The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

31 August 2005

Ed Murray may or may not have eyes on Senate, Congress

A trio of sources (here, here, and here) are speculating that openly gay state Rep. Ed Murray [D-Seattle] might be considering a run for the 43rd district of the state Senate or perhaps the 7th district of Congress. The Senate theory seems much more plausible for Murray, being that current incumbent Pat Thibaudeau is remarkably old, and that even in a primary contest he'd likely have a much better chance at her than at Jim McDermott. However, he'd be doing this state a huge favour by removing the gigantic stain McDermott has left on this state from his tenure in Congress, being known more for outlandish antics and comments than actually doing anything. Murray may be a solid liberal Democrat, but he's got a leg up on either one of the current officeholders of those seats, either ideologically, mentally, or both. One would assume he'd be at the top of the successor list if either seat opens up (moreso for Thibaudeau's), given that House-mate Frank Chopp would be unlikely to leave his Speakership. Stay tuned.


Doug Clark is a genius

Spokesman Review satirist Doug Clark has reached an all-time high today with his vocal rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way," set to the topic of Spokane's hypocrite-in chief Jim West and titled "Bi Way." You can read the lyrics here and download the song at Dave Oliveria's web log. And, by all means, send your regards to the artist at

30 August 2005

Edmonds in denial

Today's Seattle Times ran an article overviewing the dual-incumbent Democratic primary in the first district of the King County Council. It does a fine job highlighting some of the more notable moments that Bob Ferguson broke with his partisan councilmates based on personal principle, while the others bitched that he wasn't being a fellow rubber stamp. At the same time, it shows partisan hack Carolyn Edmonds desperately attacking his independent-mindedness in order to hang on to her position she's appeared to have already lost, judging from recent events. This despite having nearly the entire local, county, and state Democratic establishment behind her (she still couldn't win the county party endorsement because, you know, it's voted on by real people and not politicians), and leading Ferguson in fundraising. My favourite desperation-induced attack on him is that he "isn't a team player." Yeah, everybody wants all Democrats to be partisan liberals and Republicans to be partisan conservatives, despite that most of the population lies between them. This echoes exactly what is wrong with this country, where in partisan primaries the mainstream candidate gets piled on for not being liberal/conservative enough and voters are stuck having to choose between two poor choices. Whether it be Bush/Kerry, Murray/Nethercutt, or any race like it, the ones who ultimately lose these battles are the people.

29 August 2005

Sam Reed and Jim Camden rock

In Jim Camden's recent posting to his Spin Control web log, he summarizes how Sam Reed has once again gone about pissing off the state's two major parties, and gets in a few shots of his own. Nothing like some good bipartisan bashing. Jim Camden could run for anything under any party and i'd vote for him in a heartbeat. I even hear the state Communists have some openings on their line this year!

28 August 2005

Spokane city council candidate forum

Earlier this month the League of Women Voters held the first candidate forum for those running for the Spokane City Council this year, which was first aired yesterday and re-aired today on local city access. The following is my assessment of the forum and who appeared to have won.

First District
The first candidate forum was between incumbent Al French and challenger Valentina Howard. I may be biased, but it was completely obvious that French was the clear winner in this debate. French was always reserved and appeared confident, sticking to a pro-business, pro-growth, fiscally-conservative theme, while easily dispatching repeated attacks on his record by his opponent. Howard, in contrast, looked consistently nervous and unprepared. She spoke extemporaneously and often in generalities, lacking specific solutions to her theme issues of crime prevention and creating jobs with higher living wages.

Second District
The second district forum featured appointed incumbent Mary Verner, along with challengers Jeffrey Bierman and Dallas Hawkins. The only loser in this group was Hawkins, whose style and responses were often boring. Verner did very well in presentation, appearing very poised and knowledgeble of issues, while Bierman had a lot of substance to his answers and was almost always specific in his positions on issues, despite incessant fidgeting. Both Bierman and Hawkins stuck to fiscally-conservative themes in the area of taxation, and Verner alluded to it as well, though generally took a populist tone to her intentions on fixing the budget shortfall, seeking to go to citizens for options on the issue.

