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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Rob McKenna

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November 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Republican party ends early in Bellevue

Seattle resident Shiao-Yen Wu and her Pomeranian, Zoro, at the Washington State Republican Party’s event on Tuesday night. (Photo by Ruth Moon/UW Election Eye) 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…

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

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. Image courtesy the AntiSteez websitehttp://www.antisteez.com/news/antisteez-politics-decision-2012/ Obama Hit Swing States Hard With most polls showing the candidates running neck and neck, President Obama has a two-day campaign…

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

October 15, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Romney and Ryan in Ohio, Obama preps for debate, Clinton hits the road, Arlen Specter dies, and WA Governor race

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. Romney and Ryan hammer Obama in Ohio This weekend, Mitt Romney jump-started his campaign by skydiving from 128,000 feet above the earth’s surface. Wait, no—that was…

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Comments | More in Local, National, State | Topics: Arlen Specter, Barack Obama, Jay Inslee

September 27, 2012 at 7:00 AM

WA governor candidate forum going social with a Google+ Hangout

SEATTLE — The YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish (YWCA) and their advocacy network, Firesteel, are hosting two round table discussions with the 2012 candidates for Washington state governor, Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna. Each one will answer questions about women’s socio-economic issues, domestic violence, and homelessness.

A roundtable with gubernatorial candidates is not a new thing, but this roundtable will be unique because of where it will take place: over Google+ Hangout.

So what makes this Google+ Hangout so exciting? Over the past four years, social media have been hyped for their ability to allow presidential campaigns to reach out and have two-way conversations with citizens. The reality is, with a constituency as large as the United States, it’s challenging to have legitimate conversations with potential voters. In fact, according to a recent Pew Research study, the current presidential campaigns rarely interact on Twitter. President Obama’s campaign retweets about 16% of the time, while Romney’s campaign only retweeted once in a two week span.

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Comments | More in Local, State | Topics: Firesteel, Google hangout, Jay Inslee

July 31, 2012 at 6:45 AM

Negative campaigning on the rise? Social media make it seem so

Digital media channels offer political parties new platforms to raise money, promote events, and educate voters about their candidates. Unfortunately much of that space is used for negative campaigning.

SEATTLE — Something is rotten in the state of Washington. It’s political campaign season again, which we all know means a fair share of negative campaigning. Yet this year, catty comments and juvenile jibes seem to be flooding inboxes, political party websites, Twitter feeds, and Facebook posts more than ever.

Both major parties are guilty.

A scan of Washington State Republican and Democratic party home pages shows that negative campaigning against political opponents outweighs any serious discussion of issues. These home pages make it clear both parties have their eyes on the governor’s race.

Washington Democrat and Republican web sites

Screen captures of Washington State Democratic (left) and Republican party (right) websites on July 21, 2012.

On July 21, 2012, the Washington State Democrats home page “Featured News” section linked to three unfavorable stories about presumed Republican nominee Rob McKenna — the Washington State Attorney General. One of its five featured photos also targeted McKenna.

That same day, the Washington State Republican Party home page featured a video criticizing likely Democratic nominee Jay Inslee for resigning his U.S. Representative seat to run for governor. This video appeared alongside an article titled “Irrelevant Facts by Jay Inslee.”

Is it possible this campaign has become more negative than previous campaigns even though it has barely begun?

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Comments | More in State | Topics: Facebook, Jay Inslee, negative campaign

July 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM

A suggested better response to McKenna staffer’s tweets

This post is by Madeline Moy, a recent graduate of the UW Department of Communication’s digital media Master’s program.

SEATTLE — While scanning Facebook the other night, I took special notice of a post celebrating the departure of Kathlyn Ehl from the campaign staff of Washington state gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.

The controversial tweets by Ehl have since been deleted.

These are screen captures of Kathlyn Ehl’s controversial tweets. Both tweets have since been deleted.

Ehl recently came under fire for authoring two offensive tweets that denigrated Asians and elderly people. The Stranger broke the story on Monday, The Seattle Times editorial board called for Ehl to be fired on Tuesday, and Ehl resigned on Wednesday.

I was especially disappointed and disgusted by Ehl’s tweet: “shut up and speak english #asians.” It unfortunately reminded me of the “Asians in the Library” rant that UCLA student Alexandra Wallace posted on YouTube last year.

