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 2006

AWB ratings for 2006 -- finally

Long after other interest groups released their legislative scoresheets, the Association of Washington Business finally released theirs, just in time for primary season. Given the short session of the legislature earlier this year, and an apparent lack of contentious business-related bills, ratings are unusually high across the board. 2005 gave rather low ratings, so this year may help coax the AWB board to endorse a higher amount of Democrats than usual. Consistently pro-business incumbents such as Derek Kilmer, Tami Green, and Brian Blake ought not have to worry.

There were a few surprises in the Democratic numbers, especially the unusually high scores by liberal representatives like Jim Moeller and Kathy Haigh. The bulk of the House caucus rated 43, with four liberal reps rating lower, including chronic bottom-dwellers Maralyn Chase and John McCoy. In the Senate, Adam Kline won the yearly contest against Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Pat Thibaudeau for lowest-rating Seattle lefty, his second year in a row.

High House Democrats
1. Brian Blake 61
2t. Jim Moeller 57
2t. Larry Springer 57
4t. Deb Wallace 52
4t. Derek Kilmer 52
4t. Tami Green 52
4t. Dawn Morrell 52
4t. Kathy Haigh 52

Low House Democrats
1. Bob Hasegawa 35
2t. John McCoy 39
2t. Maralyn Chase 39
2t. Mary Lou Dickerson 39

High Senate Democrats
1. Tim Sheldon 94
2. Mary Margaret Haugen 75
3t. Paull Shin 71
3t. Tracey Eide 71
3t. Jim Kastama 71

Low Senate Democrats
1t. Adam Kline 56
1t. Craig Pridemore 56
3t. Debbie Regala 59
3t. Pat Thibaudeau 59
3t. Jeanne Kohl-Welles 59

Most surprising amongst the Republican figures is the broad difference between the top and bottom scores in each house. Generally the bottom of the GOP caucus will still rate in the high 70s or 80s, but in the House stretched into the 60s this year. The Senate numbers were packed together so tightly between high and low scores that little information can be derived from them. Simply a matter of a three votes separated the highest and lowest senators. Also, Rodney Tom was nowhere near the bottom of the GOP pack, rating in the middle of the caucus at 87. I, for one, hope he continues his business-friendly record in the Senate Democratic Caucus.

High House Republicans
1t. Toby Nixon 100
1t. Barbara Bailey 100
3t. 7 tied at 96

Low House Republicans
1. Tom Campbell 65
2. Fred Jarrett 70
3. Maureen Walsh 78
4t. 7 tied at 83

High Senate Republicans
1t. Cheryl Pflug 100
1t. Dan Swecker 100
1t. Dale Brandland 100
3t. 14 tied at 94

Low Senate Republicans
1. Bob Morton 82
2. Bob Oke 86
3t. Pam Roach 88
3t. Jim Honeyford 88
5t. Bob McCaslin 92
5t. Alex Deccio 92

30 August 2006

Muni League ratings

The King County Municipal League has released their candidate interview ratings for the 2006 primary and general elections, linked above. I've rehashed the data below for some of the better legislative contests this cycle.

Primary

43rd House - Democrat: Lynne Dodson, Outstanding; Jamie Pedersen, Very Good; Stephanie Pure, Very Good; Bill Sherman, Very Good; Jim Street, Very Good; Dick Kelley, Good.

47th Senate - Democrat: Ed Crawford, Outstanding; Claudia Kauffman, Very Good.

General
30th Senate: Tracey Eide [D-i], Outstanding; Renee Maher [R], Adequate.
30th House 1: Mark Miloscia [D-i], Very Good; Anthony Kalchik [R], Adequate.
30th House 2: Skip Priest [R-i], Outstanding; Helen Stanwell [D], Adequate.

31st Senate: Yvonne Ward [D], Very Good; Pam Roach [R-i], Good.
31st House 1: Karen Willard [D], Very Good; Dan Roach [R-i], Good.
31st House 2: Jan Shabro [R-i], Very Good; Christopher Hurst [D], Very Good.

41st House 1: Fred Jarrett [R-i], Outstanding; Dale Murphy [D], Very Good.
41st House 2: Judy Clibborn [D-i], Very Good; Erik Fretheim [R], Good.

