Posts tagged: 2011 election
Fromer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney topped the field, but barely, in Spokane County.
Four years after dominating the county's caucuses, Texas Congressman Ron Paul slipped to third.
Here are the Spokane County results, according to Spokane County GOP Chairman Matthew Pederson:
1. Romney, 1,521
2. Santorum, 1,511
3. Paul, 1,340
4. Gingrich, 411
5. Undecided, 273
6. Write-ins, 10
Spokane City Councilman Richard Rush said this afternoon that he has decided against paying for a hand recount in his race against Mike Allen.
Rush said after further consideration of the results of the machiine recount, as well as the hand recount that was completed in the 4th Legislative District Senate race, it was highly unlikely that a hand recount would change the outcome.
The hand recount had been scheduled to start on Tuesday.
The council race for the city's south district was recounted by machine because the gap between Allen and Rush was only 88 votes and less than half a percentage point. After ballots were run through the counting machines again, Allen's lead increased to 91. In the hand recount in the state Senate race that was paid for by losing candidate Jeff Baxter, results barely changed.
“That was valuable information that I hadn't been able to thoroughly process,” Rush said.
Rush had been concerned about the number of voters in the district who opted not to make a choice in the contest and requested the hand recount, which candidates can request at their expense. State law requires races to recounted by hand at government request only when they are within a quarter of a percentage point.
Donors gave more than $6,000 to the Spokane County Democratic Party to cover the cost of the Rush-Allen hand recount.
“I don't think the manual recount would be a wise use of their money,” Rush said.
He said he left a message for Allen this afternoon to congratulate him.
Asked what his plans are, Rush said: “I plan to think about my plans.”
“It's a relief to put this behind me and think about the future.”
Former Councilman Mike Allen's lead over incumbent Richard Rush grew by three to 91 on Wednesday after a recount of the Spokane City Council election for the city's south district.
The race was recounted by machine because the result from the first count was within half of 1 percentage point. Rush said he still plans to pursue a hand recount, which the Spokane County Democratic Party has agreed to finance.
Results of a hand recount in the 4th Legislative District senate race, which also was completed Wednesday and was paid for by candidate Jeff Baxter, may not give Rush much hope for much change.
Baxter paid more than $1,700 to have 10 precincts recounted in his race against state Sen. Mike Padden. Election workers who tallied the ballots Wednesday morning found two errors. Baxter lost a vote, and one vote that had been counted as blank was changed to a write-in, for the candidate “N/A.”
In the Rush-Allen race, Rush's tally was found to be too high by two and Allen gained a vote after a ballot that had been counted as blank was found to have been marked for Allen.
Election Manager Mike McLaughlin said he can't say for sure why Rush's count fell by two. One possibility is that after paper jams occurred in the machines, ballots that already had been counted may have been sent through a second time, he said.
Each campaign involved in the two recounts had observers at the Elections Office.
Baxter lost to Padden by 3,638 votes. He said he paid for the recount with his personal money and did so because results in some precincts conflicted with data campaign workers collected when going door-to-door. The outcome hints that in a future race volunteers need to do a better job reaching voters when they're home, he said.
“I didn't think anything insidious was going on,” Baxter said. “I'm just saying that we need to work a little harder in different precincts.”
Baxter said he hasn't decided if he will run again next year.
Last week, Rush indicated that Baxter may have paid for a recount to prevent Rush's race from being recounted by hand. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton originally requested that the City Council race be counted by hand to test new scanners in the county's voting machines. But she changed course after Baxter opted to pay for a recount in his race.
“It had absolutely nothing to do with his race,” Baxter said. “I don't have the time to be playing those games.”
The final outcome of the City Council race for a seat representing south Spokane won’t be decided until next week.
That’s when the Spokane County Election’s Office will recount ballots in a contest so close that state law required a second examination.
Former Councilman Mike Allen leads incumbent Richard Rush by a mere 88 votes.
