a “Senator from Washington”.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Yeah, you can’t even rely on COVID.

    But for every covidiot who dies of COVID, there are at least tens of thousands who suffered through the illness (which is bad even if not severe enough to require hospitalization), and a large number of them are still suffering from the effects of long COVID. Not to mention many of those who wound up hospitalized, and especially in need of an ICU bed, will be paying medical bills for years.

    I would say it’s time we pressed on the matter of vaccines as a public good, but first we’d need to press on the matter of public goods.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: I can’t imagine why you would have expected this news item to be at foxnews.com:
    1. First off, he lives in Washington State–a left coast bastion–so why would they care.
    2. He’s dead now; he can’t do anything to propel the agenda anymore.
    3. He wasn’t a national-level pol–they probably saw the item on one of their feeds and asked “who?”
    4. He died of Covid; not something they want to have their readers thinking about.
    5. He died in El Salvador. Normally, you might think that was a point in favor of posting it–hoards of unwashed furriners sneezing all over us and all that, but their readers will read that information and think that he shouldn’t have been in a plague rat sh!thole anyway. Again, the anti-vax message op is lost. (And they may well be grateful that he died there rather than bringing the plague home and sneezing all over them himself.)

    I probably could go on, but I’m sure you can see how it simply isn’t news for Faux Dot Com.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Sorry zeeb, no joint, no bong. Just one of those “wish in one hand, s*it in the other” things. In fact, I’m off to wash the hand that filled up just after I post this (I typed only with the empty hand, FTR).

  22. Dude Kembro says:

    Time to carefully, cautiously reopen while capping hospital and ICU beds for the unvaxxed at 30%. We can longer let the stubborn and selfish prevent return to normalcy by overwhelming hospitals.

    Those who refuse to believe science and medicine (except when time to burden doctors and nurses) should take responsibility, including the risk of dying at home.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: It’s warm enough in the summer to grow raspberries in Whatcom County? News to me.

  24. CSK says:

    I put this in the Omicron thread, but it may be more apropos here:

    Sarah Palin told a Turning Point USA gathering yesterday that it “will be over my dead body” that she gets the vaccine. She’s already had Covid, she claims, and is thus immune.

    She may come to regret those words.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..He died in El Salvador.

    From Professor Taylor’s item:

    Ericksen tested positive upon arriving in El Salvador and was unable to receive a monoclonal antibody infusion in that country due to lack of availability. He was recently medevaced to Florida, where he passed.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Same-o same-o. But I award you the Croix de Picking at Nits all the same.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “…it “will be over my dead body” that she gets the vaccine.”

    From your lips to God’s ears, Sarah.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..…Croix de Picking…
    You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.

  29. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: Well, you can, but it might be a little awkward. 😛 😛

  30. matt bernius says:


    his knowledge and environmental issues of all that stuff, was just fantastic

    Something tells me that isn’t the case…

  31. Jay L Gischer says:

    If I still lived in the house I grew up in, Ericson would have been my state senator. I love the place I grew up, and want to point out that the economy of it is a lot more varied than raspberries.

    There are two major oil refineries on the coast, processing Alaskan crude. There was an aluminum refinery, Intalco, but it closed a few years ago due to outdated equipment. (Cheap electricity is still the rule there, so I’m uncertain what is really up with that). Bellingham, with WWU and a good passel of related stuff, is not part of the district. There is a lot of agriculture, it includes raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and also a fair amount of potatos. There is what I like to call “border arbitrage” and fishing in Blaine, my home town. There’s a lot of tourism, both at Birch Bay and Mt. Baker. There is a well-used and popular ski resort at Mt. Baker. Logging is pretty much dead, though it was big once.

    I believe that Ericson was knowledgeable about environmental issues, the county voters are very outdoorsy, and he needs to have what at least seem to be good reasons to oppose environmental issues.

    I describe the general vibe of this neck of the woods as “hippie rednecks”. Of course there are the religious conservatives, but there’s a lot more. The thing I find so interesting about where I grew up is that while it is rural, it is not the least bit isolated, as you might find in other rural places.

    That’s not to say I would have supported Ericson, I probably wouldn’t have.

  32. Matt says:


    Fucked around and found out (I really like that phrase — it’s all over Twitter and I am wondering where it came from)

    I first saw it on reddit/4chan about two years ago. It’s one of those things we’ll never know the true origin of though.

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    This is how I found out in 1976…
    Fooled Around and Fell in Love
    Elvin Bishop

    Per WikiP:
    Bishop does not sing lead vocals on the track. He felt that his gravelly voice would not do the song justice; he invited vocalist Mickey Thomas, who was a background singer in his band at the time, to sing it. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in May 1976.

  34. Gustopher says:


    It’s one of those things we’ll never know the true origin of though.

    Perhaps if we fuck around, we will find out. People hate seeing false trivia on the internet, and feel compelled to correct it.

    The first use of “Fuck around and find out” was Barack Obama in 2015. Prove me wrong!

  35. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Shoot dang, we were practically neighbors when I was draft dodging! Significant time spent on Loomis Trail outside of Linden, back when the Safeway was closed on Sunday!

    IIRC, intalco shut all their smelters because the new owners couldn’t get the feds to keep selling them electrity for less than it cost to produce it.

  36. Tim says:

    @MarkedMan: I bet he was vaccinated.