Third District
The free-for-all in the third district contained seven candidates. Out of this field, frequent candidate Barbara Lampert appeared the most versed on issues and consistently provided answers that were brief and to the point. Former Councilman Steve Corker appeared the most experienced and professional out of all. Businessman Daniel Day was the only candidate who often appeared nervous and unable to answer specifically with regularity. Notable of the crowd were Nancy McLaughlin, whose theme focused on family needs and strong fiscal conservatism, and Keith Springer, whose theme focused representing the working class and reforming mass transit.

Weekend update -- Why Seattle government stinks, poll released on I-912

Good article in today's Seattle Times about the complete lack of diverging ideology on the city council and how if you're to the left or right of being a liberal machine Democrat your campaign will be attacked and devoured as if by junk yard dogs. It's nice to see the Times calling out Jan Drago for her half-assed attacks for Casey Corr daring to show any independent-mindedness at all (as a journalist!) and quoting former Councilman Paul Kraabel on how the lack of differing opinion ultimately hurts the city. Also humourous is the heat candidate Darlene Madenwald has taken by endorsing (and being endorsed by) that horribly right-wing fundamentalist Doug Sutherland. It isn't as if he was mayor of liberal Tacoma or ran Democrat-leaning Pierce County for two terms as county executive...

In other news, Republican Portland-based pollster Moore Information has released a poll showing I-912 passing 55-39% with 7% undecided. Surprisingly average results given it was a Republican poll, but in looking at the question asked, not nearly as much so. By asking "How would you vote on State Initiative 912?" it's probably a safe guess that a chunk of respondents did not know the initiative by number and only by the issue at hand, which apparently was absent from the question. Sorry Senator Swecker, you're still going down. By the way, thanks for being one of the small sample of Republicans voting for that horrible transportation package so Democrats can claim "bipartisan support." If there's one thing the Senate doesn't need any more of, it's social authoritarians who abandon fiscal conservative policy freely.

26 August 2005

Anti I-912 strategy

I've read several editorials and opinion pieces in various newspapers around the state recently from the viewpoint of opposing Initiative 912, which repeals part of the recently passed gas tax before parts that have yet to go into effect can do so. These articles more often than not urge Chris Gregoire to use her office to speak out in opposition to the initiative. Hello? All that would do is make the thing pass with 65% instead of 60%. Much of the fuel behind the anti-gas tax movement is from people who are mad that 1) Gregoire raised what was already a higher than average gas tax, and 2) she lied through her teeth throughout the campaign about raising taxes. Gregoire consistently said she'd raise taxes as a last resort during the 2004 campaign, and what happened? Raised in her very first budget. Her gas tax is essentially what opponents claim, a large raise in per-gallon taxes to fund mostly urban Seattle transportation projects (nevermind that this whole thing should be a local and not state issue) and completely screw over border businesses in the process. The reason Gregoire is so unpopular is not entirely because people still think she didn't win the office fairly. There are always going to be some who will never give her a chance based on that, but she's doing a poor job of endearing herself to voters with policies like this that run contradictory to the platform she was elected on. Instead, she's become the sweetheart of the urban Seattle Democratic machine while giving the rest of the state (the part she didn't win, so damn us all) a big middle least until she needs to grab 40% of us to be reelected (good luck with that at this rate). This state may on-the-whole prefer Democrats to Republicans, but nobody likes stereotypical, dishonest politicians.

24 August 2005

Supreme Court to rule on West recall

According to KHQ News tonight, the state Supreme Court actually got a ruling correct for once and is upholding a lower court ruling to allow a recall attempt on Spokane Mayor Jim West. This will allow Shannon Sullivan, a private citizen who seemingly has faced the mayor and his lawyers as a private citizen with no legal background and prevailed, to begin to gather signatures to put the recall on the ballot. Because of West's appeal it will likely not be on the fall ballot because Sullivan and Co. will not have sufficient time to gather the estimated 16,000 signatures needed in time for the vote.

