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Spin Control

Archive for November 2012

Kretz won’t seek Senate seat, Short might

OLYMPIA — State Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda will not seek the 7th District Senate seat being vacated by Bob Morton, but seatmate Shelly Short said she is considering it.

Morton announced this week that he will retire at the end of this year, leaving two years on his term. . . 

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog. 

Brown packs up for WSU-Spokane

Sen. Lisa Brown pauses while packing her office to take a phone call.

OLYMPIA – As she packed up the memorabilia from 20 years in the Legislature, Lisa Brown was preparing Thursday to take charge of a dream for Spokane that was even older.

In January, Brown will trade her role as Senate majority leader for the job of chancellor of the Washington State UniversitySpokane campus.

WSU President Elson Floyd informed some of Eastern Washington’s top political leaders Thursday afternoon that Brown, 56, was his choice to run the Riverpoint campus and its fledgling medical school – a school that she helped midwife by pushing key appropriations through the Legislature for projects like the Biomedical and Health Science Building now under construction.

“It’s going to be as challenging as being the leader of the Senate Democrats,” she said, although possibly with fewer cats to herd.

She’ll replace Brian Pitcher, who has served as WSU-Spokane chancellor since 2005. Pitcher, 63, will remain at WSU-Spokane in a “leadership role” and advise the university on its other urban campuses in the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, Floyd said.

Brown’s next job has been a subject of great speculation around the Capitol . . . 

To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.

Brown to be WSU-Spokane chancellor

Sen. Lisa Brown will move from the leading Senate Democrats to leading the WSU-Spokane campus.

Brown was named chancellor of WSU-Spokane this afternoon by President Elson Floyd.

The Spokane Democrat did not seek re-election this year and retires in December after 20 years in the Legislature. During that time she worked to find state funding for the Riverpoint campus  just east of downtown Spokane, where WSU and Eastern Washington University share facilities with the community colleges, and Gonzaga and Whitworth universities also offer programs. 

The new anchor of the campus is a new medical school a collaboration between the Riverpoint institutions, the University of Washington and the program that trains physicians for Idaho, Alaska, Montana and Wyoming as well as Washington.

Inslee names chief of staff

Mary Alice Heuschel, the Renton Schools superintendent, will be Governor-elect Jay Inslee's chief of staff.

Inslee made the announcement this morning that Heuschel, who was among a trio picked to head his transition team, will go with him to Olympia next year.

Education will be one of the major issues facing the state in 2013. State government is under orders from the Supreme Court to improve public education so that it can meet its constitutional mandate that the education of its children is the state's paramount duty. According to some estimates, that could mean spending more than $1 billion more on schools in the 2013-15 budget, and even more in budget periods after that.

The state must also develop a system for establishing charter schools with in its public school system under an initiative approved this month by voters.

Mapping the vote: Where the votes were

Turnout is an important statistic in any election, but it's not always the key statistic because precincts with small registration can have a high turnout but not produce many votes.

Elections turn on ballots, and the precincts with the most ballots are the most important. This map shows where the votes were in the 2012 election.

Scroll down to see maps of the turnout and the presidential breakdown of votes in Spokane County.


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Mapping the vote: Spokane County turnout

Spokane County had a turnout of 80.5 percent in the general election, but as the map shows, turnout varied from precinct to precinct. 


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Schoesler named Senate Republican leader

OLYMPIA — Mark Schoesler, a Ritzville area wheat farmer, was named leader of the state Senate's Republican Caucus Wednesday.

Schoesler, 55, has served 20 years in the Legislature, was elected by other Republicans to take the place of Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, who stepped down from the top caucus spot this fall. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of Wenatchee was elected caucus chairwoman, the number two leadership spot.

An astute parliamentarian, Schoesler managed debates as floor leader in the previous session and served as part of the GOP's budget negotiating team. As the caucus leader, he becomes one of the “four corners” — the Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate, the minority leader in the House and the House speaker — who are key to meetings with the governor when issues deadlock. He also becomes the chief spokesman for the Republican caucus.

He could wield more power than usual in the coming session because Democrats have a thin 26-23 majority in the chamber, and so two or more defections of any Democrats on any issue would give Republicans a majority if Schoesler can hold the caucus together as a block. Two of the most conservative Democrats have also talked about joining Republicans for an organizational vote on the first day that would create a coalition leadership.

Mapping the vote: Final presidential count

 

Editor's note: when this story appeared in Wednesday's paper, one of the first comments was, where are the maps? Here's the first.)

