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.

29 March 2007

Three's a crowd for Hession

Two days ago the Spokesman Review reported what had been rumoured weeks before, that Mary Verner, a liberal member of the City Council, is jumping into this fall's mayoral race. Initially appointed in 2004, Verner was overwhelmingly retained in 2005 in her downtown/south hill district. Her entry causes potential problems for Dennis Hession, who would have otherwise enjoyed support of most Spokane liberals, and could very well continue the recent tradition of incumbent mayors coming in third in the primary. Assuming no other credible candidates enter (it's early, but the field is already rather crowded), I suspect Al French will win the primary with support in the low 40s while Hession and Verner split the liberal vote. If Verner is indeed able to win a spot in the general with French the race will be a barnburner.

For those who remember all the way back to 2005, I supported Verner in her run for a full term to the Council. I like her and find her to be an honest and hardworking public servant, and although French remains my choice in the race I think Verner too would be a good mayor. With any luck, such a general election will occur and the city will have a choice between two fine candidates.

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22 March 2007

Reardon foe drops out

In a somewhat surprising move, Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart, who was the assumed Republican nominee for county executive against incumbent Aaron Reardon, has dropped out of the race citing fundraising issues most prominently. His intent to run had been well-known for months, yet had only raised about $20,000 compared to over $220,000 for Reardon, according to the News Herald. Considering that Reardon is a fiscally-conservative centrist sitting on a ton of money, the GOP will have a tough time finding a candidate who can still have a shot at winning. This article mentions John Koster as a potential candidate, one who would provide the GOP a strong nominee, but I have a difficult time seeing him entering the race at this late stage.

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21 March 2007

Primary lives?

After Rep. Sam Hunt [D-Olympia] introduced a bill to eliminate the state's 2008 presidential primary and was backed by Dwight Pelz, I expected it would succeed and Washington's national convention delegates would be decided by solely partisan caucuses. Now Pelz says they are giving up on the effort, which was opposed by the office of the Secretary of State and Gov. Gregoire. However, the DNC says they will not allow convention delegates to be chosen from both a primary and caucus, so Pelz gets to choose which his party uses. The Republicans have yet to pick what portion of delegates will be chosen via the primary, but Sam Reed hopes for at least half to be alloted in that fashion.

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19 March 2007

Block Jr. in for Port

According to a recent Public Disclosure Commission filing, Jack Block Jr. is running for Seattle Port Commission against incumbent Bob Edwards. If the name sounds familiar, it should, as Jack Block Sr. served on the Port Commission prior to being defeated by Lawrence Molloy in 2001. Block Jr. has served as a member of the Burien City Council since 2003, and is a Democrat (the office is nonpartisan, however).

Just about all I know about Block is contained in this post, so at this point it's difficult to judge how serious a challenge he can pose to the Republican Edwards. However, given his family ties and that he is currently a municipal officeholder, it seems to me he could represent a solid challenge.

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16 March 2007

RIP Jack Metcalf

Longtime state legislator and former Congressman Jack Metcalf died yesterday at the age of 79. His political career bloomed late, being elected to Congress in the 1994 GOP revolution and being one of the few to keep their promise of serving three terms, it came decades after twice challenging the great Warren Magnuson for his US Senate seat. Metcalf also served five terms in the state Senate from northwestern Washington's 10th legislative district.

I don't typically make note of political obituaries here, but given his long service and that I had always admired Metcalf as an independent-minded conservative, I wanted to offer my respects for the man.


13 March 2007

Back to square one

If you have not already heard, both Seattle ballot measures regarding the fate of the Alaskan Way Viaduct were defeated tonight. Given that the tunnel option failed miserably by a lopsided 30-70% margin, I hope this will be the last we hear of that horrible plan. While the rebuild lost by a relatively close 45-55% margin, I doubt anybody can quite call that poor plan dead yet. Now is the time for the local and state governments to compromise on the surface/transit option, the best yet oddly absent choice and one that would be the least burden to Joe Taxpayer.


Dino's still coy, is anybody surprised?

I'm not, and while I'd generally love for all the 2008 matchups to start to take shape this early, I don't think he has to jump into anything 18 months before the campaign would be getting into full swing. I also am not looking forward to this rematch (aside from the potential of kicking Gregoire out of office, of course) if the level of partisan hyperbole is already at such a nauseating level as is evidenced in the P-I article discussion linked above. As far as I'm concerned, this fight can wait.

