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 October 2006

Constituent Dynamics polls the 5th and 8th

While the findings hold good news for Democrats, I am personally beginning to doubt the validity of these Constituent Dynamics polls. The big flag for me was that the regional breakdown of the 8th district race had Bellevue moving from a tie to a Darcy Burner lead of 12 points, coupled with a slight Dave Reichert lead in rural Pierce moving to a 21-point lead. These are a bit volatile for my tastes, but people should judge for themselves. At the very least, I'm happy to see somebody poll the 5th. The raw numbers:

5th CD
McMorris [R] 51
Goldmark [D] 46

8th CD
Burner [D] 49
Reichert [R] 47

A surprising result in the 5th is that Goldmark performs better in the rural counties than in Spokane County, which contains the district's sole significant Democratic bastion. Perhaps if he can make a play for rural votes he could win coupled with a slight victory in Spokane County. Looking back at 1994, Tom Foley won Spokane by a slight margin but George Nethercutt won the rural areas by a large enough margin to offset it.

Elsewhere, SurveyUSA has released polls for the Senate race, the Supreme Court race, and our initiatives. Its findings:

Cantwell [D] 54
McGavick [R] 41
Guthrie [L] 2
Dixon [G] 1
Adair [I] 1

Supreme Court
Owens 36
Johnson 31

No 51
Yes 40

No 45
Yes 41

The race to replace Doumit

I feel a bit out of the loop in that today is the first I had heard that one of my preferred legislators, Sen. Mark Doumit [D-Cathlamet], was stepping down effective November 1 to take the job of executive director of the Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA). This happened about three weeks ago, apparently, but is indeed worth covering in that two capable Democrats are seeking the appointment (scheduled for Nov. 11) as if they were campaigning for an election. Former Rep. Brian Hatfield (who also built a strong centrist record as a legislator) is probably considered the favourite for the appointment, but first must schmooze with more PCOs than Cowlitz County Commissioner George Raiter. John Philbrook, a Longview-based labour leader, has also stated he is considering a run.

Hatfield resigned his House seat soon after winning reelection in 2004 to take a job under Lieutenant Gov. Brad Owen. The Nov. 11 PCO meeting will take place in Naselle, best known for its most famous resident, ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, who has been active in Democratic politics since the band's breakup. The PCOs will rank their top three choices for the appointment and county commissioners will choose the ultimate appointee. Considering that the 19th district covers many coastal counties, local favouritism may well come into play.

30 October 2006

The Stranger endorses Hugh Foskett, among others!

Yeah, that's about the only endorsement they offered this year that is worth talking about. As usual, The Stranger's endorsement sheet is a fun read, and, as FDR might say, uncompromisingly liberal. One can easily guess their endorsements in every other race, but in the 43rd district House race, they endorsed UW student Hugh Foskett, whom I posted a half-assed news item about when he first filed with the PDC, mostly to praise the effort of running in a district where 20% would be a blessing. The Stranger explains their endorsement as follows:

Admittedly, there is one Republican we just can't resist endorsing. In the 43rd District race our Democratic candidate of choice, Stephanie Pure, was eliminated in the primary. As a consequence, the state legislature will once again lack a voice for today's youth. Which is why we're issuing a rare Republican endorsement: vote for Hugh Foskett, the Republican running against Jamie Pedersen for this open seat in the Washington State House of Representatives. Foskett is a sophomore at the University of Washington and, as we've seen over the last few weeks, Foskett is quite literally in touch with today's young people.

Not that great of a reason to issue their sole Republican endorsement (sounds like Pure sour grapes more than anything else), but I endorse their endorsement if only for its spontaneity.

23 October 2006

The hell? P-I endorses Esser for Senate

What sort of flawed reasoning is this?

"We've been at odds with the incumbent 48th District Republican senator's votes and views on a list of issues, including simple majority passage of local school measures, gay rights, stem cell research and a woman's right to choose.

That's a substantial list, and if there were a Democratic challenger in the race we believed brought reasoned ideas and a thoroughly progressive approach, that candidate would get the nod.

But the Democratic candidate, former Republican Rodney Tom, doesn't seem to offer that solidly progressive alternative."

