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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Christine Gregoire

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July 16, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Some conservative evangelical leaders worry about Rob McKenna on same-sex marriage

A referendum to roll back legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington State is a “wild card” in what Politico confirms will be this country’s most closely contested gubernatorial race.

Attorney General & GOP candidate

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna’s lead over Democrat Jay Inslee is now within the margin of error in his bid to become this state’s first Republican governor in 28 years. (Photo courtesy of “McKenna For Governor” campaign)

SEATTLE — The political script playing out for Rob McKenna, the Republican candidate for governor of Washington, is one with which Americans are familiar: uncertainty over trust and a wariness of agendas.

This dynamic is always a challenge for a candidate running for office, particularly when concerns are emerging from voters expected to be a politician’s strongest supporters.

McKenna these days is at odds with some very recognizable conservative evangelical Christians — a voting bloc determined to repeal state legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage.

November’s Referendum 74 proposes to reject a same-sex marriage bill passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire in February.

In an interview with UW Election Eye, McKenna said he wants to make three things perfectly clear:

  1. He voted to expand the rights of domestic partners.
  2. He will not be voting to legalize same-sex marriage this November.
  3. “None of this has anything to do with whether I become governor,” he said.

Joseph Backholm disagrees, and he matters. Backholm is directly responsible for submitting more than twice the number of valid signatures required to put Referendum 74 on the November ballot.


Comments | More in State | Topics: Antioch Bible Church, attorney general, Christine Gregoire

May 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

“Why Isn’t Every Year the Year of the Woman?”

While Washington State is often highlighted for its female governor and two female senators, the focus has shifted to increase women representation in the statehouse.

Washington is often championed for its female leadership with two female senators and a female governor. Maria Cantwell, Christine Gregoire, and Patty Murray pictured here in October 2009. (Photo courtesy of Patty Murray's Facebook page)

SEATTLE — The 1992 election was dubbed the “Year of the Woman,” when Anita Hill’s treatment while testifying in the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, galvanized a movement. The all-male committee highlighted the dominance of men in the Senate, and women responded — that year, 24 new women were elected into the House of Representatives and five to the Senate, including Washington’s Patty Murray.

That uptick in female elected officials also made its way into the statehouse. In Washington, after the 1992 election, women represented 40% of the state legislature — more than any other state.

With that history in mind, and an outgoing female governor and two female senators, you’d think Washington State would be the poster child for states that represent women. But if you peek behind the curtain, you see that female representation in the state legislature has been slowly eroding since its apex in the early 1990s. Today, it stands at 32%.


Comments | More in State | Topics: Christine Gregoire, Gender, Maria Cantwell

February 25, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Gregoire calls Obama "inspiration" for same-sex marriage law, but will it be enough to motivate young voters?

Then-Sen. Barack Obama and Governor Christine Gregoire at a 2008 campaign rally at Key Arena (photo by Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times).

Governor Christine Gregoire hailed President Obama on Friday as the “inspiration” for Washington state’s passage of a same-sex marriage law. It was a declaration that may surprise some.

If her view is shared by the president’s fabled young supporters, same-sex marriage is more likely to survive the potential ballot referendum in the fall elections.

Gregoire, according to Politico, praised Obama after he met with Democratic Party governors at the White House. The president, notably, does not support same-sex marriage laws, though he has often said his views are “evolving” on the matter.

But Gregoire said Obama had done plenty.

“I think we probably have succeeded as much as we have because of his leadership,” she told Politico. “He’s used the bully pulpit. He’s been the inspiration that allowed the state of Washington [to] recognize that we need to have equality.

“It’s because of what he’s been able to do that I actually think in large part we were able to achieve what we did. So I don’t criticize. To the contrary, I thank the president for his leadership on GLBT issues.”

Change is certainly underway.


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Christine Gregoire, Demographics

February 13, 2012 at 6:30 AM

The culture war and Rick Santorum return to Washington: Susan G. Komen, contraception, Catholics, and same-sex marriage

Rick Santorum at the Cable Center in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 6. The candidate was talking with supporters at his campaign (Photo by Corey Christiansen / UW Election Eye)

The culture war is back.

Actually, it never left. Ideological struggles over reproductive rights, sexuality, gender norms, evolution, and public religious expressions have continued apace, but have taken a backseat to the worst economic crisis the nation has faced since the Great Depression. National unemployment rates crested over 10% in 2009 and now reside at 8.3%, leading some conservatives to call for a “truce” on social issues in this election.

It isn’t back with the same strength as the mid-2000s, when conservative opponents of abortion rights and same-sex marriage were on the winning political side. In 2003, Congress passed legislation banning late-term abortions and the next year 11 states passed ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage. The conservative energy behind these laws helped George W. Bush secure a second term in the White House. Times have changed: political progressives are now on the offense.

So it isn’t quite a full-on culture war — yet. That could change today, however, when our own Washington state becomes the epicenter of one front of this clash: same-sex marriage.

And one thing to note: Rick Santorum has been waiting for this moment, while Mitt Romney has been dreading it.


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Caucuses, Christine Gregoire