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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Category: Local

Seattle-area election news covered through the eyes of UW students and faculty.

December 31, 2012 at 7:00 AM

It’s been epic, see you in 2016

We have filed more than 400 posts on U.S. presidential, state, and local politics over the past 12 months. It’s been an incredible experience as journalists, educators, and citizens. We’re now going to take a break, but we’ll be back in four years for the next presidential rodeo.

On the final day of the South Carolina Republican Party presidential primary, January 21, 2012, Newt Gingrich made several campaign stops — including at this iconic Southern eatery. Photo by David Domke/UW Election Eye.

Nearly one year ago, on Jan. 14, I boarded an airplane with three University of Washington students and headed across the country. Our mission was epic: to spend a week on the ground reporting on the South Carolina 2012 Republican Party presidential primary. It was our first gig for UW Election Eye, a new blog partnership of the UW’s Department of Communication and The Seattle Times.

One week later I had a pretty good idea who was going to win the 2012 presidential election. Arizona congressional representative Trent Franks told me so.

Franks, one of the nation’s most conservative congressional members and a favorite of the tea party movement, was standing by Newt Gingrich’s bus as Gingrich spoke to supporters in his last stop of the state’s primary. A few hours later Gingrich would win his first statewide race in his life — a double-digit victory over Mitt Romney that upended the Republican primary for a time.

Franks was one of the few members of Congress to endorse Gingrich. A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Gingrich does not have many friends in high political places these days. But Franks is one of them, and he was traveling with Gingrich on the campaign trail.

I spoke with Franks for 10 minutes while Gingrich held court inside a restaurant. Franks told me why he supported Gingrich and why Barack Obama had to be defeated. I thanked him for talking with me and turned to walk away.

That’s when Franks surprised me.

He took hold of my arm and said, “Hold on, I’ve got one more thing to say.” I was listening. He stretched out his index finger and said “The 1 percent. We hear a lot about the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Mitt Romney is a caricature of the 1 percent — rich, out of touch, doesn’t understand most of America. If Republicans nominate Romney in the midst of this terrible economic time, we’re going to lose. That’s why I’m here. We will lose if we pick Romney.”

That’s when I knew: If a diehard conservative, a red-blooded Republican who would do anything to get rid of Obama, thought Romney couldn’t win, then Romney almost certainly wouldn’t win.

That moment is one I’ll not forget. It was one of the hundreds of up-close-and-personal experiences, all over America, that defined UW Election Eye.

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0 Comments | More in Local, National, State | Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, The Seattle Times

November 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Republican party ends early in Bellevue

BELLEVUE — Would-be partiers in Bellevue turned in early last night as news of President Obama’s win filtered through the crowd at the Washington state Republican gathering. Though the crowd anticipated a win by Rob McKenna, the Republican candidate for governor, those votes won’t be finally counted until later this week, so there was little…

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0 Comments | More in Local, State | Topics: Bellevue, Rob McKenna, Washington Republican Party

November 6, 2012 at 9:22 PM

University of Washington students gather at Husky Union Building to view elections

SEATTLE–With so many viewing parties happening in Seattle tonight, it can be hard to pick the perfect spot. But the newly renovated Husky Union Building on the UW’s Seattle campus appears to be the destination of choice for many students so far – and even for some who don’t attend the UW. Alem Hamzie and…

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0 Comments | More in International, Local | Topics: 2012 Election, Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, HUB

November 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

In Seattle, conservative voters an ideological minority

Kyle Curtis peers over the sign that often brings him disapproving looks from liberal onlookers. Credit: Lauren LeMieux / UW Election Eye.

SEATTLE — For Kyle Curtis, president of the University of Washington College Republicans, it is nearly impossible to show  support for his chosen presidential candidate.

“I can’t tell you how hard it is to get a Mitt Romney sign in this state,” Curtis said.

Curtis did find a sign, but he also found confrontation. While holding the blue-and-red Mitt Romney poster on campus he got a disproving reaction from a passerby.

“He glared at us, then he took a few steps back,” Curtis said. “He was like, ‘You’re kidding me. You’re actually going to vote for Mitt Romney?’ and then I was like ‘Yes.’”

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0 Comments | More in Culture, Local, State | Topics: blue voters, conservatives, Republicans

November 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Seattle youth defy national voter apathy trends

Nationwide, young voters are less likely to vote this year than in 2008. But in Seattle, they’re more engaged than ever before.