45th Senate: Toby Nixon [R], Very Good; Eric Oemig [D], Good.
45th House 1: Roger Goodman [D], Very Good; Jeffrey Possinger [R], Good.
45th House 2: Larry Springer [D-i], Outstanding; Tim Lee [R], Adequate.

47th Senate: Mike Riley [R], Adequate; Democrats above.
47th House 1: Geoff Simpson [D-i], Very Good; Donna Watts [R], Adequate.
47th House 2: Pat Sullivan [D-i], Very Good; Andrew Franz [R], Very Good.

48th Senate: Luke Esser [R-i], Very Good; Rodney Tom [D], Outstanding.
48th House 1: Ross Hunter [D-i], Outstanding; Nancy Potts [R], Not Qualified.
48th House 2: Deborah Eddy [D], Very Good; Bret Olson [R], Adequate.

29 August 2006

Trio of Senate polls?

In the past week we have new polls from Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA, and Strategic Vision on the state's US Senate race, though the SurveyUSA poll I only have unsubstantiated information for as it is not posted on their website yet. The results:

Rasmussen Reports [I]: Maria Cantwell 46 [-2%] Mike McGavick 40 [+3%]
SurveyUSA [I]: Cantwell 53 McGavick 36 Adair 3 Dixon 3 Guthrie 3 (Edited with verification)
Strategic Vision [R]: Cantwell 48 McGavick 43 [-1%]

Rasmussen appears to have reverted to its consistent small Cantwell lead results and it's probable their July result of 48-37 was either an outlier or a brief result of Cantwell's initial ad blitz. The SurveyUSA poll would certainly be good for the incumbent if the source I caught it from is correct, though I'm curious if that is the case will the Democrats badmouthing their methodology last week (when they had Dave Reichert out to a decent lead) change their tune? In my experience, SurveyUSA is consistently fair and usually more accurate than any of the other major independent pollsters, robo-polling or not.

25 August 2006

Reichert-Burner poll!

Count me amongst the excited. I had been patiently waiting for a reputable Independent pollster to cover the race, and SurveyUSA has released one taken just a few days ago. Dave Reichert is leading -- by a much larger margin than I would have expected, I might add -- by a margin of 54-41. I guess I've been hanging around too many Burner lovefest blogs. The margin of error is +/-4, with 609 respondents. Notable demographics broken down below, click the link for all of them:

-Reichert has a solid lead amongst men, 58-37, and a marginal lead amongst women, 50-44
-Burner leads amongst voters 65 years and older
-On party affiliation Reichert loses only 6% of Republicans vs. Burner losing 14% of Democrats; self-described Independents go for incumbency by a 54-40 margin
-Self-described moderates split 47-47, slightly more liberals supporting Reichert (22%) than conservatives supporting Burner (11%)

Most key of all demographics, I believe, is that Reichert is retaining 27% of voters who disapprove of President Bush's job approval. Depending on point of view, this could either mean that Darcy Burner needs to try harder to tie him to Bush or that people aren't buying it. Considering that the bulk of her campaign has focused on that thus far, I tend to favour that simply not enough voters believe her.

Post-Intelligencer endorses Street in 43rd

The Seattle P-I has endorsed former Seattle City Councilman and King Co. Superior Court Judge Jim Street in the Democratic primary to replace Rep. Ed Murray. The editorial board praises the quality of all six Democrats, naming Stephanie Pure as especially exceptional amongst the rest, but endorsed Street due to his lengthy experience in elected office.

This marks the first major newspaper endorsement of the primary season, and should provide a minor boost to Street's chances. For the record, I'm still sticking with my Jamie Pedersen prediction.

23 August 2006

WSLCB chases business from Seattle

This bugs me. I had read something a few months back about a proposed malt liquor ban in some neighbourhoods of downtown Seattle, a big brother effort to keep drunks off the street, and today's Seattle Times has a follow-up on this poorly-conceived effort by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Small-time convenience stores are afraid that having these popular products banned will cause sufficient damage to put them out of business, and considering most of these stores have little space and little product beyond beer, soda, and snack food I think this policy will have a large and unwelcome effect on small business downtown. Proponents of this authoritarian tactic are quoted in the article as pooh-poohing the plight of these businesses by suggesting they sell other products like groceries and flowers -- you know, things that people don't go to convenience stores to buy. As far as I'm concerned, these yuppie elitists should move to the suburbs. Living in an urban environment is not about living free from the less-savoury parts of society, and trying to control vice by restricting business is not the way to go about pandering to these pansies, WSLCB.

