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Spin Control

Posts tagged: 2012 elections

Election officially begins in Washington

Washington's Election Day, which is actually a nearly three-week period, began today as county elections offices around the state began mailing out ballots. Some have so many that the process will continue through Friday to meet the statutory deadline for getting all ballots in the mail.

In Spokane County, elections officials mailed out some 153,000 ballots today, or slightly more than half of the total. Those ballots are going to voters in the 3rd and 4th Legislative Districts, while ballots to the 6th, 7th and 9th districts will be mailed Thursday, Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said. At 8.7 cents per ballot — a bulk rate for pre-sorted, non-profit mail — Wednesday's trip to the post office cost the county $13,277.57

Spokane County has a record number of registered voters, at 280,301.

Ballots typically take a few days to reach a voter's mailbox. Voters who haven't moved from the residence listed in their registration could call the elections office if they haven't received a ballot by next Tuesday, McLaughlin said. Voters who recently moved or are out of town, and having the mail forwarded to another address, should contact the office if they haven't received their ballot by Oct. 25. The number is 509-477-2320.

Ballots must be marked, placed in the signed envelopes and either mailed back to the county elections office or deposited in a drop box by Nov. 6. In Spokane County, drop boxes are located at public libraries as well as the elections office at 1033 W. Gardner and the STA Plaza in downtown Spokane.

Ryan in WA today, Clinton on Saturday

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will be in the Seattle area later today for two fund-raisers. The Wisconsin Congressman is attending an evening reception, where tickets start at $1,000, followed by a separate dinner, tickets $25,000.

Those events aren't open to the public or the news media. The only chance for the cameras to catch him is this afternoon when he lands at Boeing Field. With this schedule, Ryan appears to be taking a cue from the Obama playbook, which often uses the Seattle area as a campaign ATM with private fund-raisers and little or no public events.

No public events makes it hard to mount a “spontaneous” demonstration by the other party, so Democrats are settling for a “rapid response” telephonic press conference with several people who will likely excoriate Ryan on his proposed changes to Medicare. It's actually a pre-response, because it's scheduled to happen a couple hours before the veep nominee gets to town.

On Saturday, former President Bill Clinton will be in Seattle for a fund-raiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee at the Convention Center. Tickets start at $150; getting a photo with the former POTUS costs $5,000.

Clinton is apparently a draw, even before his convention speech last week.. An Inslee spokeswoman said they've had to expand the space reserved for the fund-raiser after selling more than 2,000 tickets.

It’s a wrap: Primary vote certified

Even the closest of races have been over for more than a week, but the process of reaching the final election tallies for the Washington state primary just concluded on Tuesday afternoon.

The final turnout: A lower than forecast 38.5 percent statewide, and 38.85 percent in Spokane County.

For a look at the race-by-race results, click here.

Super-majority initiative qualifies for the ballot

OLYMPIA — An initiative reiterating that tax increase must pass the Legislature with a two-thirds majority will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The Washington Secretary of State certified Initiative 1185 for the ballot this morning, giving voters a sixth shot at passing some sort of restriction on tax increases in the last 19 years. The petitions  had an error rate of 19.4 percent, which is higher than average, but sponsors had submitted about a third more signatures than the minimum required.

The state Elections Division  now  begins checking signatures for Initiative 1240, which would allow for establishing charter schools. Sponsors of that proposal submitted even more signatures, and it, too, is expected to qualify for the ballot.

That would mean six statewide ballot measures for voters to consider in November. Here are the other four:

Referendum 74, on same-sex marriage

Initiative 502, on legalizing marijuana for personal use

Resolution 8221, on changes to the state debt limit

Resolution 8223, on changes to investment policies for UW and WSU

For more information on the ballot measures, chedk out the state's Online Voters Guide by clicking here.

Ref. 74 petitions have 200k signatures

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a referendum to overturn the state's same-sex marriage law will turn in some 200,000 signatures on Wednesday morning.

The secretary of state's office said Preserve Marriage Washington is scheduled to turn in signatures at 10 a.m., and the group's website says it has more than 200,000 signatures, which is approaching twice the 120,000 needed to qualify for the November ballot.

State officials recommend petition circulators file at least 150,000 signatures to account for the expected rejection rate of about 18 percent. But Referendum 74 supporters are far beyond that, according to their website.

The state will begin checking a sample of the petitions early next week, and should have it certified by midweek.

