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 May 2008

Three credible entries for 14th district seat

Today's Yakima Herald had profiles of three potentially-strong candidates for the 14th district House seat being vacated by GOPer Mary Skinner. The Democratic candidate is Vickie Ybarra, who is board president of Yakima Public Schools. Two Republicans are profiled: Yakima city councillor Norm Johnson, and former Union Gap Public Schools superintendent Bob McLaughlin. Like Ybarra and McLaughlin, Johnson's background is also in education, as he was formerly a teacher and principal in Mabton and Toppenish, and was in municipal office in both cities, as well.

Yakima city councillor Susan Whitman, who balked at the chance to contest the other open House seat in 2006, says she remains undecided. Johnson seems to be the establishment choice for the GOP, with the district's other legislators and much of the Yakima municipal government behind him.

In the 2006 contest, I gave Democrats credit for running a good candidate for the open seat, but in the end they still lost 60-40. Ybarra also seems to be a solid choice, being a municipal officeholder and supposed moderate, but this seat has to remain as GOP favoured. That said, I'd expect Ybarra to make the general election and keep this otherwise solid GOP district from sending two Republicans to the runoff.

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15 May 2008

Predictions update

The predictions spreadsheet has been updated to include new candidate entries since the last update, and is available for download at right. Rankings and control changes have not been updated at this time, nor have individual seat predictions save for those seats that have only now become contested.

Notable candidate changes now updated that I have yet to mention in any posts include:

-Anacortes Port Commissioner Steve Hopley joining the 40th Senate race
-Tim Hattenburg joining the open 4th district House race
-Shirley Hankins and Mary Skinner retirements
-Fife City Councillor Rob Cerqui challenging Bruce Dammeier for 25th House seat


06 May 2008

Haler isn't getting off scot free after all

With all eyes focused on whether Shirley Hankins will run for reelection to her 8th district House seat, seatmate Larry Haler was seemingly getting a free ride. With all the big local names (Carol Moser, Rick Jansons, to a lesser extent Brad Klippert) jumping in the first race, I expected Haler to draw a no-name challenger and win with 70% of the vote again, but a former municipal officeholder has thrown a wrench in that scenario. Rob Welch, up until recently a city councillor and mayor, is challenging Haler as a Republican, and with the new Top Two primary in place, it could easily become one of those choice one-party runoffs that have party goons across the state up in arms.

Not to go off on a Pelz-hating tangent here, but this could be a prime example of what is so great about the Top Two. An incumbent that would have otherwise been heading down the road to an easy victory now has a fight on his hands, and I couldn't care less that it's coming from a member of the same party. I'm not picking on Larry Haler here, but in general terms when you might have a poor legislator in a district where they aren't going to get a needed challenge from the opposing party there isn't anything wrong with getting it from the same party. Unlike these bullshit smoke-filled room PCO nominating conventions, this sounds like democracy.

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