So, since Rodney Tom is, gasp, a centrist and not a left-winger, it's worth supporting somebody who agrees with your editorial board even less? "Nominal Democrat" or not, having Rodney Tom replace Esser in the Senate would do far more for the "working Democratic majority" the P-I editorial board desires than retaining a Republican too socially-conservative for his district. Whatever illicit substance(s) you're on, P-I editorial board, get off it, and fast.

Oh yeah, today's P-I also shows they want to continue to play nanny on the question of overbearing strip club regulations. Dumbest. Endorsement. Day. Ever.

22 October 2006

McGavick wins Times endorsement

Both of Seattle's major newspapers issued US Senate endorsements today, with the Post-Intelligencer not surprisingly endorsing Sen. Maria Cantwell for reelection. The bigger story, however, is that the larger and more influential Times chose her opponent, Mike McGavick. Their reasoning:

Some see this election as a referendum on George W. Bush. If we did, we would be for a solid Democratic ticket. But like most Washington voters, we take our candidates one at a time. Mike McGavick is an unusual businessman-politician. He managed the multibillion-dollar turnaround of Safeco Corporation, sacrificing some jobs but saving many others. He showed a sense of social purpose in his stress on racial inclusion at Safeco. He knows politics, having worked for Sen. Slade Gorton. He has run a clean campaign.

In other news, the P-I formally endorsed Darcy Burner in the 8th district, also in contrast to the moderate Times.

19 October 2006

SurveyUSA: 8th district still a barnburner

The 8th Congressional district is still tight according to a SurveyUSA poll released yesterday. It shows incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert [R-Auburn] leading opponent Darcy Burner [D-Carnation] by a margin of 50 to 47, virtually unchanged since their poll in late September where Reichert "led" 50-48. Both of these lie easily within the margin of error of 4.7%. Intriguing demographics from poll crosstabs include:

-Gender gap: Reichert wins men by 18 points, Burner wins women by 13 points.
-Partisan sampling: 39R/38D/22I, Burner wins self-described Independents 52-42, as well as self-described moderates, by 56-43.
-Bush approval: Reichert retains 21% who disapprove of President Bush's performance, contrasted with only 3% approving Bush in support of Burner.

17 October 2006

Seattle newspaper endorsements

After seeing that today's Seattle P-I endorsed Democrat Eric Oemig in the 45th district, I thought now a good time to run down who the P-I and Times are supporting thus far. The Times has a schedule posted for future endorsements, as it has yet to voice its preferences for legislative races and others.

The P-I endorses:
32nd Senate: Darlene Fairley [D]
33rd Senate: Karen Keiser [D]
43rd Senate: Ed Murray [D]
45th Senate: Eric Oemig [D]
46th Senate: Ken Jacobsen [D]
2nd House: Tom Campbell [R]
25th House: Dawn Morrell [D]
26th House: Pat Lantz [D]
32nd House: Ruth Kagi [D]
33rd House: Shay Schual-Berke [D]
34th House: Joe McDermott [D]
37th House: Eric Pettigrew [D]
38th House: John McCoy [D]
41st House: Fred Jarrett [R], Judy Clibborn [D]
43rd House: Frank Chopp [D]
45th House: Larry Springer [D]
48th House: Ross Hunter [D]

The Times endorses:
2nd Congress: Rick Larsen [D]
5th Congress: Cathy McMorris [R]
8th Congress: Dave Reichert [R]
I-920: Yes
I-933: No
I-937: No

Most interesting in my mind is the Times changing course on Dave Reichert in the 8th district. They endorsed Dave Ross in the 2004 open seat, but were quite critical of current Democratic challenger Darcy Burner's campaign style and approach in their endorsement editorial. Some of their criticisms are fair, others are taken right from the GOP playbook ("Perhaps more troubling is her spotty voting record."). Still, as one of the few Reichert supporters amongst the blogger crowd I tend to associate with, I am on the whole pleased with their endorsement. The reason I support Reichert in this race is based on two main points, both of which are covered in the Times editorial:

1. Burner's campaign is being run against President Bush far more than against Dave Reichert. As a politico who cares far more about local races than national races, this alone makes it difficult for me to support Burner. I believe in Tip O'Neill's old saying that "all politics is local," and it's also why I think Reichert will win reelection in spite of the national turn to the Democratic Party.