Good luck and many thanks to Sullivan for stepping up to the plate for the future of the city of Spokane on this matter.

23 August 2005

SurveyUSA approval polls for US Senators

Late last week SurveyUSA released approval ratings for all 100 US Senators, as part of a long-term tracking program they've been doing for several months of senators and governors. On the home front, there were real mixed signals for both our senators. Patty Murray has a decent 52/37/11 score, and Maria Cantwell has a slightly lower 47/37/15 score. Since Cantwell is the one with the current target on her back, hers is the one that is important to decipher. SUSA does a good job, and always has, of breaking down their results by demographics, but that often just complicates the interpretation of the numbers. Most factoids are open to interpretation of whether Cantwell is in a good or poor position leading up to her run for reelection, but the following are indisputable:

-Near 50%
-Currently winning self-described moderates and Independents

-Current numbers increasingly worse compared to previous two results
-Poor ratings amongst the 18-34 age group and Hispanics
-13th least popular senator in poll

In short, it depends how one views the poll on whether it's positive or negative. Partisans of both sides will probably claim victory, but it is still apparent that Cantwell is vulnerable at the very least.

21 August 2005

Open Spokane council seat at-a-glance

Today's Spokesman Review contained an article (a free article, thank God) covering the mass of humanity vying to replace term-limited Council member Cherie Rodgers. It did little to separate the seven different candidates, only noting they all agree Joe Albi Stadium should not be sold to private interests and they're all against raising property taxes. I am going to hold off on making an endorsement for this race until I can see the League of Women Voters' candidate forum next weekend, but here is what I know about each candidate so far:

Steve Corker
*former councilman and failed mayoral candidate
*moderate-liberal, though generally labeled the "L" word by area Republicans

Daniel Day

Judith Gilmore
*former council candidate
*does not want to go after Jim West with torches and pitchforks--does that sound like a winning electoral strategy?

Barbara Lampert
*former candidate for everything
*retired nurse
*refuses to fundraise or spend anything on campaigns

Nancy McLaughlin
*active in community affairs, but this is her first run for office

Joyce McNamee
*water fluoridation advocate
*suspected Republican

Keith Springer

Conventional wisdom would give one of the two general election spots to Steve Corker based on name recognition in a crowded race. The other seat appears to be that of Nancy McLaughlin, who has been more active in the race so far than any other candidate, and has the endorsement of the county Republican Party.

19 August 2005

Useless 2006 Senate poll

A big thank you to Rasmussen Reports for showing us Maria Cantwell has a "solid lead" over...people who aren't running against her in the first place. Rasmussen shows Cantwell easily defeating state GOP chair Chris Vance and former Rep. Rick White, completely oblivious to the fact that neither will run against her in 2006. White is tentatively supporting Mike McGavick, and Vance dropped out when McGavick entered. So, why put out a poll showing Cantwell doing so well against people who aren't running against her? For the same reason they, keeping with what they've shown in the past, show Chris Gregoire with majority popular support...trying to show something positive for two figures whose next elections will be difficult. Gregoire might have 51% popularity in urban Seattle, and even that's a big maybe. Look to any other pollster and she's in the low 40s, tops, and most show her in the mid-to-high 30s. Rasmussen needs to get in the ballgame and 1) release some polls that are meaningful in the first place, and 2) expand their sample to more accurately present the state electorate, given that the Senate race is statewide. No way in hell does Cantwell win by 20 points. No way.

Combine Strategic Vision's GOP-biased poll showing Cantwell winning 46-38 over McGavick and Rasmussen's Democrat-wet-dream trouncing of Vance/White, one must deduce Cantwell probably leads McGavick/GOP candidate by roughly 50-35 at the moment, give or take. McGavick's background, social positions, and, of course, money, will more than likely make this race within 4 points either way.

18 August 2005

Drago in trouble, but can Corr beat her?

