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.

15 September 2005

Ammons on the ball with 2006 legislative outlook

David Ammons proved he knows his stuff in his legislative outlook column published by the Associated Press and run Sunday in the Kitsap Sun. He is correct that the Republicans have very little hope to take back the Senate, despite a smaller deficit than in the House.

The Republicans dropped the ball last year in Senate races. They had multiple seats they could have won and strengthened their lead, but instead dropped two to Democrats, most sorrowfully the 49th district seat held by Don Carlson. In Carlson's absence, ideology in the Senate GOP caucus is conservative across the board. Given that, the GOP isn't doing bad for themselves, but they have to protect many of those conservatives in 2006 and only have even a remote shot of knocking off two or three Democratic incumbents. Despite that it's likely the GOP will win seats in the House, even possibly taking it back, their chances in the Senate are slim and could lose seats just because the wrong half of seats are up for election this time.

Let's face it, this state is in the midst of some serious Democrat fatigue. Gregoire is still unpopular and it is increasingly more because of her horrible fiscal and economic policies than because people wanted Dino Rossi. Her party has ruled her first session as if a one-party state and pooh-poohed any questions brought up by minority Republicans, and the one bill she failed on was one of the few worthwhile efforts her party put forward, but couldn't keep her own caucus in line to extend state anti-discrimination laws to gays and lesbians. Democrats are paying for their hubris in the court of public opinion, but will it extend to the midterm elections? Probably not at the same pitch it's currently at, but Republican gains are likely when you have a handful of Democrats winning by meager margins like Tami Green and Pat Lantz. Paul Berendt is in for a surprise if he thinks voters are stupid enough to vote for his party because Bush sucks. 2006 will be a referendum on Gregoire, and she'd better start caring about more of the state than downtown Seattle if she wants to keep her legislative majorities intact. The only unfortunate thing about split government is it will force her to stop being such a stubborn liberal and allow her to take credit for some decent compromises. That's ok, she'll still get creamed by Dino.


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