A voting district southeast of the Spokane Valley city limits can bask in the bright red glow of being the county’s most conservative Republican precinct.

Part of Browne’s Addition, just west of downtown Spokane, can claim bragging rights as the county’s most liberal Democratic precinct.

When Spokane County elections officials finalized the results of the Nov. 6 election Tuesday, there were no big surprises. Republicans Mitt Romney, Rob McKenna and Mike Baumgartner won the county even though Barack Obama captured the state and the presidency and Jay Inslee the governor’s office. Maria Cantwell was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. County voters overall turned thumbs down to a ballot measure on same-sex marriage although it passed statewide; like the state as a whole, they approved supermajorities for passing taxes and charter schools. . . 

For a closer look at the map, click on the document link below


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Sen. Bob Morton to retire

OLYMPIA — Bob Morton, a conservative Republican who has served northeastern Washington's 7th District for 22 years, will retire from the Legislature at the start of next year.

Morton announced today he will step down half way through his current term, setting the stage for a multi-county process to select a replacement. The district includes northern parts of Spokane County as well as part of Okanogan and all of Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties.  

Morton said he was stepping aside to let “new blood, and a new way of looking at things” take his place: “I looked at things and I thought it was time for me to vacate that seat and leave it to someone else.”

After spending three years in the state House of Representatives, Morton moved to the Senate, where he is now the second most senior member of that chamber. 

He's retired from the small logging business his family owns, and sometimes fills in as a preacher at his local church. He plans to spend time working on a long list of home and garden projects and spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.

Today’s fun video: When filibuster shoe was on the Democratic foot

Senate Democrats may decry the filibuster now, but in 2005, when they were in the minority, they were all for it. 

Note the young guy speaking in favor of it at the start. Sen. Patty Murray shows up about 1:40 in.

Senate Democrats propose leadership changes

OLYMPIA — Facing one of the narrowest majorities in years, Senate Democrats proposed a new committee one one of the state's thorniest problems with shared leadership responsibilities and a veteran with a record of interparty skills for the budget-writing panel.

They also suggested the “president pro tem” job — which is sometimes ceremonial but other times decisive — to go to a conservative “road kill” Democrat who was calling for coalition leadershlip in the chamber.

At their pre-session meeting, Democrats proposed a new Select Committee on Education Finance and Results, which would look for ways the state could meet the demand from the state Supreme Court that it do a better job living up to its constitutional requirements to make public education its top priority. It proposed Sen. David Froct of Seattle to be the Democratic co-chairman, and invited the Republicans to name their own co-chairman.

They also named Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, to fill the slot left empty when former Chairman Ed Murray of Seattle was named Majority Leader. A 20-year veteran of the Senate, Hargrove is “known for his ability to work across party lines,” Democrats said.

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, was proposed for president pro tem, a job that involves presiding over the chamber whenever Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is absent.

Sheldon and Sen. Rodney Tom of Bellevue, who broke with Democrats earlier this year during budget discussions and backed an alternative spending plan by minority Republicans, this month proposed the Senate be run through a power-sharing arrangement between the two parties. Their two votes could be crucial because Democrats could hold a 26-23 majority in the chamber, and their defection on organizational matters would give Republicans the majority if that caucus votes as a block.

The partisan split will be determined by the close race in Vancouver's 17th District, where incumbent Republican Don Benton holds an 82-vote lead over Democratic state Rep. Tim Probst. Counties report their final vote counts today, and that race is on track for an automatic recount.

Tom is being proposed for chairmanship of the Higher Education Committee.  

Spokane's newly elected Democratic Sen. Andy Billig is being proposed for majority whip and vice chairman of the Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee.

Today’s fun video: Fighting a new front in War on Christmas

Stephen Colbert vs. Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas traditions.

Holiday news at Capitol and beyond

OLYMPIA — The state Capitol Grounds will feature a Nativity Scene this year, and a park a few blocks north will have a nine-foot lighted Menorah, state officials said.

The Nativity Scene will be go up Dec. 11 and come down Dec. 28. The Menorah goes up Dec. 6, and there's a lighting ceremony on Dec. 9 at Sylvester Park, about three blocks down Capitol Boulevard.

An atheist group usually arranges for some sort of display, also, but so far they haven't requested the necessary permits. The outside displays are a result of the problems the state had a few years ago inside the Capitol Building when competing displays seemed on a path to fill up the available space. (Regular Spin Control readers may recall how the controversy generated fodder for conservative talking heads fuming about a “War on Christmas” on television and radio). 