More than 300 young Seattleites listen to a motivation speech by State Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle) before canvassing to get out the vote at Washington Bus’s Trick-or-Vote event last Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Toby Crittenden / UW Election Eye)

SEATTLE — What do a skeleton, Rosie the Riveter and a walking cupcake all have in common?

They were among 400 creatively-costumed young activists trick-or-treating for votes and marriage equality in Seattle over Halloween weekend.

Trick or Vote, an annual “Get Out the Vote” canvassing event put on by Seattle-based non-profit Washington Bus, saw an unprecedented number of dedicated young people taking to the streets this year in their spookiest (or quirkiest) attire — reminding people to turn in their ballots before election day next week and to support Referendum 74.

It was the biggest turnout at an event in Washington Bus history. This is in keeping with an increasing number of young Seattleites taking politics into their own hands this year — especially when it comes to local and state issues — but this runs counter to national trends of youth-voter disengagement.

Washington Bus, unique in its youth-focused approach to political engagement, doubled its number of regular participants in just the past year. Most of these volunteers are under 25 years old.

According to Toby Crittenden, Washington Bus’ executive director, there are now more than 5,000 young people who canvas and phone bank with the Bus on a regular basis, which is ten times more than when it started up in 2007 (and yes, this includes 2008’s “Obamamania“).

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0 Comments | More in Local, State | Topics: apathy, engagement, Young voters

October 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Minority representation still a challenge in hyper-diverse 9th district

AdamSmith

The 9th Congressional District (shown in green) was redrawn this year to be Washington’s first ‘majority-minorty’ district. (Image via Google Maps and Washington State Redistricting Commission)

Majority-minority districts are usually created with an eye to boosting the number of minorities in Congress. But in the Washington’s new majority-minority 9th District, that’s definitely not going to happen this election.

SEATTLE — When Washington’s congressional districts were redrawn last January, the State Redistricting Commission made a bold move:

They split the city of Seattle between two districts in order to create the state’s first ever “majority-minority” district.

The 9th Congressional District was shifted northward, leaving behind the Fort Lewis area and rural Pierce County to take in both South Seattle and a growing population of immigrant and minority voters in South King County.

Now 51 percent of residents in the new 9th district identify as ethnic minorities.

But when those minority voters cast their ballots this week, they’ll be choosing between eight-term incumbent Adam Smith, a Democrat, and GOP challenger Jim Postma.

Both are white. Both are Christian. Both were born in the US.

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0 Comments | More in Local | Topics: 9th District, Adam Smith, Congress

October 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Referendum 74 finds an unlikely champion in hip-hop’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

A Washington State hip-hop artist bucks stereotypes by making music in support of marriage equality and Referendum 74. SEATTLE — Hip-hop is not generally considered a bastion of progressive virtue. Despite the boundaries and expansion spurred by the hip-hop movement over the past 30+ years, the general content is still enough to make the most…

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0 Comments | More in Local, State | Topics: Ben Haggerty, Macklemore, Referendum 74

October 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Washington Initiative 502: both sides of the debate

Washington Initiative 502 has supporters and opponents. University of Washington Election Eye researched each and brings you both sides of the debate. SEATTLE — If you want to know where your chicken fillet comes from, you definitely want to know where your marijuana comes from. Chances are, your dinner wasn’t smuggled under the US-Canada border…

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0 Comments | More in Local, State | Topics: Derek Franklin, Initiative 502, John McKay

October 22, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Obama Blitzing Swing States, Third Party Debate, George McGovern Dies, and Washington Governor’s Race Intensifies

Each Monday we feature several important stories in US politics — ones that just occurred, are defining moments, or are key markers on the horizon. We call these Monday Eye Openers. Obama Hit Swing States Hard With most polls showing the candidates running neck and neck, President Obama has a two-day campaign blitz planned next week. Starting…

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0 Comments | More in Local, National, State | Topics: Barack Obama, George McGovern, Jay Inslee

October 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM

Elephant in the election room: cost of higher education

With the cost of higher education rising along with the level of student debt upon graduation, politicians at the national and state level need to address the issue frankly and provide real solutions. SEATTLE — As a master’s student at the University of Washington with a small mountain of student loans, I find myself paying…

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0 Comments | More in Local, State | Topics: student debt, student loans, Tuition

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