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11 March 2007

Lee enters Pierce executive mash

The News Tribune reported yesterday that current Pierce County Council President Terry Lee will enter next year's open seat race for county executive. He joins former Council President Shawn Bunney as declared Republicans in addition to Democratic Councilman Calvin Goings. Also in new news, Tacoma Councilman Mike Lonergan says if he runs he's going to do so as an Independent, potentially taking this race to a whole new level. Democrats Pat McCarthy and Jim Kastama have yet to rule out candidacies, as well.

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09 March 2007

8th CD Democratic primary poll - go vote

After reading Willis' comment regarding the developing Democratic primary in the 8th Congressional district, I found his post (linked above) at Washblog that includes a poll on who the Democrats should nominate against Dave Reichert come 2008. So, feel free to chime in with your own votes. I put Ross Hunter into first place for the moment, leading Darcy Burner by 11 votes to 10. Local media personality Tony Ventrella, who is apparently in the race already, has three.


04 March 2007

Site Update

I finally got around to getting the site I house all my graphics on rehosted, so the background is now back and I put up a link under downloads for a spreadsheet of select local races this fall. Enjoy the green.

03 March 2007

2006 National Journal ratings released

The National Journal has released its annual vote record ratings for members of Congress. The results for Washington are linked above, though there are some notable things to point out. Jim McDermott had a rather conservative year, not even placing in the top ten of most liberal members of the body. Dave Reichert, whom we repeatedly heard was too conservative for the Eastside, ranked among the moderates with a liberal score of 47.3 and a conservative score of 52.7. The next most moderate member of the House delegation was Rick Larsen, with a 66.7/33.3 difference. In the Senate, Patty Murray ranked as the nation's 8th most liberal senator, and Maria Cantwell fit nicely in the middle of the Democratic Caucus at 22nd.

Nationally, there were three members of Congress tied for having perfectly centrist voting records. Reps. Vernon Ehlers [R-MI], Jim Marshall [D-GA], and Gene Taylor [D-MS] had 50/50 splits. The most moderate senator was ousted Sen. Mike DeWine [R-OH], with a 51/49 rating. Rep. Diane Watson [D-CA] and Sen. Dick Durbin [D-IL] had the highest liberal scores and Rep. Jim Ryun [R-KS] and Sen. Jim DeMint [R-SC] had the highest conservative scores.


01 March 2007

Domestic partnership bill passes Senate

Senator Ed Murray's SB5336 has passed the Senate on a 28-19 vote, the first step to making it law. Considering that Chris Gregoire has stated she supports it and a majority of House members are signed on as cosponsors, this fight is pretty much over. It was not without the usual bitching by Val Stevens, but all in all this was fairly easy. Two senators, Paull Shin and Cheryl Pflug, did not vote. The roll call went as follows:

Voting Yea:
Senators Berkey, Brandland [R], Brown, Eide, Fairley, Franklin, Fraser, Haugen, Hobbs, Jacobsen, Kastama, Kauffman, Keiser, Kilmer, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Marr, McAuliffe, Murray, Oemig, Poulsen, Prentice, Pridemore, Regala, Rockefeller, Spanel, Tom, and Weinstein.

Voting Nay:
Senators Benton, Carrell, Clements, Delvin, Hargrove [D], Hatfield [D], Hewitt, Holmquist, Honeyford, McCaslin, Morton, Parlette, Rasmussen [D], Roach, Schoesler, Sheldon [D], Stevens, Swecker, and Zarelli.

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Rep. Smith makes presidential endorsement

Rep. Adam Smith [D-Tacoma], my Congressman not long ago, has endorsed the candidacy of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. This is certainly good news for Obama, in that it gives him more moderate credibility, though it is also pointful to note that Smith backed Senator Kerry in the last primaries back when everyone and their dog was jumping on the Dean train.


Gov opposes impeachment bill

Calling Sen. Eric Oemig's bill seeking to impeach President Bush a "distraction" and a "waste of time," Gov. Chris Gregoire joins federal liberal leaders Patty Murray and Jay Inslee in opposition. Considering that both Frank Chopp and Lisa Brown don't want to take legislative time on the bill, I think it's pretty safe to say the impeachment bill has no chance of passage at this point. While I think this is the right move by Gregoire as far as wasting time and money on something largely toothless, I'm curious if her opposition will turn off urban lefties as her reelection campaign approaches. If there is an acceptable third party option come 2008, we all know what a difference a few votes can make.

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