2. In spite of all Burner's statistics, Dave Reichert is the moderate in this race. He is not a true moderate like a Rodney Tom or a Sam Reed, people whose ideology is so even-handed that they do not cleanly fit in either party, but is indeed a moderate in the Republican Party and has shown more independence in his single term than Jennifer Dunn did in her six. I see little in Darcy Burner's candidacy that distinguishes her from her liberal Democratic base, and while I do not agree with Congressman Reichert on every issue, I do admire his occasional independence and believe he deserves a second term.

This said, do not fret, my Democratic compadr├ęs. I cannot vote in the race anyway, and will be happily voting to reelect the lovably-moderate Adam Smith in November.

14 October 2006

First Senate debate

The P-I and News Tribune have summaries, but linked below are video and transcript of the Maria Cantwell-Mike McGavick debate before the Spokane Rotary Club. Seems to me that neither were spectacular, but neither were poor, either.


13 October 2006

Next stop on the poll rollercoaster

I had meant to post this earlier, but due to being at the way-cool Killers concert at the Paramount tonight I had to put it off until now. So, it seems we have a new poll for the 8th CD, a follow-up to the RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics poll from late August. That poll showed Democratic candidate Darcy Burner leading GOP incumbent Dave Reichert 49-46 with a ~3% MOE. The current incarnate shows a rough flip from the last with Reichert leading 48-45, yet still within the MOE. Its partisan sample was 39 Independent, 32 Republican, and 29 Democratic, which does not quite seem right, at least in that it is at-odds with the most-recent SurveyUSA partisan sample. The breakdown by region has the two candidates tied in the city of Bellevue, and Reichert with modest leads in rural King and Pierce counties.

It is worth noting that Constituent Dynamics also polled the Idaho 1st district race, where Democrat Larry Grant appears to be catching up to ultra-conservative GOP nominee Bill Sali. Sali leads by 49-43, though this is the first poll I've seen for this race that did not have an unusually-massive amount of undecided respondents. Personally, I hope mainstream Idaho Republicans will be willing to cross over for Grant if only to keep the inept nut their party nominated out of Congress. Their bench is so deep that they would almost assuredly be able to take the seat back in 2008, and spare the nation a Rep. Bill Sali.

10 October 2006

Seven of seven governors can't be wrong?

That's what today's Seattle Times essentially asks as its lead article in the Local section, as it reports on a news conference featuring Gov. Chris Gregoire and three former governors speaking out against Initiative 933. Democratic Govs. Gary Locke and Mike Lowry joined GOP elder statesman and ideological badass Dan Evans at the conference, and also read statements by our other three living former governors, Democrats Al Rosellini and Booth Gardner, and Republican John Spellman.

I-933 seeks to force government to reimburse property owners monetarily if government regulations cause their property value to decrease. Oregon passed a ballot measure that is sort of similar in 2004 with 61% of the vote, over the protest of its current and ex-governors. Robert Mak did a grand job of covering I-933 and its similarities/differences from the Oregon measure in Sunday's installment of Up Front.

03 October 2006

Spreadsheet update

Legislative prediction spreadsheets are now updated for the general election. Predictions were mostly unchanged, save for the 17th surprise, but I intend to take a deeper look at each of the races (especially in regard to campaign finances) in a mid-to-late October update. Whether that will be the final update or not, I'm not yet sure. New in this update is a numerical ranking of contests in likelihood to change hands, a top 10 listing in the Senate and a top 25 listing in the House. Seats marked in the Chg field are obviously at the top ranks of each list. I think this feature will be helpful because readers can easily sort the spreadsheet by the Rank column in ascending order to see a list of the most hotly-contested seats. For those who are too lazy to download, Democrat Derek Kilmer was ranked #1 of Senate races for his fine campaign in the open 26th, and fellow Democrat Kevin Van de Wege was ranked #1 in House races for his rematch with Jim Buck in the 24th.