Although it’s a lead of less than half a percentage point, it is a wide enough margin that is unlikely to shrink enough to change, considering past recounts. Recounts in Spokane County have generally changed tallies by a few votes or less.
The Spokane County Canvassing Board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton’s recommendation to count ballots by hand. State law only would have required the recount to be done manually if the difference had been within a quarter of a percentage point.
Dalton argued that the council race is the county’s first chance to test official ballots on a large scale since new scanners were installed this summer in the county’s six vote-counting machines, which were manufactured by Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software.
“A recount is a very rare opportunity to let us test the accuracy of the machines using the real ballots marked by actual voters,” Dalton said.
She added: “It’s an attempt to give closure to the candidates in the most definitive way possible.”
It’s hard to imagine how Mayor Mary Verner could have lost so much ground between the primary and the November election without concerns about the Otto Zehm case eating at her base.
With some members of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane expressing the possibility of sitting out the election or even casting a vote for a Republican who served a conservative member of Congress, it became clear that Verner had a problem, a problem that became more pronounced when Tom Keefe, a former Spokane County Democratic Party chair endorsed now Mayor-elect David Condon.
There were two key questions that Verner would not answer, at least completely, for most of the campaign:
- Why did the city file a response to the lawsuit from Otto Zehm’s family indicating that officers followed proper police policies when they confronted Otto Zehm, who died from injuries he suffered in that confrontation, even though the man who led the department at the time of the confrontation, Assistant Chief Jim Nicks, felt differently?
- Was she informed about the request by Department of Justice officials to meet regarding their concerns about the behavior of the city attorney’s office?
After the now infamous “FAQ” news conference that was overshadowed by Councilman Bob Apple, Verner had what may have been her worst few weeks as mayor, including a ‘60-Minutes’-style, chase-down-the-sidewalk-while-the-politician-refuses-to-answer-questions segment that ran on KREM-TV, fresh with a moment when she put a hand over the camera complaining of the bright camera light.
Just before conceding, Mayor Mary Verner published a scathing comment on Facebook about her opponent’s campaign which she said is a “turning point for the way campaigns are conducted in Spokane.”
“David Condon’s race for a non-partisan local office was woven into a … larger partisan domination strategy with out-of-town consultants, push polls and shrewd positioning of issues in collaboration with media mouthpieces. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on the campaigns, while more and more people have fallen into joblessness, homelessness, hunger and despair,” she wrote.
But was this campaign that much different than the other three to elect a strong mayor?
When it comes to the amount of money, no. Dennis Hession raised nearly as much as Condon in 2007. John Powers spent more than Condon in 2000.
When it comes to out-of-town consultants, no. Verner apparently is referring to Stan Shore, an Olympia-based consultant who was hired by Condon. But he also worked in each of the previous three mayoral campaigns on behalf of Hession, Jim West and John Talbott.
When it comes to partisan politics, yes. The state Republican Party’s decision to contribute more than $60,000 to Condon in the final days of the campaign is unprecedented. (And could still lead to an investigation into election rules. A complaint filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission will be considered for a possible investigation after Thanksgiving, PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said Thursday.)
But party involvement in city races isn’t new. Councilman Steve Corker, a Verner supporter, has noted that parties started getting involved in nonpartisan local elections about a decade ago when the Democratic Party assisted Powers, and Tom Keefe, the former Spokane County Democratic Party, chair argues that it was Democrats who worked to turn the Condon-Verner race into a partisan battle.
Condon correctly predicted outrage was coming on water rates. Even before summer bills were mailed, he began attacking the water rate restructuring. When the bills were opened, he already had defined himself as the candidate who opposed them.
On its face, focusing on sewer rate increases seemed to be the bigger issue since they are going up by higher percentages and they affect everyone equally, and most people actually pay less under the new water rate structure. But most who pay less pay a little less while some who pay more pay a whole lot more. And those people are outraged. (Just ask the people who answer the phones at City Hall.) Also, since the sewer rate increases in large part goes to build systems to keep raw sewage out of the river, focusing on sewer rates may have led savvy opponents to respond: “Mary Verner is working to keep the Spokane River clean while Condon supports dumping raw sewage in the river” — or something like that. Focusing on the water rates came with the TV campaign ad B-roll of pull-on-your-heartstrings footage of children running through sprinklers that sent the message: “These rates are so high your children may not be able to play in the sprinkler anymore, thanks to Mary Verner!”