Meanwhile, Washington United for Marriage, supporters of the law and opponents of Ref. 74, said they are beginning a phone campaign tonight to ask voters to vote yes on the ballot measure to retain the law.

County awash in PCO candidates

The most basic political position for either party is that of the Precinct Committee Officer, a job with no pay, limited authority, and the potential for significant demands on the office holder’s time.

In theory, Democrats and Republicans should each elect a PCO for each of Spokane County’s 314 precincts every two years, although in many years the parties often go begging for willing candidates, and when they find one, there’s no contest for the job.

Not this year. In 105 precincts, about a third of the county’s total, there will be contested elections. Almost all, 101 races, will be for Republican positions. In one precinct, a South Hill precinct near Roosevelt Elementary School, both parties have contested PCO races with two Democrats and three Republicans.

By comparison, less than a tenth of the precincts in King County have contested PCO races in the Aug. 7 election.

It’s a sign of the ongoing struggle between two factions of the local GOP,

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

Sunday Spin: Be prepared as a voter

As candidates wander around their respective district, county or state looking for support, it’s up to us the voters to have an idea what to expect from them.
They’re trying to cajole your vote with cheesy pictures in brochures or fancy camera work in commercial. It’s our job to make them work for that vote with something more than a nice smile or a catchy slogan on a billboard.
The assignment for Voter 101 is to figure out what’s important to you, and ask the candidate standing at your door or behind the podium “What’s the plan, Stan?”
The Washington Roundtable figured one out recently . . .

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

Today’s fun video: Look at the props in this one

Washington state and Idaho have some unusual, quirky and creative candidates. But so far none of them has produced a video like this one from Jeff Barth, a Democrat running to unseat a Republican congresswoman in South Dakota.

Sure, at nearly 5 minutes, it's too long. But it's still fun. Pay particular attention to the props he uses along the way.

Charter school initiative filed

OLYMPIA — An initiative that would allow the state to form as many as 40 charter schools over the next five years was filed today with the Secretary of State in an effort to get the proposal on the November ballot.

They would be “public charters” which mean they'd be non-profits with the same academic standards as other public schools, but would be exempt from some regulations on curriculum and budget.

The League of Education Voters, which filed the proposal, and its allies have less than two months to gather the 241,153 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. A short time span for most campaigns, although Costco managed to get enough signatures for its “get the state out of the liquor business” initiative in less time last year.

Mark Funk, a campaign spokesman, said the group would use both volunteer and paid-signature collectors to get enough signatures in the short time available. The campaign hasn't raised any money yet, but expects to get contributions from people and groups who have long supported that aspect of education reform, and most money will likely come from individual rather than corporate sources, Funk said.

Washington voters rejected charter schools in 2004, and the Legislature has considered but not passed them since then. Legislation similar to the initiative was introduced with fanfare early in the last legislative session with bipartisan sponsors, but it met with strong opposition from Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislative leaders in both chambers, and eventually died.

Text of the initiative can be found here.

Another legislator out: Pflug to take GMA Board slot

OLYMPIA — The number of vacant seats in the Legislature continues to grow, as Sen. Cheryl Pflug accepted a gubernatorial appointment Monday to the Growth Management Hearings Board.

Pflug, R-Maple Valley, represents the suburban King County 5th Legislative District, first elected to the House in 1998, then appointed to the Senate in 2004 when Dino Rossi resigned to run for governor. (Those with really long memories might recall that the 5th District used to be located in Spokane County prior to 1992.)

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced this afternoon she was appointing Pflug to a six-year term on the board, which settles disputes over planning and development issues in cities and counties around the state, and two representatives each from Eastern Washington, Central Puget Sound, and the rest of the state West of the Cascades.

Pflug filed for re-election last week, listing her party preference as “Independent GOP Party.” She will have to withdraw from that race because she can't serve on the board and in the Legislature. That leaves the seat to a race between Democrat Mark Mullet and Republican Brad Toft.

It's also at least the third surprise departure from the Senate this month. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, announced May 3 that she was retiring and Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee and a key player in this year's budget negotiations, announced last Friday that he'd had enough, too.