All religious displays are now required to be set up outside. The only interior display is the holiday tree in the Rotunda.

This year, the battleground in the War on Christmas appears to be in Santa Monica, Calif., as this video points out.

Sunday spin: Secede from the union? Get a grip

After spending the Apple Cup as a Cougar in the midst of Huskies, it strikes me that would-be secessionists could learn a lot from the annual intrastate rivalry. That’s saying quite a bit about the position on the outer ring of craziness of those petitioning the White House to leave the Union, considering the passion that accompanies the game.

For those who have willingly tuned out from presidential politics since Nov. 6,  folks disgruntled with the outcome of the election have filed petitions on the White House website to allow their state to seceded from the country. These petitions create no legal mandate. The president has no magic wand to wave and say to a state “you’re on your own.” At most, they have a promise for the administration to “address” the issue should the petition reach a certain number of supporters.

There are now secession petitions from all 50 states, including a pair from Washington where Barack Obama easily defeated Mitt Romney . . .

Light blogging ahead for Thanksgiving week

Spin Control will be giving thanks this week.

Thanks for family and friends.

Thanks for our system of government that keeps Spin Control gainfully employed.

Thanks for an election that's over.

There may be a few items that make their way into the blog this week. But we wanted to take this opportunity to  tell readers we're thankful for them, too, whether they agree with us all of the time, some of the time or none of the time.

Sunday spin: Who is hurt by the late ballot counting?

A post-election refrain, as predictable as swallows returning to Capistrano or Cougar fans pinning their Apple Cup hopes on bad weather in Pullman, sounded last week.

The amount of time Washington takes to count its ballots and settle elections predictably irked several politicians.  State Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said she’d introduce legislation to require all ballots to be in the hands of elections officials on Election Day.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly state Secretary of State-elect Kim Wyman's position on this point. Wyman supports faster tabulation without requiring all ballots be in hand by Election Day.) 

“We’re now more than a week past Election Day and in some areas of the state, people still don’t know who their elected officials are going to be,” Becker complained in a press release. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Hewitt steps down as Senate minority leader

Walla Walla Republican Mike Hewitt will not seek another term as Senate minority leader.

Hewitt, who is finishing his 12th year in the Senate and seventh year as the Republican leader, said today he would step down from the leadership post and “focus my energies on the citizens of southeast Washington.”

He said he wants to promote “leadership from the center”. He also mentioned health problems that he suffered during last year's session, when he had an operation to remove a tumor from his thymus.

The Republican caucus will elect it's leadership at a meeting on Nov. 28.

Murray to lead Senate Budget Committee

Patty Murray will be the Senate's chief budget writer next year when Congress convenes for its new session.

The Washington Democrat announced today she will seek the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee, a position that will become open at the end of the year with the retirement of Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota. Although the position won't become official until the new Congress meets, Democrats will hold a 55-45 majority in the chamber so the result is a foregone conclusion.

The committee also considers the nation's economic policy and the budgetary impact of “everything we do and everything wie fight on,” Murray said. She hopes to expand the discussions of the committee, which in recent years have focused on debt and deficits, to consider the other side of the budget: the nation's spending priorities and the investments it should make.

“It gives me a really good place to fight for the priorities of Washington state,” she said, such as the cleanup of waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, better transportation systems, military and veterans issues and improved job training for health care and aerospace workers.

To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.

State budget hole: $900 million

OLYMPIA – Washington faces a $900 million budget hole through 2015, a slightly smaller one for the Legislature to fill than previously thought, thanks to a slowly recovering economy.

Governor-elect Jay Inslee, a Democrat, reiterated Wednesday he plans to do that without a tax increase, a sentiment seconded a few hours later by Republicans on the state's Economic Forecast Council when it received the latest projection of money coming into and going out of the state coffers for the next four years.

The Democrat who heads the House budget committee, however, was skeptical. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

(Editor's note: the original headline for this item incorrectly state the shortfall in billions.)

McMorris Rodgers wins leadership battle

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers won the fourth highest position in the House of Representatives today in a closed meeting of House Republicans, The Hill, Politico and other media are reporting.

McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, was elected chairwoman of the House Republican Conference. It ranks just below Speaker of the House, majority leader and majority whip. McMorris Rodgers has served for two terms as the vice chairwoman of the Republican Conference.

