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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Alex Stonehill. Alex is a multimedia journalist whose work has been published by PBS, the Seattle Times, FRONTLINE/World, and the Seattle Weekly. He is one of the founders of the Common Language Project, a nonprofit organization devoted to multimedia journalism that is now housed in the UW Communication Department, where he also teaches entrepreneurial journalism and digital storytelling.

April 6, 2012 at 6:30 AM

An “Occupy Spring” in Seattle, or the last gasp of a movement?

Protestors from U-District churches picked up the mantle of the Occupy movement at a march on Palm Sunday (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

The rain-soaked Seattle protestors who spent the lunch hour on Palm Sunday waving signs on the I-5 overpass at 45th Street NE didn’t look much like the “Occupiers” I saw camped out at Westlake Park last fall.

But the group of 30 or so protestors — made up mostly of progressive Christians from North End churches — raised points that rang a bell. Waving signs that read “Christians against Citizens United” and “Increase Taxes for the 1%”, they talked about protecting government services from budget cuts and to raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

With traffic whizzing by and the rain pouring down, I struggled to guess if this was a spring budding of the Occupy Movement emerging from the winter cold, or the last vestiges of a movement that’s all but over.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: Economic Justice, Election 2012, Jobs

April 6, 2012 at 6:30 AM

An "Occupy Spring" in Seattle, or the last gasp of a movement?

Protestors from U-District churches picked up the mantle of the Occupy movement at a march on Palm Sunday (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

The rain-soaked Seattle protestors who spent the lunch hour on Palm Sunday waving signs on the I-5 overpass at 45th Street NE didn’t look much like the “Occupiers” I saw camped out at Westlake Park last fall.

But the group of 30 or so protestors — made up mostly of progressive Christians from North End churches — raised points that rang a bell. Waving signs that read “Christians against Citizens United” and “Increase Taxes for the 1%”, they talked about protecting government services from budget cuts and to raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

With traffic whizzing by and the rain pouring down, I struggled to guess if this was a spring budding of the Occupy Movement emerging from the winter cold, or the last vestiges of a movement that’s all but over.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: Economic Justice, Election 2012, Jobs

March 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Game On: Artists go viral singing candidates' praises

When it comes to American elections, it’s pretty much one person, one vote. Sure, in the era of the SuperPAC billionaires can throw money behind their candidate of choice until the cows come home, and the rest of us might be able to donate a few hard-earned dollars to a campaign here and there.

But what do we do if we’re enamored with a candidate way beyond what can be expressed in a single vote or a few bucks?

For one Oklahoma family of Rick Santorum supporters, the answer was simple: write a song. Sisters Camille and Haley Harris, who perform as First Love, backed by their father, claim they met Santorum at campaign stops in Tulsa and were so inspired by his “character and his ability to boldly lead this country in the right direction” that they wrote the song “Game On”.

They quickly recorded and edited the video for the song and posted it to YouTube on Super Tuesday. In less than a week since, the video has caught fire. When I first saw it on Wednesday, it had less than 60,000 views. It’s now quickly approaching a million.

Fair warning: click play and you risk wandering around singing “Game on” under your breath for the next week.

But Santorum’s not the only candidate who’s got a song devoted to him going viral.

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Comments | Topics: Aimee Allen, Barack Obama, campaign oddities

March 3, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Initiative to repeal same-sex marriage gets a jump-start at GOP caucus in Mount Vernon

Sharon Brandt arrives at a caucus location in Skagit County armed with petitions to get an initiative outlawing same-sex marriage on the ballot. (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye

MOUNT VERNON — Sharon Brandt came to her caucus, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Skagit County, armed and ready to collect signatures for Initiative 1192, one of two efforts to put the fate of same-sex marriage legislation in Washington to a popular vote this autumn.

Brandt said she found out about the effort just last weekend and wanted to get involved, so she attended an organizing meeting in Everett and picked up petition forms.

“What [the legislature] voted for goes against God,” she said, “and we don’t believe you can go against God.”

Signatures stacked up slowly at first, but as caucus-goers here wrapped up their meetings, a crowd formed around the table where Brandt had laid out the petition forms. About 150 people attended the caucus overall, and by the time the last person had filed out the door of the church, Brandt said she had collected close to 100  signatures in support of Initiative 1192.

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Comments | Topics: 1192, 74, Family

March 3, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Photos: The caucus process in Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON – Skagit County’s largest caucus was held at the Emmanuel Baptist Church this morning. Republicans from Mount Vernon and the surrounding farmland gathered to debate the candidates and decide who to throw their support behind.

Caucus-goers began arriving as early as 9:00 am for proceedings that started at 10:00.

Despite differing opinions on the candidates, Republican pride was on display.