There’s a reason it’s called a political party

Washington’s Top 2 primary doesn’t just bring out a wealth of candidates. It brings out the creativity in some of those candidates as they list which party they “prefer.” Preference is a key part of the Top 2, because it doesn’t limit the general election field to one Democrat and one Republican, so no matter what party is listed on the ballot, if a candidate finishes first or second, he or she goes on to November. Finish third or worse and it’s “Later, gator.”
This year we have a candidate from the Human Rights Party running for secretary of state, candidates from the FDR Democratic Party, the Progressive Independent Party, the Employmentwealth Party and the 99% Party running for various Congressional seats (on the West Side, of course.) Lieutenant governor attracted the most creativity, with candidates inventing an Indep Republican Party, a Democracy Indep. Party and a Neopopulist Party. And there is the usual schism for between candidates who want to list Republican Party and others who want to list the GOP Party. The latter ignore the redundancy because spelling out the acronym would mean they prefer the Grand Old Party Party.
Or they just really like to party.
  

A Filing Week tradition ends

When the dust from candidate filing week settled at the close of business Friday, there were a few surprises in who is running for what. But the biggest surprise was who isn’t running.
For the first time since 1996, a Spokane primary election ballot will be printed without Barbara Lampert’s name on it.
The retired nurse’s aide said after that first campaign 16 years ago she planned to run every year for something until she got elected or turned 70. In that span, she has run for almost every office short of president in that span, from U.S. Senate down to city council member. She is such a fixture that some political reporters joked recently about betting on which race it would be.
Joke’s on us. Lampert, at 66, is shy of her self-imposed age limit and hasn’t wound up with the most votes in a general election. But Friday she said she’s getting spoiled in retirement and isn’t up to a run this year. “I was just too busy with other things,” she said. “There’s no sense to kill myself.”
To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog

Day 5 Filing Week: A long ballot for Aug. 7

OLYMPIA – Washington’s primary ballot got longer and more interesting before elections offices closed for filing Friday afternoon.

Spokane-area ballots will have nine candidates for governor, eight for U.S. Senate, seven for secretary of state, six for lieutenant governor, five for a Spokane legislative seat, four for Eastern Washington’s 5th District congressional seats. No partridges or pear trees, though.

Many of the candidates for major offices are well-known, and have been campaigning for months. Some entering the field this week are perennial candidates who regularly file for something, but rarely make it past a primary. Mike the Mover, owner of a Seattle area moving company who legally changed his name to reflect his occupation, filed this year for Senate, as did Will Baker of Tacoma and Glen Stockwell, a Ritzville resident who has tried legislative campaigns in the past.

The Aug. 7 election is a Top 2 primary, which means the candidates with the most, and second most votes move on to the general, regardless of party. Candidates say which party the prefer, but that doesn’t signify party support, or even recognition.

That means some races in November could match two Democrats or two Republicans. It also means candidates are free to describe their party preference in creative ways, to make up parties, or say they have no party preference at all.

For a list of candidates appearing on Spokane-area ballots in the primary, and their stated party preference, go inside the blog.

Day 5 Filing Week: Waite drops out on the final day

OK candidates, it's down to the wire. You have until 5 p.m to file for statewide office, and 4 p.m. to file for an office with a district that is solely within Spokane County.

As we approach the deadline, the field for one of the races got smaller. Spokane businessman John Waite posted on Facebook that he was dropping out of the 3rd District primary for an open state House of Representatives position. Waite said he was throwing his support behind Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder.

That leaves three Democrats — Bob Apple, Marcus Riccelli and Snyder — as well as Republicans Tim Benn and Morgan Oyler, in that race.

For a list of all candidates filed for offices on Spokane-area ballots as of 3 p.m., go inside the blog.

Day 3 Filing Week: Some familiar names and one new one

OLYMPIA — The middle of filing week, as usual, brings some familiar names to the primary ballot and at least one newcomer: Mike the Mover has filed for governor. John Adams has filed for state insurance commissioner.

Ian Moody of Spokane has filed for the U.S. House in Eastern Washington's 5th District.

The Mover runs for some major political office every two years. In 2010 and 2006 it was U.S. Senate. In 2004 it was governor. In 2000, insurance commissioner. He seemed to be ready to sit out 2008 and didn't show up anywhere during fililng week, but later filed to run for governor as a write-in candidate.

As his name (which was legally changed years ago from Michael Shanks), he runs a moving company in the Seattle area.

John Adams, who has a presidential-sounding name, has run for insurance commissioner in 2004 and 2008, capturing the Republican nomination both times, then spending small sums — $1,346 in '08 and $997 in '04 — on his campaign. He got about 41 percent of the vote the first time and about 39 percent the second, which is a pretty good vote-to-dollar-spent ratio, in a “statistics are for losers” kind of metric.

