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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Republican

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September 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

This isn’t Seattle; on the road to Charlotte and the Democratic National Convention

Atlanta Airport poster

Posters in support of military lined hallways of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia. (Photo taken September 2, 2012, by Ilona Idlis/UW Election Eye)

Our introduction to the South is quick, and enlightening, as we head from Seattle to cover the Democratic National Convention.

CHARLOTTE — When we exited the sliding doors of the Atlanta airport yesterday, the first thing that hit us was the heat. Whoosh. This was Southern heat: oppressive, sticky, humid. It needed no formal introductions. Our Pacific Northwest jeans and sweaters were out of place.

In the concourse we were greeted with billboards sporting evocative photos of soldiers and slogans. This was not SEATAC. “Come Home Safe!” and “Help carry our wounded warriors home” decorated every other terminal hallway. Georgia is a state that houses 15 bases, forts, stations and airfields.

We pondered the disconnect between the South’s staunch allegiance to its military and the absence of the topic in recent political discourse. Times columnist Danny Westneat pointed out there were barely four mentions of the war in all the speeches given at the RNC—and one of them came from the ramblings of Clint Eastwood. Mitt Romney didn’t speak of the troops at all. Our present Georgian surroundings made that omission seem even more garish. We wondered if the message of the Democratic National Convention, where we were headed, would be different.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Atlanta, Danny Westneat, Democratic National Convention

June 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM

A Seattle woman named Melanie: young, pregnant, and homeless

Melanie, a homeless woman on a Seattle street corner on May 3, 2012. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

During election cycles, much attention is paid to the economy, and more specifically, job creation. UWEE talked to a homeless woman in Seattle about how she found herself on the street after her career faltered, which provides a sobering reminder of how easily it could happen to others.

SEATTLE — Melanie has bright eyes, a welcoming smile, and a wicked laugh. She is 27 years old, a jewelry artist, an expectant mother, and a self-proclaimed Republican. A former Whidbey Island resident, Melanie currently lives on the streets. She panhandles for a living, sleeping in doorways with her boyfriend and her dog Duke.

Five years ago, Melanie’s life was very different. She explained that she owned her own home and a successful jewelry business. Then the economy turned.  “The tourists started buying cheap key chains and stopped buying my jewelry,” she said.  Without reliable income, she found herself struggling to make ends meet. First, the career she built was lost. The house followed.

While standing on the corner of 45th and University Way, a stone’s throw from the University of Washington campus, Melanie and Duke hold court. Melanie displays a sign asking for money for marijuana and beer. She says that the sign is more for the amusement of those that pass her on the streets than anything else: local college kids will give to a cause when they readily agree with the sentiment. A young man stops and gives Melanie two cigarettes and she tucks one behind each ear. He laughs, then gives her two more to which she responds, “I only have two ears!” and pretends to give them to her dog. A college-aged young man hands Melanie ten bucks and tells her to buy Duke dog food, to which she smiles and says, “I will! Thanks!”


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Homelessness, Republican, Seattle

April 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM

In Passing: Life in Lisbon, Ohio

"In Passing" posts capture shorter snapshots of places and people we encounter on the road. (Photos courtesy of Alex Stonehill, A.V. Crofts and Flickr Creative Commons/UW Election Eye) When you drive off the beaten path, you never know what stories you will uncover. We stumbled on the town of Lisbon, OH and were charmed with what…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Democrat, Ohio, Republican

April 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM

The dueling barbers of Bremerton

Owners Tracey and Andre Jones outside Tracey's Barber Shop in Bremerton on April 14, 2012. She is a Democrat, he is a libertarian. (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

Just feet apart physically, but on opposite ends of the political spectrum, two barbers in Bremerton have no qualms about voicing their opinions on the presidential candidates and the state of the economy in their community. 

BREMERTON — In the Manette neighborhood of this military town, only a few feet separate the shops of barber Andre Jones, a black 46-year old whose wife Tracey founded their shop 10 years ago, and hairstylist Sariann Irvin — a white 29-year-old who met her husband when he roamed in one day from the Navy base.

They are next door to each other, but political worlds apart.


Comments | More in State | Topics: barber, Bremerton, Christianity

March 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Idaho's Turn: Closed caucus on Super Tuesday

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6. (Photo courtesy of

SANDPOINT — Super Tuesday is upon us. With seven primaries, three caucuses, and 419 delegates at stake, the news media are rich with speculation. For the first time ever, the state of Idaho’s Republican Party gets to be part of the buzz.

Until this year, Idaho’s GOP determined its presidential and local nominee preferences with a primary in late May. At the presidential level, the 32 delegates chosen then attended the GOP National Convention with little allegiance to the candidates. Three quarters of the delegates were “soft pledged” (meaning they could change their minds) and the remaining 8 were simply “unpledged” — in other words, free agents.

The late season primary and the changeable delegates meant that Republican candidates rarely visited and few paid attention to the Gem State. Finally, the GOP got tired of being ignored and resolved to make its sizable number of delegates — more than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada — count in 2012.

So last October, they instituted a caucus system and moved the date way, way up to Super Tuesday — not an uncommon move for states who want more of an early say in the nomination process. So, on Tuesday, 44 counties will open their doors to first-time caucus goers at 7 p.m. In accordance with Idaho’s new voter identification law, only registered Republicans with valid ID can participate.

After that, it gets complicated.


Comments | Topics: Boise, Butch Otter, caucus

February 12, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Some former Obama supporters look to Ron Paul for hope and change in 2012

Ron Paul is not expected by most observers to win many, if any, of the Republican 2012 primaries or caucuses. From Day One, his campaign has made it their goal to win enough delegates to be a king-maker for the GOP convention’s nomination process. One state where Paul had an excellent chance to win was…


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Blue Republicans, campaign

January 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Finding Democrats in the Red

Twenty South Carolinian counties went for Obama in 2008. (Info courtesy South Carolina Election Commission.)

At first glance South Carolina seems the quintessential red state. It was first to secede from the Union in the Civil War, still flies the Confederate flag and has gone Republican in every election since Reagan. You might think South Carolinian Democrats are few and far between (I did). But a closer look at the last presidential election tells a different story.

In 2008, 20 of South Carolina’s 46 counties voted for Barack Obama. Of those blue counties, 12 showed over 60 percent support for the Democratic candidate. Two places stood out as especially enthusiastic about Obama: the President captured 68.5 percent of the vote in Orangeburg County and a whopping 75.1 percent in nearby Allendale County.

So how did a Democrat manage such numbers in the heart of the South?

I looked to the 2010 census data for clues. Though vastly different in population density—Orangeburg has almost nine times as many people as Allendale—the counties have something very important in common: a significant black majority. Orangeburg and Allendale are 62.2 and 73.6 percent African American, respectively. Perhaps just as importantly, these counties are two of the poorest in South Carolina, with over 31.6 percent of their population living in poverty. Other Lowland counties voted for Obama under similar conditions.


Comments | Topics: Allendal, Demographics, majority