January 30, 2013 at 6:00 AM
A new take on Rodney Tom conversion? The new leader in the state Senate, he of the Majority Coalition Caucus, is an enigma for some Democrats who wonder how he can call himself a Democrat when he joined with Republicans to form the Republican-leaning group. Republican John Carlson has an interesting piece on Tom in Crosscut.
What do you think of the bill to change the state code to use gender-neutral language? Bye bye, firemen, fishermen and other such terms. If I am not mistaken, the University of Washington Daily has done something similar.
High marks for Washington’s charter school law. The charter bill is brand new and implementation will take time. But still the bill wins high marks for the way it is drafted. No. 3 in the country, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Oregon going to pot, well, maybe sometime. The Oregonian says Oregon could be one of the next couple of states to legalize marijuana , perhaps in 2014 or 2016. Oregon had a pot measure on the ballot this past year, but the measure was very broad and did not pass voter muster.
Good days and bad days, bad mornings followed by better afternoons: Tuesday morning, state Rep. Gary Alexander was part of an AP inquiry into lawmakers’ expense reports, dry cleaning expenses, to be specific. The story included Alexander’s cleaning bill. Uh oh.
Later in the afternoon, Alexander was announced as as the new Thurston County auditor, filling a spot vacated by Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Question for Alexander: Does he intend to become Secretary of State? Just asking. Both Wyman and former Secretary of State Sam Reed were Thurston County auditor before becoming Secretary of State.
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December 7, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Good morning. Happy Friday!
Cheech and Chonged out: I don’t know about you, but the network anchors sounded a little silly as they joked and deployed bad puns about the big party out in Washington state because of our new marijuana law (which took effect Thursday). Anchors like CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield chortled about how many Washingtonians were calling in sick on the first day of pot legalization. Several national reports so far have included — perhaps, overused — scenes from the marijuana-friendly movie “Cheech and Chong” as B-roll footage.
Washington voters have something to brag about, if they are OK with second place. The numbers aren’t final, but it looks like Washington state had the second-highest voter turnout in the country in the 2012 general election, if you count percentage of registered voters participating.
Washington, Oregon and Minnesota traditionally fare best in this category. Washington’s official, final turnout number was 81.25 percent of registered voters.
“We attribute it to the drawing power of the ballot measures, great races around this state, the presidency motivated some voters,” explained David Ammons, spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed. And don’t forget, Washington gubernatorial races run concurrently with presidential contests, and that also helps turnout.
Patrick McDonald, assistant to Reed, said Oregon edged Washington out with 82.8 percent of registered voters taking part in the election, while Minnesota had 76.6 of percent participation among the same category of voters.
Other outfits measure percentage of eligible voters, but that list, from George Mason University, is not yet complete. Washington is not expected to fare as well on that listing.
Colbert for Senate: Huffington Post has some fun with the idea of comedian Steve Colbert taking over South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate seat. DeMint is leaving the Senate. Gov. Nikki Haley appoints. The idea is far-fetched but entertaining.
November 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Abortion talk meet abortion fact: All that election season chatter about abortion missed an important factoid that just emerged. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and reported by the Washington Post, show the abortion rate has hit an all-time low in America. Irony of ironies, more effective contraception, not the economy is cited as one possible explanation.
So you signed the Grover Norquist tax pledge? For the longest time, anti-tax crusade Grover Norquist has had a hold on most Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C. That grip may be easing, as another lawmaker, a conservative one, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, tells Norquist, in essence, That was then and this is now.
Secretary of State revels: You can practically hear Secretary of State Sam Reed yelling from Olympia, “I got it right, I got it right.” The it is the 2012 general election turnout rate, now standing at 80.91 percent, which if you use your mathematical powers, rounds out to 81 percent turnout. Bingo. That’s the exact number Reed predicted well before the election.
November 10, 2012 at 3:16 PM
Democrat Kathleen Drew has conceded in the race for secretary of state to Republican candidate Kim Wyman.
Wyman, former Thurston County auditor, had a narrow lead over Drew in the race to replace longtime incumbent Sam Reed, who is retiring as secretary of state. Reed had been in office since 2000.
In a statement, Drew said,
“Today, I called Kim Wyman to congratulate her on a hard fought victory and to concede the race. I know that she will carry forward Washington’s tradition of fair and impartial elections, and I am optimistic that she will work on measures to remove barriers and increase voter participation. I talked to her about the importance of fully funding the primary voters’ pamphlet at the state level, which had been a cornerstone of my campaign. I wish her all the best.
Drew is a former state senator from Issaquah.
Wyman campaigned on her experience conducting more than 80 elections at the county level. The Secretary of State’s main job is to oversee state and local elections. The office is also responsible for registering and licensing private corporations.
Wyman’s victory continues a nearly 50-year run during which the largely Democratic Washington has elected Republicans as Secretary of State. All the other statewide offices up for grabs this year went to Democrats.
November 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM
In the race to replace retiring Washington Sate Auditor Brian Sonntag, Democrat state Rep. Troy Kelley was leading Republican businessman James Watkins by 53 percdent to 47 percent in initial returns.