Moderate-liberal Seattle City Council candidate Casey Corr has been posting multiple press releases on his website about how much his opponent is in trouble. She may well be, and he is a strong opponent who enjoys the backing of the mayor. However, as i've noted in the past, his campaign's joyous press releases are only telling one half of the story. They've been making a big deal out of Jan Drago not receiving the support of various local Democratic Party organizations. While this is a reason for concern, being that Drago is an incumbent who is as liberal or more than these organizations, what the Corr campaign fails to mention is they did not endorse him in her absence. In fact, Corr was not endorsed by any of the five district organizations, with even no-chance-in-hell candidate Angel Bolaños having received one endorsement. This is not out of the question, given that Corr is more centrist than the others seeking these endorsements, but it's still little to rejoice over.

RIP Rep. Meeds

The Seattle Times reported at noon today that former Rep. Lloyd Meeds [D-Everett] has died of cancer at age 77. Meeds served the 2nd Congressional district from 1965 to 1979, defeating incumbent Republican Jack Westland in 1964 on the national Johnson Democratic landslide. Meeds spent his tenure in Congress a close ally of Sens. Scoop Jackson and Warren Magnuson.

Leftist skirmish

Credit the Seattle PI for another good article today, highlighting the ongoing feud between Seattle's two major leftist papers, Seattle Weekly and The Stranger. Apparently, the old, stuck-up Weekly doesn't know how to take a joke. Add another chapter to the city's lefty newspaper skirmish history (leftists don't fight wars, you know).

16 August 2005

Trio of Seattle PI articles

Below are three articles in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer that I recommend:

Democrats not always in Sims' corner
Highlights some higher-profile disagreements between Sims and Democratic members of the Council, notably the heroic Bob Ferguson. Note which Democratic councilman is absent from Sims' endorsement list while we're on the subject:

Congress should butt out on medical marijuana
An opinion piece by state Rep. Toby Nixon [R-Kirkland] urging the state to take the lead in protecting voter-approved medical marijuana legalization rather than trusting Congress to progress on the issue. Nixon, the Eastside's two-term libertarian conservative, does not trust Congress to stand up for the state's rights, a point of which i'm in complete agreement.

Logan to stay elections director
Proving what we all knew all along, once again Ron Sims and the current King County leadership have not learned their lesson. They claim "the job is Logan's to lose." Does he really deserve another chance? Bill Huennekens was axed for his ineptitude in running that department, why not his superior? It's behaviour like this that proves now more than ever that voters need to send Ron Sims and his goons out to pasture and put the county back in the charge of competent leaders.

14 August 2005

District Democrat endorsements

Today's Seattle Times is covering the endorsements and lack thereof by district Democratic organizations in races for mayor and city council. As usual, some of these groups are making a lot of Greg Nickels' lack of opposition for reelection as mayor, and as usual, it becomes apparent that they dropped the ball in recruiting a suitable opponent and need to face that Nickels will be reelected because of it. A partial breakdown, due to some organizations having not updated their sites and an incomplete listing from this article:

34th Democrats:
Mayor: Nickels
Council: Richard Conlin, Nick Licata, and dually Dwight Pelz and Robert Rosencrantz

36th Democrats:
Council: Conlin, Licata, Pelz
Port Commission: Lawrence Molloy and Pat Davis, followed by a cop-out endorsement of four candidates in the open seat

37th Democrats:
Mayor: Nickels
Council: Conlin, Licata, dual endorsements of Jan Drago and Angel Bolaños, dual endorsements of Richard McIver and Pelz

43rd Democrats:
Council: Conlin, Drago, Licata, Pelz

46th Democrats:
Council: Conlin, Licata, dual endorsement of Pelz and McIver

[Update: Thank you to The Stranger's "Slog" for being quicker to update than the aforementioned Democratic websites]

In closing, a brief item that is not newsworthy but slightly humourous nonetheless. The state Democratic website, in a hit piece against the state's three Republican members of Congress on the main page, incorrectly labeled Rep. Doc Hastings of Pasco as representing the fifth district right above listing (correctly) Rep. Cathy McMorris of Colville as also representing the fifth district. Normally i'm not one to care about federal issues, but in the name of joyfully pointing out the error of one of our two adored parties, I felt the need to add.