Then billboards, posted by an anonymous person, were posted with false messages on the rates and even people whose rates had fallen started to believe that they had doubled.
Verner’s response was to point back at the Spokane City Council, which indeed led the process to restructure rates. But she signed the ordinance, and once you sign it, the public usually blames the mayor.
The race between incumbent Councilman Richard Rush and former Councilman Mike Allen for Rush's south Spokane City Council seat was sent within recount margins by counting on Tuesday.
Only 92 votes now separate the two, and if the race remains within a half percentage point, it will be recounted by computer. If it gets within a quarter of a percentage point, it will be recounted by hand.
Currently, Allen leads Rush 50.22 percent to 49.78 percent.
There are 369 votes to count. Rush needs to capture about 63 percent of them to win.
Also in Spokane, Proposition 1, the Community Bill of Rights, finally went to defeat on Tuesday. It trails by a little over 1,000 votes. It captured 49.1 percent of the vote. The group that worked to place it on the ballot, Envision Spokane, might consider the neck-and-neck outcome a victory since its first attempt to pass a different Community Bill of Rights was defeated with only 24 percent support in 2009.
The results for Spokane mayor haven't changed much from election night. David Condon had 52.4 percent of the vote to Mary Verner's 47.6 percent after Tuesday's count.
In Spokane Valley, Ben Wick definitively captured a seat on City Council in Tuesday's count. He leads Marilyn Cline by 360 votes. There are only 364 votes left to count in the race.
Countywide, there are about 2,600 votes left to count.
A race for Spokane City Council inched closer to an automatic recount on Monday in the fourth day of ballot counting from the Nov. 8 election. Former Councilman Mike Allen’s lead over incumbent Richard Rush for a seat representing south Spokane fell by 17 votes to 135.
There are about 1,143 votes left to count in the contest, and if it tightens to within a half percentage point, an automatic computer recount will occur. Allen currently has 50.33 percent to Rush’s 49.67 percent.
Spokane Proposition 1, the Community Bill of Rights, appears to be headed to defeat after the fourth day of counting. It lost ground and is trailing by 1,013 votes with 2,777 left to count.
In Spokane Valley, Ben Wick’s lead over Marilyn Cline for City Council position 6 grew to 354 votes. There are 1,120 votes left count.
Mayor-elect David Condon’s lead over Spokane Mayor Mary Verner grew slightly in counting on Monday. He now leads by 2,777 votes. Coincidentally, that’s the same number of votes left to count in the race.
Because several people have asked, we went back to look at the vote totals of the August primary for Spokane mayor, to compare with the current count in the general election.
It's a bit tricky, because the primary featured five candidates — four challengers and incumbent Mary Verner, who finished first with nearly 60 percent of the vote. David Condon finished second with about 33 percent. But she won almost all the precincts.
This map shows the difference between Verner's vote totals in each precinct and the combined totals of all “non-Verner votes”, that is, all the challengers on the ballot, the write-ins and the Under Votes that have no one chosen in that race.
Again, Verner won most precincts, but she had some weaknesses where the total of all non-Verner votes was greater than her vote count.
Compare this map with the latest results (above) where she leads in the city's core on the lower South Hill, but he's leading in most of the surrounding precincts.
Mayor Mary Verner's interview last night with Mike Fitzsimmons on KXLY 920 AM has been making the rounds on Twitter today. And it's worth a listen.
Here's some of what was said. The entire interview is in the link above.
Verner: …I do know that on your radio show you’ve helped perpetuate a lot of misinformation so I’ve been up against a series of unfolding events and a very negative misinformation campaign and I still have a lot of support in this community. So I’m really looking forward to the rest of the ballots coming in.