21 August 2006

Legislative prediction update

The links to the right have been updated, in spite of the PDC's tardiness in uploading C4 reports for July fundraising. I'm tired of waiting, and if I need to do another update before August numbers would normally be posted, then I will.

I heeded some reader suggestions for the spreadsheets, there is now a total at the bottom for seat distribution, a Notes box to explain rating changes, and predicted primary winners are now in bold type. I also hyperlinked campaign websites from the spreadsheet for those that I'm aware of, and if anybody knows of campaign sites that are not listed then I would appreciate a heads-up.

Considering that I am not privy to new fundraising, there were few changes on this update and the main point for uploading the new files was the format changes. I reassessed a few races and am now predicting Christine Rolfes [D] to win the 23rd district House seat occupied by Bev Woods, as well as currently listing Bret Olson [R] as favoured to take the seat being vacated by Rodney Tom back for the GOP. Brad Benson is still on the bubble, but without new C4 reports I left it as a GOP leaner. Enjoy, and as always, feedback is appreciated.

Where's Will?

Yeah, I went to Pike Place Politics a few days back and found a redirect page that didn't redirect me to a "new site," and now a totally different blog is up at the PPP address. What's going on here?

19 August 2006

No'Sullivan

Just came across an amusing post at Olyblog regarding the GOP candidacy of former Thurston Co. Commissioner Kevin O'Sullivan, seems this particular member has created a Caf├ępress account to sell merchandise reading "Reject Kevin No'Sullivan" for Bob Macleod supporters. I think it's a cute idea.

17 August 2006

Reichert-Burner more competitive - Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd's rankings of the most competitive House races at the National Journal website were updated yesterday, with the 8th district race between incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert [R] and Darcy Burner [D] now ranked as 19th nationally (up five spots from 24th). Looks like you need a subscription to read the tip sheets, but the chart is something to look at. The unfortunate thing is some of the best Republicans in Congress are in the top 10, at this point I'd be happy to keep either Shays or Simmons, I've given up hope on both.

16 August 2006

Supreme Court races polled (!)

Even more surprising than SurveyUSA polling our meaningless US Senate primaries is that they polled something interesting, all three state Supreme Court races. The sampling of "likely voters" was quite small at 279, and has a 6% margin of error as a result. The findings:

Pos. 2

Susan Owens [i] 28%
Stephen Johnson 11%
Richard Smith 11%
Michael Johnson 10%
Norman Ericson 9%

Pos. 8
Gerry Alexander [i] 36%
John Groen 32%

Pos. 9
Tom Chambers [i] 41%
Jeannette Burrage 32%

Even with the high amount of undecideds, the internal demographics on here are fun to look at. One surprising tidbit there is that Burrage is winning Democrats while Chambers is dominating Republicans. Considering that Chambers is a center-left justice and that Burrage is supposedly not qualified, that's something of a revelation.

Also, regarding the Alexander-Groen race, I've decided I'm going to write-in Dan Savage. I've been sour on Groen from the start, and was considering voting for Alexander until he went the wrong way and cost us the DOMA decision, so I cannot bring myself to vote for either of them. Wasting a vote on a write-in is still less a waste than spending my vote on either of those clowns.

Tacoma councilman in hot water (again)

Foul-tempered Tacoma City Councilman Tom Stenger was reprimanded by the rest of the Council Tuesday for calling a citizen "prejudiced" and a "bigot" during a Council meeting earlier this month. He also was picked up on microphone several months ago cursing fellow Democrat and fellow Councilman Rick Talbert.

With the reprimand Stenger has lost his committee chairmanships.

14 August 2006

Senate primary poll

I have no idea why KING5 would pay for this when the nominees are a foregone conclusion, but SurveyUSA released a poll today of the US Senate Democratic and Republican primaries, MOE +/-3, taken 8/11-8/13. The results:

Democrats
Maria Cantwell [i] 90%
Michael Goodspaceguy Nelson 3%
Hong Tran 2%
Mohammad Said 2%
Mike The Mover 0%

Republicans
Mike McGavick 66%
Warren Hanson 6%
Brad Klippert 3%
William Chovil 3%
Barry Massoudi 2%
Gordon Allen Pross 1%

In spite of the polls being a waste of time, it's downright humiliating that Tran is statistically-tied with space cadet Nelson and Mohammad Said, a failed Senate candidate in 2004 and failed gubernatorial candidate in 1996.