12 August 2005

Strategic Vision releases Cantwell/McGavick poll

Republican polling group Strategic Vision has released a poll that shows, notably, that incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell leads presumed GOP opponent Mike McGavick by eight points, 46 to 38. SV notes Cantwell is under 50% in their poll, but, after adjusting for partisan bias, she's more than likely hovering around that mark. I have a hard time believing McGavick could already be within single digits of Cantwell, but ultimately I expect to see him prove to be a strong, moderate contender.

In addition to the Senate poll, SV did us the honour of showing our cherished governor remains nearly as popular as pool algae. The head-to-head matchup with Dino Rossi for 2008 was a little tacky given the length of time until then and that everybody knows Rossi would wipe the floor with her in the state's current environment and mood even without them putting it in print once again.

In closing, it appears Washington Democrats overwhelmingly want Sen. Hillary Clinton to be the presidential nominee in 2008 with my personal preferences, Evan Bayh and Joe Biden, each drawing 1%. Washington Republicans are split between former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain, which is a little more promising for centrism in this country, at least until [insert conservative opponent here] runs negative ads saying Giuliani loves gays and killing babies. Is that necessarily a bad thing?

10 August 2005

Connelly column; Alki Foundation endorses Irons

Today's column by Joel Connelly in the Seattle PI summarizes candidate endorsements by the Alki Foundation, Washington Conservation Voters (see link at right), and various local Democratic organizations. Notable in the piece was Alki bolting the Sims camp for David Irons after supporting Sims' reelection in 2001. Unfortunately, Alki also endorsed Jan Drago for reelection, but did have the sense to support Bob Ferguson for county council and split their support for the 8th council seat in Seattle for incumbent Richard McIver and Robert Rosencrantz (not Richard Rosencrantz, as is currently stated in the article).

09 August 2005

PI column by Ted Van Dyk

This is a must-read for anybody seeking change in the leadership of Seattle and King County. Van Dyk continually rips incumbents throughout, pointing out multiple things going wrong and why the incumbents need to be replaced. He specifically goes after Ron Sims (what target is easier?) and bemoans the lack of competition for Mayor Nickels, yet takes him on anyway. The only disappointment is that he didn't touch county council races. I always love it when columnists praise Bob Ferguson for being the only non-partisan hack out of all council Democrats. Read this, top to bottom.

05 August 2005

Corr campaign touting poll showing Drago weak

Casey Corr's campaign for Seattle City Council has released a poll showing incumbent lefty Jan Drago with a reelect number of 27% and a label of "highly vulnerable." A head-to-head matchup poll would have been nice, and as much as i'd like to believe such a poll, ones that try to measure the "reelect number" of incumbents are generally crap. Remember the time that Patty Murray had a reelect number in the mid-30s? Poll respondents could have done this state a huge favour if that number were real. Nonetheless, it remains that Corr is indeed a strong challenger to the incumbent and his independent-mindedness is needed on a council that is lacking such.

04 August 2005

KC Exec. race through the eyes of The Stranger

New article in The Stranger covering the King County executive's race. The best part is the quote by Sims campaign manager Rachel Bianchi, claiming his troubles are based on that he's running for a third term...of course, there's no way it could be because he's a completely inept leader whose only saving grace is the partisan tilt of the county he runs. It's a shame that King County Democrats rule with such an iron fist or the grassroots attempt to get Sims a moderately-strong primary challenger could have panned-out. No matter, for all this article's negativity surrounding David Irons' name recognition and chances, he gives the GOP a shot at knocking off Sims and their first shot at running the county since pre-Locke. Fundraising numbers should be out any day now for July, so one can only hope that Irons can continue at least matching Sims' fundraising, even though Sims had much more to start with.