Meanwhile, Democrat Kathleen Drew and Republican Kim Wyman were in a dead heat in the race to replace retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed. With more than 1 million votes cast, both had roughly 50 percent of the vote.
If Drew wins, she would be the first Democratic secretary of state since Vic Meyers, who lost a re-election bid in 1964.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Brad Owen was leading former state Senate Republican Leader Bill Finkbeiner 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent in the race to hold onto his seat.
Owen has been lieutenant governor since 1997. The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate and takes command when the governor is out of state.
Finkbeiner is a moderate Republican who provided a key vote needed to pass a landmark gay-rights bill in 2006.
September 17, 2012 at 6:10 AM
Republican bench: It seems premature, but political analysts are looking at the latest, and, for the moment, Democratic-leaning polls, and wondering if Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna might lose to Democrat Jay Inslee in the governor’s race, if Reagan Dunn, another Republican, may come up short in November compared with Democrat Bob Ferguson, in the attorney general’s race, who does that leave?
What the political junkies — for example AP’s Chris Grygiel – mean is, Who will be left on the Republican bench for the next go-round for governor and senator in 2016? It’s a good question to ask, but also, early for such talk. Here are some of the polls triggering the questions, the latest Elway poll shows a close race for McKenna and Inslee, and then all Dems all the time in other statewide races.
Defining the middle class: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had another less-than-zen moment last week when he described the middle class as earning $200,000 to $250,000 and less. President Obama, when talking about tax cuts, implies something sort of similar, at least as the ceiling for that group of income earners. What is a reasonable description of a middle-class income?
Occupy: It might be an odd thing to note an anniversary for, but Occupy Wall Street marks its first anniversary today, Monday. Some of the predictable is planned in New York: protesters will surround the stock exchange, do a few sit-ins and disrupt some traffic.
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September 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM
A new Elway Poll finds Washington’s gubernatorial contest remains tight, but there is plenty of scary news for Republicans in down-ballot races.
The poll of 405 registered voters, conducted Sept. 9-12, found Democrat Jay Inslee leading Republican Rob McKenna, 44 to 41 percent. With the poll’s 5 percentage point margin of error, the finding confirms the race’s billing as one of the nation’s most competitive.
But there are ominous signs for Republicans. The Elway Poll also looked at all the other statewide contests for state office and found Democrats with big leads in each.
In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Bob Ferguson leads Republican Reagan Dunn 40-27 percent. In the lieutenant governor’s contest, Democrat Brad Owen leads Republican Bill Finkbeiner 43-27 percent. The Democrats in the races for state auditor, lands commissioner and secretary of state led by similar margins.
The good news in this poll for McKenna is that he continues to outperform the Republican presidential ticket here. Pollster Stuart Elway notes McKenna leads Inslee 44-29 percent among independents.
The bad news for McKenna is that if the overall trend outlined in this poll continues, the Republican ticket may yet drag him down.
Elway said his survey found Washington voters are increasingly turned off by the GOP brand. The gap between self-identified Democrats and Republicans doubled, from 8 points to 16 points since July.
And there is evidence that the Democratic Party’s talk about the GOP’s “war on women” may be working.
The key voter-support patterns in all the down-ballot state races “are strikingly similar and reveal the political fault lines for this year’s election,” Elway writes. “In each case, the Democratic candidate (all of whom are leading) gets his/her strongest support from Democrats, women and King County. The fact that women appear to be turning toward the Democratic party in large numbers is a defining dynamic of this election.”
August 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM
Kshama Sawant, a socialist candidate running for the state House of Representatives, won a suit in the King County Superior Court to state her party preference — the Socialist Alternative Party — on the ballot in November.
The state Secretary of State’s Office had previously stated that Washington’s election rules prevented Sawant from identifying with her party on the ballot, due to the odd circumstances in which she advanced to the general election.
Sawant had filed to run for the Position 1 seat in the 43rd Legislative District in Seattle, challenging state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Democrat. But she ended up coming in second in the Position 2 race — in which The Stranger newspaper had endorsed her as a write-in candidate, challenging House Speaker Frank Chopp, Democrat — as well as the Position 1 race.
State election rules allowed Sawant to decide which race she wanted to run in. She has decided to face Chopp in November.
But according to the Secretary of State’s Office, election rules prohibited write-in candidates such as Sawant from stating the party they preferred on the ballot, even if they had declared a party preference in a separate election.
Sawant, a professor of economics at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College and an activist with the Occupy Seattle movement, disagreed. So she sued Secretary of State Sam Reed and the King County Elections office.
On Thursday, Judge Michael Trickey ruled that the state had to include Sawant’s party preference on the ballot.
Philip Locker, Sawant’s political director, called the ruling “a victory for grassroots, independent, left-wing candidates.”
And the Secretary of State’s Office indicated it would abide by the ruling.
“Our office respects the judge’s ruling,” Brian Zylstra, a spokesman, said in an email. “We will include Kshama Sawant’s party preference in the statewide Voters’ Pamphlet and we expect King County Elections will include her party preference on its General Election ballot this fall.”
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