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.

28 February 2007

You've heard it everywhere: Steinbrueck out

Seems we will have an open Seattle City Council seat this fall after all. Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of one of the better members, in my opinion. Councilman Peter Steinbrueck has announced he will not seek reelection to his seat and will instead focus on defeating a new Viaduct and continuing to push his surface/transit option. Council President Nick Licata thinks Steinbrueck may be lining up a run for mayor in two years, and some good press fighting a rebuild could certainly help him out.

As for electoral repercussions, four challengers are already running for the Council, and I'm sure some will change their focus to this open seat in the near future. According to the P-I, Shea Anderson is currently challenging incumbent Jean Godden and Tim Burgess is challenging incumbent David Della, with Bruce Harrell and Venus Velázquez having not committed to a seat yet. I had been under the impression Velázquez was also challenging Godden, though the P-I says differently.

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26 February 2007

Ammons: Why the GOP keeps losing elections

Linked above is a superb article by David Ammons from the other day (hat tip to Whacky Nation) about the flight of Dan Evans Republicans away from the increasingly right-wing GOP, and how Rep. Fred Jarrett is the last one sticking around to fight. The underlying theme plays on what myself and others have been saying since before the election, that the state GOP is absolutely failing to adapt to changing political attitudes and would rather run right-wingers everywhere than challenge the swing districts.

To their credit, they have lately been pretty good about running moderates or at least moderate-talking conservatives for major offices, but downright suck at finding good candidates for downballot races. This isn't to say there aren't any suitable candidates out there, or that they aren't willing to run. Case in point, former Rep. Renee Radcliff Sinclair is running for the Snohomish County Council this year, and is likely to face fellow former Rep. Mike Cooper for an open swing seat. Radcliff Sinclair represents the classic Evans Republican wing of the GOP, and will be difficult to beat in a swing district, even against as strong a candidate as Cooper. This is the type of candidate the GOP must run in swing and Democratic-leaning districts if they care about being a part of government in this state. Otherwise, we're well on our way to being a miniature California.


23 February 2007

Murphy out, McCain wins endorsement

Yesterday, David Ammons reported that our three-term Democratic state treasurer, Mike Murphy, will retire at the end of his term. Murphy also says he's aiming to shoot down proposed Supersonics and NASCAR deals the state is considering, and wants to make the office he's vacating the state's second nonpartisan statewide office. I had rated his retirement potential as moderate during my statewide speculative piece last December, so I'm pleased to have not been way off the mark on that, but am disappointed that Ammons did not speculate on any candidacies for the vacancy. I was not sure who might run for the position on the Republican side then, nor am now, though I think Thurston County Treasurer Robin Hunt might be taking a shot on the Democratic side. She ran for state auditor in 1992 but lost the Democratic line to Brian Sonntag (who has said he will seek a fifth term in 2008). Any other speculations for candidates on this now wide-open race is much appreciated.

In other news, GOP presidential candidate John McCain has received the endorsement from the state's highest Republican officeholder, Attorney General Rob McKenna. Other GOP statewide officeholders, Sam Reed and Doug Sutherland, have not offered presidential endorsements and Reed says he does not intend to because of his responsibilities as secretary of state.

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21 February 2007

Slow time of year

I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, contrary to what one may think due to the lack of posting as of late. Since the legislature is not voting on much right now, that I've grown tired of the Viaduct issue, and there has not been any election-related news, I haven't had much reason to come over and post. Considering that this weblog tends to deal more with election news rather than partisan perspective, the latter is most at fault, though I admittedly have not had much issue-based inspiration either. In short, I apologize for the lack of content recently, and hope to have some news of interest to write about soon.


12 February 2007

French on verge of mayoral announcement

City Councilman Al French will formally announce his campaign for mayor of Spokane tomorrow, according to a tip from local news outlets and a source close to the campaign. About three weeks ago I offered a post speculating about the possibility of a rematch between French and Mayor Dennis Hession and stating preference for French in such a race. Now that French is in, I look forward to following his campaign and think he will have the advantage against the appointed mayor. It also seems increasingly likely that there won't be a third strong candidate in the race, as multiple potential candidates have declined interest. The Spokesman Review interviewed some of the possibilities recently, and among those who are not running are:

-Former Congressional candidate Don Barbieri
-Senator Lisa Brown
-Former Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers
-Jim West recall leader Shannon Sullivan

Councilwoman Mary Verner left the door open for a run, but still sounds reluctant to enter, and would likely hurt Hession more than French as they both tend to draw support of more liberal voters. Former Mayor Sheri Barnard was also interviewed, but said she would not enter unless there is no female candidate. Seems like a lousy reason to run, but even if she did, her campaign would be a likely non-starter after failed mayoral runs in three of the last four elections (if memory serves me correctly).

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09 February 2007

Gun control bill a tough sell even to Democrats

According to an article in today's Seattle P-I, Democratic legislative leaders are predicting Senator Tom's SB5197 will finally get a vote in the Senate but will likely die in the House, where Speaker Chopp says many in his own caucus oppose it. The bill, which has often been proposed in recent years but always been bottled-up in committee, would require sellers at gun shows to conduct the same background checks as is currently required of standard gun retailers. The aim of the bill is to make sure convicted felons cannot purchase firearms using the so-called "gun show loophole," but its critics consider it government oversight of private transactions.

Personally, I'm quite surprised this bill is so controversial. While I admit that gun control is one of the issues I'm not so libertarian on (and a reason I don't quite jive with the LP), the idea seems like common sense to me. Am I wrong on this?

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The Grange is back

And they're pushing for getting rid of our lame "pick-a-party" primary (good) in favour of having nonpartisan races for all state offices (not so sure). I've always loved the Grange for sticking up for Joe Voter against our increasingly-powerful state parties, and I want to get back to a more open primary just as much as the next guy, but I have a feeling that pursuing nonpartisan elections either in the legislature or as an intiative will be a waste of time and effort. For people like you and I, those who obsess over the intricacies of the electoral process and place election day on a pedestal on-par with Christmas and Thanksgiving, this sort of idea becoming law wouldn't be too big of an issue. However, I doubt most voters will be up to researching candidate backgrounds without the luxury of handy little letters after people's names. I think the Grange should save their money and be prepared to push for statewide instant-runoff voting after Pierce County shows us how much it kicks ass. After all, Sam Reed has already said he likes the idea, and if 2004 was any indication, another Grange-Reed tagteam would stand a good chance of success at the ballot box.

Update: I just found a post at Northwest Progressive Institute about this topic. Seems to me the folk at NPI are more partisan than progressive these days.


03 February 2007

White, Vaska up for US Attorney job

According to a post by the P-I's Joel Connelly (linked above), former north Seattle Congressman Rick White and 2004 attorney general candidate Michael Vaska are pursuing the US Attorney spot for western Washington. The spot was vacated by John McKay, who was first appointed to the spot in October 2001, and is filled in the interim by former Yakima County Prosecutor Jeff Sullivan. White has been out of office since being defeated by Jay Inslee for a third term in 1998, but was courted to run against Maria Cantwell last year, whom he defeated in the 1994 GOP sweep.

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02 February 2007

Vote on Murray bill on the horizon

According to the News Tribune, a vote on Senator Ed Murray's domestic partnership bill will be coming in the near future. The bill stands a strong chance of passage given that the House bill, HB1351, has a majority of representatives signed on as co-sponsors and its Senate counterpart, SB5336, needs only four affirmative votes to pass on top of its 21 co-sponsors. For the record, three of HB1351's sponsors are Republicans: Reps. Shirley Hankins, Fred Jarrett, and Maureen Walsh.

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