McMorris Rodgers was cast the pick of party establishment both for her experience and to present a female face among Republican leadership. Her opponent in the race, Tom Price, R-Ga., had the support of more conservative forces in the party.

Today’s fun video: Making fun of secessionists

 

Jon Stewart skewers folks talking secession and other dire consequences in the wake of Obama's re-election.

Inslee names transition team

Governor-elect Jay Inslee named a three-person transition team today comprised of a school superintendent, a software executive and a university president as he put out a call for talent “every single place we can find it.”

Inslee appointed Washington State University President Elson Floyd, Microsoft corporate counsel Brad Smith and Renton Schools Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel to lead his search for a new department heads when he takes office in July. The trio of “change agents” represents the kind of state government he said he wants to develop, from both sides of the Cascades, from different industries and from public and private sectors.

Floyd said he welcomed the opportunity to help position the state for economic growth: “We have an incredible talent base here in our state.”

At the same time, he put out a call for Democrats, Republicans and independents who want help the state address what he called its great challenges. The state has struggled since the recession with declining revenues that don't cover its planned programs, and now faces a court mandate to increase spending on public schools to meet its constitutional obligations.

In responding to questions that followed his announcement . . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Murray new Senate majority leader

OLYMPIA — Seattle Sen. Ed Murray, who spearheaded the fight for same-sex marriage and ran the Senate's budget writing committee this year, will move up to leading the Democrats in that chamber next year.

Murray was elected Senate majority leader Tuesday by the members of the Democratic caucus. There was no other candidate for the job, and he was elected by acclimation, a statement from the caucus said. He replaces Sen. Lisa Brown of Spokane, who retires at the end of this year.

Just how big of a majority Murray will lead remains in doubt. Early in the day Tuesday, Democrats had a 27-22 edge, counting a race in Vancouver's 17th District in which Democrat Tim Probst led incumbent Republican Don Benton by 16 votes. But Benton pulled ahead in Tuesday afternoon's count by 65 votes, and if that holds, the Democratic lead would be down to 26-23.

Two of the Senate's more conservative Democrats, Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom, have voted with Republicans in the past on fiscal and budget issues. They have said they'd like some bipartisan arrangement where the parties would share the power of leadership and committee positions, and if Benton wins, their two votes could be decisive if all 23 Republicans went along.

Early last year, Murray took the lead on crafting and advocating for a law that would allow. same-sex couples to marry, rather than settling for domestic partnerships. He became the prime sponsor of the bill that eventually passed both houses, was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire and was challenged by opponents who placed it on the ballot as Referendum 74. That measure passed in last week's election.

Murray is the first openly gay cucus leader in state history and the only openly gay state Senate leader currently serving in the nation, Senate Democratic staffers said.

As chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for the last two years, Murray struggled with a budget that faced constant problems of not having enough expected revenue to meet scheduled costs. The 2011-13,  biennial budget received bipartisan support in the Senate. 

Gregoire: Moving ahead on marijuana

OLYMPIA – Washington will be “following the will of the voters and moving ahead” with setting up ways that adults can legally obtain marijuana for recreational use, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday after meeting with federal law enforcement officials.

 

To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.

 

Ryan snubs McMorris Rodgers, but she may still have edge

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has missed a key endorsement in her quest to win the fourth-most powerful position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the recent Republican vice presidential nominee, has backed Tom Price, R-Ga., in the race between Price and McMorris Rodgers for the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.

McMorris Rodgers may still be the favorite, especially after last week's elections showed a wide gap in enthusiasm for the GOP among women, but it does show that a McMorris Rodgers' win isn't a guarantee.

Here is the Washington Post's story about Ryan's decision.

Today’s weird video: Really upset Obama won

 

An Arizona woman got so angry that President Obama won another term that she ran down her husband, who neglected to vote.

Either she really took to heart the old saying that “Every Vote Counts” but skipped the class in Civics that explained the Electoral College, or she was just close to the edge and this tipped her over it.

McKenna concedes; Inslee next governor

A Democrat will occupy the governor's office for another four years.

Less than 24 hours after his campaign insisted that their data showed he would eventually win the governor's race, Republican Rob McKenna conceded defeat Friday evening as Washington's ongoing ballot count showed he couldn't close the gap with Democrat Jay Inslee.

“We just realized there wasn't going to be enough of an offset,” Randy Pepple, McKenna's campaign manager and longtime friend, said.

Inslee scheduled a press conference for 6:45 p.m. regarding the concession.