Before breaking off into precinct groups, citizens had the chance to make the case for their candidate of choice. Ryan Kent Smith spoke on behalf of Mitt Romney.

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Comments | Topics: caucus, Mount Vernon, precinct

March 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM

UW Election Eye to provide statewide live coverage of the Washington GOP Caucus tomorrow

Our UW Election Eye team is fanning out across the state tomorrow, from Spokane to Bremerton and Mt. Vernon to Vancouver, to meet voters and provide breaking results from the GOP caucus. We’ll be stopping in at about a dozen of the over 420 caucus locations where Washington Republicans will be deciding how to allocate the state’s whopping 43 delegates.

Check out the map below to see where each of our team members will be located:

View UW Election Eye – Washington Caucuses in a larger map

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Comments | Topics: Caucuses, WA Caucuses, Washington

March 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Will the "Mormon vote" swing Washington's GOP caucuses to Mitt Romney?

A billboard from the I'm a Mormon campaign.

A billboard from the I'm a Mormon campaign, aimed to fight stereotypes about Mormons, hangs over South Seattle (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

If you’ve seen those I’m a Mormon billboards around Seattle and have been following the presidential campaign, you might have concluded that there’s a coordinated effort to bring the Mormon faith (known officially as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) further into the public sphere.

Mitt Romney is certainly closer to being president than any Mormon ever has been before. In advance of the Republican caucuses this Saturday, he is in town today for a fundraising dinner in Medina and tomorrow plans a “meet and greet” in Bellevue – where Marion G. Romney, a cousin of Mitt’s father, oversaw the groundbreaking and dedication of the large LDS temple in 1978.

The Romneys go back, way back, in Mormon history. But that doesn’t mean the LDS church is pushing him as a candidate.

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Comments | Topics: church, delegates, Latter Day Saints

January 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Why big media was the biggest loser in South Carolina

From the opening minutes of the CNN Southern Republican Debate in Charleston, SC on Thursday, the tone was combative. But it wasn’t the candidates going after each other.

CNN moderator John King opened by asking candidate Newt Gingrich to address allegations of infidelity made by his former wife in an interview with ABC News.

Rather than respond to the allegations, Gingrich unleashed an angry tirade on King, and the rest of the “elite media,” to a rousing applause from the audience.

“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.” Gingrich said, leaving the CNN anchor stammering to defend himself.

Whether or not it was the right choice of opening question, one thing is clear: in the debate, as in the campaign as a whole, slamming the media is a sure way to win points with voters.

Reporters mob Rick Santorum in the Spin Room after the CNN Southern Republican Debate

Over the course of our week in South Carolina, I heard numerous references to the ‘elite’ or ‘liberal’ media from all four of the candidates.

Which makes sense. It’s a brilliant tactic, which allows the candidate to paint them selves as an underdog in touch with the common folk, who can’t get the tough truths they’re delivering out to more potential supporters because they’re being censored and attacked by a biased media machine.

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Comments | Topics: CNN, debate, elite media

January 22, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Interview: Randy Stonehill on South Carolina's evangelical community

"Uncle Randy" Stonehill on the cover of his 1976 album "Welcome to Paradise"

Come primary season the evangelical community is usually referenced in political terms, with Christians voters in the bellwether South Carolina primary treated as a uniform group, and speculation tossed about over which candidate will secure the “evangelical vote”.

My uncle Randy Stonehill, who was “born again” in the 1970s and since built a prolific career as a Christian folk rock musician, recently relocated from Southern California to Columbia, South Carolina.

I asked him a few questions about his transition from one “SC” to another and the diversity he’s found in South Carolina’s evangelical community:

What’s the biggest difference between living in Southern California and South Carolina?

The pace of things is a bit slow and there is less tension in the air. People tend to be friendlier and more willing to look you in the eye.

As a whole, the Stonehills are pretty die hard Democrats. Has that made it difficult to transition into an evangelical community in South Carolina that is mostly Republican?

Surprisingly not, though there are obvious differences in culture and political perspective. Most people I encounter are aware that the world of politics is an arena of compromise. There’s not really much discussion about politics, and when there is, we try to stay focused on our common denominator as followers of Jesus.

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Comments | Topics: christian rock, conservatives, Randy Stonehill

January 21, 2012 at 11:46 PM

Gingrich surges to upset victory in South Carolina primary

Newt Gingrich won a surprising victory in the South Carolina primary last night, beating out frontrunner Mitt Romney with 40% of the vote, to Romney’s 27% As soon as the polls closed at 7pm Eastern time, local stations began reporting the dramatic victory based on exit poll data, catching even the supporters at Gingrich’s after-party by…

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Comments | Topics: Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich

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