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Eye On Olympia

Stapilus’ crystal ball suggests Verner has the edge for November…

Ridenbaugh Press’ Randy Stapilus, on the Spokane mayoral election:

Re: Incumbent Mayor Dennis Hession:

Not Mr. Excitement, but steady and solid. And - significantly - one of the downtown professional/business crowd, an attorney comfortable with the community’s power structure. All of that would seem to be plenty to win election.

That said, we’d right now give odds that in November Spokane’s voters will replace him with Council member Mary Verner, who fits none of the traditional criteria but maybe satisfies where a lot of Spokane is headed.

He cites two factors: Verner and fellow candidate Al French totaled 19,492 votes to Hession’s 10,666 so far, and the fact that Spokane seems to be turning bluer. Hession, Stapilus writes,

“may be able to pick up some of the Al French vote, but the primary numbers indicate Spokane voters are in a kick-em-out mood. He may have a much tougher time than will Verner in getting to 50%.

The other indicator is partisan. Spokane’s city races, like most in most places, are non-partisan, but the partisan colors and hues here are unmistakable: For quite a few voters, Hession likely will be the surrogate Republican, and Verner the surrogate Democrat. (There’s a similar dynamic in Boise and some other places.) That means the mayoral race has partisan implications for a traditionally Republican city which has been (notably in the last couple of elections) trending Democratic.


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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