I am a second-generation Filipino American who was born and raised in Washington state. It hurts when I’m reminded that many of my fellow Americans will always view me as a foreigner. It also makes me angry to know that recent and not-so-recent Asian immigrants have to deal with this kind of bigotry and ignorance.

As a communications professional, I find it appalling that Ehl apparently thought nothing of posting such a comment on Twitter, an international public platform.

However, while many of my friends—especially those who are Asian American like me—cheered and applauded when they heard that Ehl resigned, to me it felt like a hollow victory.

So we publicly shamed and cowed a junior staffer of the McKenna campaign. So what? Is this something that we really want to celebrate?

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: ageism, Asians, Kathlyn Ehl

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.

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

July 3, 2012 at 6:45 AM

Lives, Honor, and Words From Gettysburg Echo in 2012

The First Minnesota Infantry Monument, dedicated in 1893, honors a unit that surged forward at great personal toll to stop Confederate troops on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. I visited the battlefield on April 15, 2012. (Photo by Elizabeth Wiley/UW Election Eye)

GETTYSBURG, Penn. — I’ve wanted to come here for years.

I have read a number of books about the epic Civil War battle on these rolling fields in southern Pennsylvania. I have watched movies. I have listened to historians talk about the soldiers and their lives. For me, coming to Gettysburg was more than a visit: it was a pilgrimage.

Still, I was unprepared.

I was not ready for the knee-buckling sense of history that I felt atop Seminary Ridge, where Robert E. Lee and his Army of the Northern Virginia made headquarters. I was not ready for the awe I felt standing in the footsteps of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain—a college professor who led the 20th Maine Regiment as it held the left end of the Union line on Little Round Top. I was not ready for the intense sense of history that hangs over the rock wall that marks the high water mark of Pickett’s Charge on the final day, July 3, 1863—exactly 149 years ago today.

This is sacred ground.

Everywhere are monuments and markers: more than 850 on the battlefield. They invoke those who can no longer speak. As a people, we create monuments so that we might never forget the past.

Unfortunately, I think we have forgotten too much of what happened here—on the battlefield and in the words of Abraham Lincoln afterward.

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Gettysburg

May 23, 2012 at 7:33 AM

What can we learn from the nine candidates for Washington governor?

McKenna Inslee Candidates Third-Party

(Graphic by Almeera Anwar / UW Election Eye)

With nine candidates running for Washington State governor, and the primary still months away, why is all the attention  focused on McKenna and Inslee? 

SEATTLE — In a free and fair election, should all candidates be given equal consideration? This question recently came up in the Washington State governor’s race. Nine candidates filed for the position, but only two have been invited to the Association of Washington Business debate, to be held in Spokane in June.

“The debate hosts set their own rules and they invite people based on the criteria they establish,” said Sterling Clifford, Jay Inslee’s communications director, “While Jay is open to a broader conversation, but also there is good reason to acknowledge the realities of the election and political climate. Rob McKenna or Jay Inslee will be the next governor of Washington. That is just a cold hard fact.”

Some might say that since these candidates are relatively unknown and not the primary contenders for governor, in the way that Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna are, they should not get equal attention.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: Governor, governor's race, Jay Inslee

May 18, 2012 at 8:30 AM

The politics of yard signs


Campaign signs are the ultimate, well, sign that election season is upon us. But with campaigns going digital and ecological concerns growing, how long will we keep sticking them in our lawns?

SEATTLE — Nothing signals the start of an election year like the first campaign sign driven into your neighbor’s yard. It’s hard to believe that the person that puts the most ink on corrugated plastic has the best chance at winning an election. And with online advertising and social media that may soon be changing.

The wall of old signs inside of Thompson Signs' warehouse serves as a visual political history for the area. (Photo by Lucas Anderson / UW Election Eye)

For Thompson Signs, a local union sign shop in Lacey, that change is not so evident. A family-owned business, Thompson Signs has been printing for 11 years, and has been one of the top vendors for political signs for the last few election cycles.

For its output, Thompson is a surprisingly compact operation: only two men working the printers every day in a warehouse connected to a handful of other small businesses off of Pacific Avenue SE in Lacey. The printers are big machines that make an unescapable sound even in the office, where owner Diana Burton reminds me that she was out working the presses when she first bought the business 11 years ago.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: advertising, campaign yard signs, Jay Inslee

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