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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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April 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

One year, many changes in the 46th LD – part 1

The 46th legislative district, covering Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore, has a whole new shape, and a whole new slate of candidates following formative events within the last year.

46th LD – old in red, new in blue | View in a larger map

This was the home district of the late Sen. Scott White whose untimely passing last year left a hole not only in Olympia, but also in the heart of the 46th. White would have been the majority whip and vice-chair of the transportation committee this session.


Comments | More in Local | Topics: 46th Legislative District, Demographics, Election 2012

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 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Ron Paul signs rule rural Idaho

BOISE–The four hour drive from tiny, freezing Grangeville to huge and sunny Boise is a roller coaster of terrain, temperature and elevation. As Alicia Halberg wove her Chevy Blazer around the twists and turns of US 95, the views alternated between snowy cliffs and rolling yellow plains, the thermometer bounced from 23 to 42 degrees…


Comments | Topics: caucus, Caucuses, Idaho

March 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Fishy Robocalls — 'tis the season

King County voters received phony robocalls, claiming the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled.

King County voters received phony robocalls that claimed the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled. (Photo by tj scenes/

Nowadays, robocalling is standard practice for political campaigns. In a presidential election year, almost everyone can expect an automated phone call here and there. This nomination season, voters in contested states, like South Carolina or Ohio, racked up dozens of robotic voice mails. Sometimes it’s Robo-Robert on the other end of the cord, sometimes it’s Barbara Bush. Usually, it’s just annoying.

Nevertheless, setting up an automated phone bank is usually easier than finding flesh-and-blood volunteers. With companies like Republican Robo Calls — who assure the customer they’ve never worked with a Democrat — charging only two to seven cents per call, million dollar campaigns can hardly afford not use them.

Yet for a system supposedly designed to avoid human error, there’s certainly a lot of it. Whether it’s scandalous content, like accusing John McCain of fathering an illegitimate black child in 2000, or just ringing the wrong households, like Rick Santorum phoning Democrats in Michigan, robocalling can be disastrous for both its users and subjects.

The robocalls that peppered Washington state in anticipation of the Republican caucus had their share of trickery as well.


Comments | Topics: Barbara Bush, campaign oddities, Caucuses

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

March 3, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Ron Paul supporter in Mount Vernon sees caucus conspiracy

Mike Newman, Chair of the Skagit County Republican Party, explains the caucus process to voters in Mount Vernon (Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

MOUNT VERNON — Just as Mike Newman, Chairman of the Skagit County Republican Party, was about to set everyone loose to start the caucus process, a hand shot up.

It was Sam Irwin, a Mount Vernon resident since 2006, requesting a public count of votes for the presidential straw poll, which was to be held in smaller precinct groups moments later.

“I think that it’s something important to the community,” Irwin said later of his request for a public count, “that they should know who is supporting who, and who their area is supporting.”

Irwin, a supporter of Ron Paul, was advocating for this vote on advice from officials in the Paul campaign. They told him to get a public count if he could because there have been reports about caucus locations in other states where the vote counts remained unknown – leading some Paul voters to question the accuracy of the final results.

“You hear about the other [candidates] on the news all the time and nothing is said about Ron Paul… then all of a sudden he’s actually the second in delegates,” said Irwin. “I wanted the vote count because I wanted to see where we were at, I didn’t want somebody saying we lost because we didn’t get enough votes for Ron Paul.”


Comments | Topics: campaign oddities, caucus, Caucuses

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