Ballot counts continue: Inslee still ahead, McKenna not conceding

OLYMPIA – Republican Rob McKenna’s campaign insisted he would overtake Democrat Jay Inslee “next week or the week after” as ballot counting continued in Washington’s close gubernatorial race.

But while the percentages improved slightly for Attorney General McKenna, the gap in their vote totals remained about the same – 50,000 more votes for Inslee, the former congressman.

 To read more about this and other close races, or to comment, go inside the blog 

Same-sex marriage foes concede defeat

Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.

OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that they will lose the fight over same-sex marriage in Washington.

The latest vote count has Ref. 74 passing with about 52 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 84,000 ballots.

On Wednesday, supporters of the measure declared victory, saying their analysis of ballot returns convinced them there was no way it would fail.  A spokesman for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group mounting the opposition campaign said at that time they believed there was “a path to victory” in later ballot returns.

Today, however, Joseph Backholm, the group's chairman, said the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon and evening showed they were not closing the gap. Instead, the gap was growing.

“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin,” he said.

To view the latest statewide results on Ref. 74, click here.

Backholm blamed the loss on Washington being “a deep blue state and one of the  most secular in the nation” as well as the disparity between the two campaigns in terms of fundraising. He insisted it was not “a turning point” for the nation.

“It's not a turning point when you win on your home turf,” Backholm insisted in a prepared statement.

Washington was one of three states to approve same-sex marriage in Tuesday's election. Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses on Dec. 6, the day election results are certified and approved ballot measures become law.

Under state law, couples must wait three days after they get their license to marry.

McMorris Rodgers starts public campaign for promotion

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has begun her public campaign in her race to become the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-highest ranking position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

She sent a letter to her Republican colleagues this morning that outlines her qualifications. Republicans will choose a new conference chairman in a vote on Wednesday.

“As your Vice Chairman over the past two Congresses, I have worked to be worthy of your trust and support. I am honored to have played a role in communicating our conservative agenda – to build an America that is strong, prosperous and free,” he letter says. “On the political front, I’ve helped recruit stellar candidates, raised over $1,000,000 to the NRCC, contributed over $300,000 to candidates and traveled to 51 Congressional districts in 22 states.”

The timing of the news release isn't surprising. Part of what helps a member of Congress win votes from colleagues for a leadership spot is a proven ability to raise money for those colleagues' elections. But she couldn't brag about her fund-raising prowess until after Tuesday because her Democratic opponent in Tuesday's election, Rich Cowan, made a big issue out McMorris Rodgers' time spent campaigning in other districts.

(Here is an article in today's S-R about McMorris Rodgers' position on compromise in dealing with the fiscal cliff and if her 2004 pledge not to support tax increases will affect if she will support a deal.)

McMorris Rodgers' push to become conference chairwoman has been well-known for weeks, and last week, Politico reported that she likely has the votes to win, though The Hill today reports that the race between her and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga, is tight.

Snyder questions if city is ready for pot legalization

Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder said he's concerned that the city isn't prepared for the major shift in the law.

He's proposing that the council form a committee to examine the law and suggest if further regulations are needed.

“It's time to sit down with the text of the initiative and find out where the policy holes are,” he said.

Snyder, who didn't take a public position on the initiative, said the proposal approved by voters was thoughtful but that he still has concerns about a proliferation of locations selling pot. He said the City Council should consider zoning regulations.

Ref. 74 supporters declaring victory

OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even before any more ballots are counted from the general election.

Opponents say they aren't conceding.

 Washington United for Marriage scheduled an afternoon press conference to say that their analysis shows victory at hand. Spokesman Andy Grow said the campaign had “some of the best minds available” analyze the numbers from last night's ballot count and compare them with long-time voting trends. Based on the strong vote in King County, and the ballots that are likely still coming in, the lead will hold up, Grow said.

That statement prompted congratulations from other supporters, such as Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, but skepticism from Preserve Marriage Washington, which spearheaded the opposition.

There hadn't been any new ballots counted since midnight,when WUM supporters described themselves as “cautiously optimistic” but urged patience, Andy Chip of Preserve Marriage said.

Opponents are still behind about 3.5 percentage points, with an estimated 1.3 million ballots still to count. “Although the math is difficult, there remains a path to victory,” Chip said.  

So what happens if the trends turn around in later ballot counts? “We will issue another statement,” Grow said. “But we don't think that's going to happen.”

For the record, Spin Control isn't ready to call this race yet, although it is clear that supporters are in a much better position than opponents.