Fitzsimmons: You sound quite bitter.
Verner: Mike I’ve been on your show quite a few times, and I’ve also listened to some of the things that you have perpetuated on your show. I’m sorry if it comes across as bitter. I’m very disappointed in you.
Fitzsimmons: Well, we’re disappointed in you as well, which is maybe why you’re losing tonight.
Verner: Well, that’s certainly your opinion and you’ve certainly had lots of airtime to express it. ….
(The two argue about how often the mayor has accepted invitations to appear on the show.)
Fitzsimmons: I don’t want to get into it. You’re the one who brought the issue up to begin with. Perhaps you might want to look at water rates, you might want to look at the whole Otto Zehm thing if you’re really looking for the reason why you’re trailing right now.
Verner: Well, I have looked into that and those are exactly a couple of the issues that you’ve kind of put on the block that don’t have a lot of substance to them. But I’m still very pleased with the support that I have ….
Here's are Verner's statements to her supporters and repoters last night.
The Spokane County Elections Office has reported that it received nearly 23,000 ballots in the mail today.
There are 22,200 ballots left to count in the City of Spokane. For Verner to make a comeback, she'll need to win 56.4 percent of those votes. That doesn't include ballots the county will get later this week, but Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said he expects only about 1,000 ballots countywide be in the mail on Thursday.
Verner said her campaign had phone banks and several other late efforts that could turn around her fate. And there is some question as to how voters may have reacted to the late big donations from the state Republican Party. But voters should have already known Condon was a Republican, “nonpartisan” on his signs or not.
Condon had significant get-out-the-vote efforts, and the biggest news of last week, the conviction of a Spokane police officer in a trial in which the federal government accused the police department of a cover-up, does not favor the incumbent.
Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said she expects only one count of votes tonight.
Results should be released about 8:15 p.m. She said including today's mail, the county has received about 100,000 ballots. About 90,000 of those will be counted in the numbers released tonight.
Dalton said once all the ballots are returned, the county expects to receive between 130,000 and 140,000 ballots. What's not counted tonight will be counted later in the week.
Here's where some candidates will wait for results tonight:
Mary Verner: Taaj Indian restaurant, 128 W. Third Ave.
David Condon, Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori: Barrister Winery, 1213 W. Railroad Ave.
Ben Stuckart: Two Seven Public House, 2727 S. Mt. Vernon St.
Donna McKereghan: Geno's, 1414 N. Hamilton St.
Richard Rush and Joy Jones: Hamilton Studios, 1427 W. Dean
Mike Padden, campaign headquarters, 10807 E. Montgomery
Jeff Baxter, Luxury Box, 10512 E. Sprague
Mayoral candidate David Condon over the weekend got another big lift from the state Republican Party.
The GOP contributed $38,000 to Condon’s campaign on Saturday, according to reports filed to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Late last month, the party gave his campaign $25,000.
Condon, the former district director of Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is challenging incumbent Mayor Mary Verner in Tuesday's election. Last week, the executive director of the party said the GOP opted to contribute to Condon to help “take out” Verner to prevent her from challenging McMorris Rodgers in the future.
The late contribution takes Condon’s total tally to $288,000. Verner has raised about $125,000. Independent groups have spent about $26,000 on her behalf.
Most contributors are limited to $800 per candidate per election. But rules enable political parties to give much more. The state Republican Party received several significant contributions from Condon supporters in August, September and October. A Verner supporter filed a complaint with the PDC last week arguing that the party donations violate contribution limits. The state party says it complied fully with the law.
When David Condon began to publicly criticize Mary Verner's handling of the Otto Zehm case, Verner said Condon's critique was further victimizing the Zehm family “by attempting to elevate himself.”
The Inland Northwest Leadership Political Action Committee, which has spent about $25,000 on the mayoral race in support of Verner, has made similar allegations.
“Unfortunately, David Condon is now desperately trying to exploit this tragedy for political gain,” says an article on the group's website.