It is also a sad commentary on the state of our Democratic Party that Mike The Mover is polling 0%. Get with the program, Democrats.

32nd Democrats are a feisty bunch

Postman had a great post this morning about the recurring feud between Sen. Darlene Fairley and Rep. Maralyn Chase, both 32nd district Democrats with voting records at the left side of their caucus. At issue was the candidacy of Chris Eggen, who filed at the last minute against Fairley for the sole purpose of trying to broker peace between the legislators. I had heard some rumours coming out of that district prior to filing week that Fairley was going to retire at the last moment so Carolyn Edmonds could jump in at the last moment and screw Chase out of the opportunity, but even if there were any credence to that gossip Eggen's candidacy effectively kept Fairley from dropping out and choosing a successor. After the failed peace offering Eggen says he will not make any further attempts and will stay in the race but not campaign. Looks like the feud will continue at least two more years!

For the record, Kenmore City Councilman David Baker is challenging Fairley in November, but is unlikely to win. Hell, in that district breaking 40% would be a success.

13 August 2006

Save us, Sam Reed

Today's P-I editorial concerns the state of our primary system, the one few of us wanted but a big brother judge imposed on us. I think the editors make some good points about how a partisan primary has lowered candidate participation due to the shift of power to the change-handicapped partisans from the independent crossover voters. I'm glad the MSM is still talking about potential primary changes and not acting as if our current lame system is settled law, and given that Secretary of State Sam Reed has considered both their nonpartisan primary and instant runoff solutions, I have faith that he will work with the Grange to put a primary ballot initiative up that we can be proud of again. Like a rugged knight slaying the partisan goon soldiers and federal judge dragons. Or something.

11 August 2006

Gov in the money

Today's Times has a piece about how Gov. Gregoire is already vacuuming up as much dough as she can in preparation for what will probably be a difficult reelection campaign. She already has raised over $1 million, over half of which was done in the past several months. Partisan talking heads differ as to why she has raised so much, but I tend to believe the Republican view that she's preparing for a Rossi rematch and it's never too early to start a warchest. If it happens, that election will set fundraising records that will stand for years to come.

10 August 2006

It's in the Times

I found two noteworthy articles in the Local section of today's Seattle Times. The first is a right good profile of Green Party US Senate candidate Aaron Dixon. The text contains blunt commentary on incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell [D], including the juicy statement that he would not be unhappy if his candidacy drew enough votes to elect a Senator Mike McGavick. Given that I have no declared horse in this race, and in spite of that Dixon is the only of the four main projected general election candidates I can say with 100% certaintly I would not vote for in any scenario, I admit I'm glad he is in the race. His candidacy makes this race take on a new facet and is all the more enjoyable for politicos.

Elsewhere, Mercer Island apparently elected a crook. Two-term Councilman Sven Goldmanis was arrested yesterday on suspicion of theft and fraud, stemming from a false insurance claim on approximately $10,000 worth of missing watches (who the hell has that much money invested in watches in the first place?). Councilman Goldmanis is now being held in the King County jail.

09 August 2006

2006 legislative prediction download

As promised, download links for my legislative predictions are available in the system tray to the right. The files are Microsoft Excel XP, and include candidates who filed for House and Senate races along with personal predictions. I intend to update them periodically as new information is available, generally around mid-month due to PDC finance reporting.

I want to believe that Goldmark poll too, but...

...it's crap. Lake Research operated a quasi push-poll by lacing the questions with negative references to Cathy McMorris' record, and the results that have the candidates in a statistical tie are not reliable. For all the hell raised about the Dave Reichert push-poll, I'm surprised to have not seen similar condemnation for the 5th district one.

I do, however, think the poll served its purpose. The DCCC added the race to its targeted seat list.

06 August 2006

Coming soon

In the coming days I hope to have Excel spreadsheets available for download listing all candidates for the House and Senate this year, complete with predictions. I intend to update as weeks go by, following new fundraising numbers and campaign news.