Mapping the Vote: Holy leads Dellwo

Republican Jeff Holy built up his sizeable lead by beating Democrat Dennis Dellwo in most of the 6th Districts precincts. Dellwo won some city precincts in Spokane and Cheney, but Holy ran much stronger in the suburbs and rural precincts.


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Mapping the Vote: Shea leads Biviano

State Rep. Matt Shea has a seemingly insurmountable lead over Democoratic challenger Amy Biviano. She won some precincts in Millwood and the City of Spokane Valley; he won everything else.

For a more detailed look at this map, click on the PDF document below.


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Mapping the Vote: Billig leads McLaughlin

State Rep. Andy Billig leads Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLauglin in most precincts in the race to fill the 3rd Legislative District Senate seat left open by Sen. Lisa Brown's retirement.

For a more detailed version of the map, check out the PDF Document below.


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Mapping the Vote: O’Quinn leads Romeyn

Republican Shelly O'Quinn is comfortably ahead of Democrat Daryl Romeyn in the race to fill the open seat on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.

For a closer look at the results, click on the PDF file below.


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Mapping the Vote: Mielke leads Roskelley

Incumbent County Commissioner Todd Mielke has a comfortable lead over former Commissioner John Roskelley in the race for Commissioner District 1. Roskelley had strong support in some parts of the City of Spokane, but Mielke is running ahead in most other precincts.

For a closer look at the results, click on the PDF document below.


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on U.S. House race

Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers easily won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and defeated Democrat Rich Cowan in all the counties in the Eastern Washington District, including Spokane County. 

Click here to see a map of the vote for all of Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District.

For a closer look at the Spokane County results, check out the PDF version of the map below


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on U.S. Senate

Democrat Maria Cantwell easily won a third term in the U.S. Senate in the statewide vote, but is running only slightly ahead of Republican Mike Baumgartner in Spokane County. If trends hold, Baumgartner's home county would be the only Eastern Washington County she carries.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

For a closer look at the Spokane County map, click on the PDF document below


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on charter schools

Initiative 1240, which would allow the state to set up as many as 40 charter schools over the next five years, has a slight lead statewide and in Spokane County.

For a map on the state results on I-1240, click here.

For a closer look at the Spokane County vote, click on the PDF document below


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on president

Although Washington state as a whole went for Barack Obama, Spokane County and Eastern Washington went for Mitt Romney. Here's a look at the votes counted on Election Night.

For a look at the statewide map, click here.

For a closer look at the Spokane vote, click on the PDF document below.


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Mapping the vote: Spokane on the governor’s race

Democrat Jay Inslee has a narrow lead statewide in the race for governor, but Republican Rob McKenna won in Spokane County and the rest of Eastern Washington.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

For a closer look at the Spokane votes, click on the PDF below.


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Mapping the vote: Spokane on legalized marijuana

Initiative 502, which will legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults in Washington, passed handily statewide and is ahead in Spokane County in Tuesday's tally.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

For a closer look at the Spokane breakdown, click on the PDF file below


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Mapping the vote: Spokane on same-sex marriage

Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, is slightly ahead statewide, but trails in Spokane County

For the statewide map, click here

For a closer look at the Spokane vote, click on the PDF document below


Documents:

Marijuana measure passes

Initiative 502, which legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults in Washington, will pass.

The Associated Press has called the race, and we here at Spin Control agree. It's at 56 percent yes to 44 percent no, and that's too big of a  margin to turn around.

Next up: A clash between the state and the federal government over conflicting marijuana laws.

Networks calling Ohio for Obama

The networks are saying Obama will win Ohio and may have more than 270 Electoral College votes.

Spokane County turnout nearing 2008 level

Voter turnout — or ballot turn-in, if you prefer — has been lagging behind the 2008 record levels this year in Spokane County. Some times by as many as 7 percentage points in a comparison of days after ballots were mailed.

But Monday and Tuesday counts of ballots delivered by mail or picked up from drop boxes shows that gap is down to about 3 percentage points, and the total number of ballots in hand by noon on Election day is actually about 6,000 higher. (It's an arithmetic thing, as Bill Clinton might say. There are more voters registered, too, so the percent of ballots back so far remains lower than in 2008).

Considering that this is a total that doesn't have the final pickup from the drop boxes at 8 p.m., or the mail deliveries on Wednesday and Thursday, it looks like Spokane County is well on its way to having the more  ballots ever cast than in 2008, when it hiin an election. The percentage of ballots in to voters registered may or may not match 2008 levels, butit's clear there are going to be a heck of a lot of ballots to count.