But last week, Breean Beggs, who represents the Zehm family and has contributed money to the Verner campaign, said Zehm family members do not feel exploited or victimized by Condon or other city candidates who have discussed the case. Beggs said that's because they feel that police oversight, training, procedures and other issues surrounding the case are legitimate issues that should be considered by those seeking city office.
The Spokane County Republican Party, which has previously declined to endorse candidates running as Republicans against Democrats when they declined to sign the county party's platform, has sent out recommendations for how to vote in Tuesday's nonparitsan city elections.
The picks include: David Condon for mayor, Mike Fagan, Steve Salvatori and Mike Allen for City Council and Dennis Hession for City Council president. The candidates apparently didn't have to sign any pledges to win the recommendations.
Condon, Fagan, Salvatori and Allen have clear ties to the party, though the party declined to back Allen in his 2009 bid for council. And while Hession has enjoyed some Republican support in past races, he also has been more aligned with the Democratic Party, at least on some environmental and social issues.
The party posted the following statement with its recommendations: “The Spokane County Republican Party acknowledges the non-partisan nature of local elections and makes no claim that recommended candidates are in any way affiliated with the Republican Party. The following recommendations are not intended to serve as an endorsement of any issue or candidate.”
It was clear on the evening of Aug. 16 that the race for mayor was Mary Verner's to lose.
But a lot has happened since then, including the conviction of Officer Karl Thompson.
So will she hold on?
As far as we at Spin Control know, there has been no scientific polling of the race, at least not the kind of unbiased polling newspapers like to have for campaign 'horse race' stories.
Last month, the Condon campaign wrote to potential donors that polling showed him within 3 points of Verner. Condon, however, has declined to release details of the poll. His campaign expense reports indicate that his campaign paid Pollis Political Service, which is a political strategy consultant firm, not a scientific polling company, for the poll.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the poll isn't relevant. Spin Control heard from someone who received the phone poll and it went something like this (this is extremely paraphrased):
1. Do you support Verner or Condon?
2. If you knew Mary Verner increased water rates would you be you more or less likely to vote for her?
3. If you knew Mary Verner messed up the handling of the Otto Zehm cases would you be more or less likely to vote for her?
4. If you knew Mary Verner eliminated the city's property crime detective division would you be more or less likely to vote for her?
5. Now who do you support for mayor, Verner or Condon?
Only one of the 10 candidates on the ballot next week for Spokane city office agreed to sign a pledge promising to oppose any Spokane Police Guild contract unless the union agrees to stronger police oversight, the Center for Justice reported this week.
A coalition of groups including the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane asked the candidates as well as four City Council members not running in elections this fall if they would sign a pledge promising not to vote for a guild contract unless the union agrees to the provisions of the ombudsman ordinance that recently was repealed.
The city's 2010 police ombudsman law was thrown out by the City Council last month after an arbitrator ruled that the rules needed to be agreed to by the guild.
Only Donna McKereghan, who is running for the City Council seat in Northeast Spokane signed the pledge. Another candidate, Joy Jones, said she would not vote for a contract without stronger oversight but declined to sign the pledge. Jones is running for Spokane City Council in the Northwest district.
The center created a scoring system based on each candidate's response to its request. To see the rankings, continue reading the post.
Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe declined to comment this week about her “totally sucks” comment becoming a major highlight of the David Condon campaign for mayor.
DeRuwe made the comment last month soon after sending a news release announcing that the department eliminated its property crime detective division earlier this year.
Mayor Mary Verner has argued that the change was about reallocating existing resources and that property crimes still will be investigated by detectives who now also will investigate other crimes. Chief Anne Kirkpatrick says fewer property crimes are being investigated but that the department still works many cases.
The statement from DeRuwe is pretty powerful and was quite a gift to the Condon campaign. My only question as someone who grew up with a mom who detested the word “sucks” is: How will posting it on televisions over the dinner hour play with the 'Wheel of Fortune' crowd?