Today’s best link: So many options for Obama & Romney

The New York Times has a great graphic you should bookmark for watching the returns tonight.

It looks at 512 different possible outcomes in the presidential race: 431 mean a victory for Barack Obama, 43 mean a victory for Mitt Romney, and 5 result in a tie. 

What happens if there's a tie? The U.S. House of Representatives picks the president and the Senate picks the vice president.

Has that ever happened? Not exactly. The Electoral College tied in 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, who technically were running on the same ticket, but that was under the original system the Founding Fathers set up in which the president was the person with the most EC votes and the vice president the person with the second most, regardless of party. The 12th Amendment changed that in 1803, and there hasn't been a tie since then.

I marked my ballot. Now what?

After Washington voters have marked their ballot, sealed it and signed the envelope, they have two choices.

Put a stamp on it and mail it. But remember it has to be postmarked today, so you'll need to take it to a post office, to make sure that's done in time. Leaving it out in  your mailbox is not a good solution..

Or save yourself a stamp, and take it to a drop box. In Spokane County, there's a drop box at most public libraries, as well as a couple other spots. For a list of addresses, go inside the blog.

For other Washington counties, click here to find the information on your county.

Instructions for Idaho voters are simpler. You go to your local polling station. Idaho also has same day registration, but if you aren't registered, you'll need to produce photo ID and proof of residence.

Uh-oh! I lost my ballot? Now what?

If you lost your ballot, mistakenly threw it out with some junk mail, spilled coffee on it,or the kids drew on it with crayons or the dog ate it, you are not SOL in Washington.

County elections offices have “Voter Service Centers” where you can get a replacement ballot. They also have accessible voting machines for the disabled. Spokane County has six, locations are inside the blog.

For a link or phone number to other counties, click here.

For today’s voters: Last-minute help on candidates and issues

Voters who haven't marked their ballots yet may be waiting to research just one more thing about a particular candidate, or study one more thing about a ballot measure.

For those looking for more, we offer the following links.

The Spokesman-Review's Election Center, with information about the candidates and campaigns, and stories that have been published in the paper or online. (It's a shameless plug, but we're pretty proud of it.)

The Secretary of State's On-Line Voter Guide, with information on all statewide candidates and ballot measures, presidential candidates, judicial and legislative races.

The Spokane County Online Voter Guide, which also has information on local races, like Spokane County commissioner.

TVW's Video Voter's Guide is good for those who want to see their candidates in action.

The Living Voters Guide, a compilation of other groups' guides, offers information on the ballot measures. You can drill down to Spokane County issues.

Project Vote Smart's VoteEasy, which allows you to pick where you stand on 13 issues, and tells you which presidential and congressional candidates on your ballot are closest to your stance. It has six of eight presidential candidates on the Washington ballot (all six that are on the Idaho ballot); doesn't have the Socialist Workers Party or the Socialism and Liberation Party. But it's kind of fun to play with. Vote Smart has other candidate information accessible from its main page.

LIveVote asks you to enter your address, and it shows you what's on your ballot with links to candidate statements, some videos, and ballot measure information.

The Christian Coalition's State Voters Guide, can be dowloaded from this location. You'll be asked to provide a name and e-mail address.. Links to guides from other Christian organizations can be found here.

The Progressive Voters Guide, from FUSE, a coalition of liberal and progressive groups looks at the ballot measures, federal, state and legislative races.

The Freedom Foundation, a conservative group, offers up what it calls the Informed Voter's Guide.

The Washington Policy Center, a conservative business group, offers its take on the ballot measures.

The Washington Budget and Policy Center, a liberal group, has a different take on many of those measures.

Today’s fun video: Recap of the election

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A fun video. Worst line is the reporter quoting the Grateful Dead. But the clips are some of the best hits of 2012.

Today’s fun video: Rappin candidates

The lyrics aren't bad, the animation only so-so. But look for a guest appearance by Donald Trump.

We’re not the best presidential bellwethers

There was a time in the mid 20th Century when, as Washington and Idaho went in presidential elections, so went the country.

But voters in the two states have been imperfect bellwethers of the presidential elections before and since. Spokane County voters have been a little better. They’ve voted for the candidate who eventually won the Electoral College count in 25 of the 30 presidential elections since Washington and Idaho became states.

Kootenai County voters picked 22 out of 30, but have the longer winning streak, voting for the presidential winner in every election from 1916 to 1972.

To read the rest of this post, or to see a chart of how the two states, Spokane and Kootenai counties have voted in every presidential election since statehood, click here to go inside the blog.  

More to this campaign than ho-ho-ho

The voice on the other end of the phone was deep and mellifluous. “Jim. It’s Santa Claus.”

It did not belong to the most famous resident of the North Pole, but to a resident of Incline Village, Nev., whose legal name is Santa Claus. A former police official, a monk, a child advocate. A candidate for president.

He’s one of Washington state’s 37 official write-in candidates for president, a list that includes some less-than-serious and some seriously deluded. They are people who took the time to fill out a form and send it to the Secretary of State’s office. Unless you merely want to check running for president off your bucket list, as one Spokane candidate on the list said, it’s an exercise somewhere between futility and obscurity.

You can’t win (please do not bother call and tell me about the conspiracy between the news media and the major parties to keep you from getting the votes you deserve if only we’d pay attention). The votes you get won’t be counted unless they could decide a close presidential race in the state. Translation: They won’t be counted.

Later this month, the state will report the total number of write-ins cast for the office. You can claim all of them; but you can only be certain of one, and that’s if you cast it for yourself.

Claus, however, is a serious guy –

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Washington voter rolls top 3.9 million

OLYMPIA — Washington has slightly more than 3.9 million registered voters for the 2012 general election.

Those numbers include all the in-person registrations at county elections offices through Oct. 29. They are about 270,000 higher than 2008, which was also a record.

Fora drill down of numbers of local interest, go inside the blog.  

More options for that presidential vote

If you don't like Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have other choices, and not just the four other candidates on Idaho’s presidential ballot, or the six others on Washington's.

Voters also can – and hundreds do – write in another name on a space provided. Those votes won't be counted unless the race between Obama and Romney is so close they would make a difference. Even though that’s unlikely in either state, that didn't keep 37 would-be White House occupants from filing as official presidential write-in candidates in Washington.

That’s a record number, Libby Nieland of the state elections office said, possibly because this is the first year Washington allowed online filing of the paperwork and because a website offers would-be candidates information and links to the 43 states that allow presidential write-ins.

It’s free in 42 of them. Kentucky charges $50.

The Washington list includes . . .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

McKenna calls Koster’s comment on rape “innapropriate”

Rob McKenna, the Republican nominee for governor, has called remarks made by a Republican candidate for Congress in a close race in western Washington “inappropriate.”

John Koster, who is running in the Congressional district that includes Seattle suburbs and Mount Vernon, told a liberal activist this week that abortion should be illegal, including when it involves “that rape thing,” according to a report from The Associated Press.

Answering reporters’ questions after a Republican rally in Spokane, McKenna called the comments “inappropriate.”

“I disagree with him strongly,” said McKenna, who supports abortion rights.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who contributed $1,000 to Koster’s campaign earlier this year, said she wasn’t prepared to offer her thoughts on Koster’s statements.

On the Web: Politico thinks McMorris Rodgers in line to move up

Washington state politicians are getting some ink in other publications. Politico has a long piece today assessing Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' prospects of moving up in House GOP hierarchy.

It mentions she's been travelling around to other congressional districts to help Republicans campaign…something her Democratic opponent Rich Cowan has criticized.

Thursday he said the story just confirms his criticism: “Her actions show she spends much of her time being a professional fundraiser for the Republican Party, not our representative. It’s clear she is everywhere in the country but here, pushing her partisan political agenda instead of helping Eastern Washington.”

On the Web: Koster and the ‘rape thing’

Another example of Washington politicians getting in elsewhere: John Koster, the Republican running for the state's 1st Congressional District seat, is getting lots of attention — not necessarily the good kind — for a comment he made about rape.

He's being lumped in with GOP Senate candidates from Missouri and Indiana. Here's the original AP story from  the Everett Herald.

Here's the official Koster campaign reaction.

You can decide for yourself if Koster had a “Todd Akin” moment.

On the Web: HuffPo profiles state Rep. Walsh

Another example of Washington state politicians getting ink elsewhere: Huffington Post looks at state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, noting her stance in support of gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Spin Control readers with good memories might recall a post with a video of her floor speech during the House debate over the bill behind what became Referendum 74.

Today’s fun video: One comment on the election

 

We all feel this way at times, kid. You just gotta hang on a few more days.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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