Moody is active in efforts to legalize marijuana and the Sensible Spokane Alliance. His congressional campaign will dovetail with marijuana intiative efforts, and bring attention to problems with federal marijuana laws, he said. He's running with no party preference and describes himself as a social progressive and fiscal conservative.

For the latest list of candidate filings for offices on Spokane-area ballots, go inside the blog.

Day 2 Filing Week: Inslee draws a crowd

Inslee gives a campaign speech on the Capitol steps after filing for office.

OLYMPIA — In front of a crowd that included babies in arms, senior citizens and union members in hard hats, Democrat Jay Inslee tried to energize his gubernatorial campaign after making it official.
One of a handful of candidates to file paperwork and pay his fee Tuesday, Inslee gave a campaign speech on the Capitol steps after completing the process inside the building to run for governor.
State Republicans were quick with a counterpunch, saying voters shouldn’t choose Inslee to be governor after he decided he couldn’t serve out his congressional term and run for office at the same time. Inslee resigned his seat earlier this year to campaign full time.
“Ex-Congressman Inslee is obviously not concerned about the welfare of (Congressional) District One, so how can he be concerned about the welfare of the state?” State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said in a prepared statement a few hours after Inslee filed.
After his speech, Inslee talked with reporters about plans for education improvements  that would build on successes around the state and pay bonuses to the best teachers willing to be mentors to new teachers. He shied away from the term charter schools, saying at one point it has different meanings to different people, and for some signifies a lack of control by locally elected school boards. Changes under his plan would be controlled by school boards, and possibly funded by state grants, he said.
Inslee
also disagreed with fellow Democrat and retiring Gov. Chris Gregoire, who said he and Republican candidate Rob McKenna need to acknowledge the fact that the state faces a new source of revenue — that is to say, a tax increase — to cover a $1 billion jump in spending to comply with a recent state Supreme Court ruling on fully funded basic education. No new taxes are needed, he said, if the economy gets back on track, more people get back to work, and the state finds savings elsewhere in the budget, like reducing health care costs.

For the 5 p.m. update on the list of candidate filings, click here to go inside the blog.

Day 2 Filing Week: As the day starts

OLYMPIA — Filing week continues today for all the political offices on the Aug. 7 Top 2 primary ballot. Unlike Monday, when there was the traditional rush into the elections offices by anxious candidates, Tuesday started slower.

Sen. Mark Schoesler and Rep. Joe Schmick, Republican incumbents in southeast Washington's 9th Legislative District, filed this morning. Overnight, Republican Art Coday filed electronically for U.S. Senate.

Yes, you actually can avoid the trip to the county elections office or Secretary of State's office, save time and gasoline, by filing online. (Click here for details.) You can sell yourself as the sensible, efficient, environmentally friendly, tech savvy candidate. But you miss the chance to turn your filing, which is really just a clerical exercise, into a campaign event.

Speaking of which, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the leading Democratic candidate for governor, will be chatting with reporters on the north steps of the Capitol this morning after filing his forms and paying the fee.

For the latest list of candidates for offices on Spokane-area ballots, click here to go inside the blog.

Day 1 Filing Week. Some races fill up quickly

OLYMPIA — Some races are starting to fill up quickly on the first morning of filing week as many of the expected candidates and a few surprises turn in their forms and fees.

The top of the ballot for the Aug. 7 primary, the U.S. Senate race, had three names before lunchtime: Incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane's 6th Legislative District were “givens.” But filing first was a previously unheralded candidate, Chuck Jackson of Snohomish. He listed Republican as his party preference, and scaryreality.com as his e-mail provider.

The statewide race attracting the most attention so far is secretary of state. Incumbent Sam Reed is retiring, and five candidates already want to take his place. First in the blocks, and perhaps the first person to file this morning at 8:00 a.m., was Sam Wright of Olympia, who lists his preference as the Human Rights Party. Perhaps more recognizable to a larger chunk of the state's electorate is former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, listing Democrat as his party preference. Democratic State Sen. Jim Kastama also wants that job, as does Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former state senator, and Karen Murray of Quincy, who lists the Constitution Party as her preference.

On a local note, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase filed for the County Commissioner seat being vacated by fellow Republican Mark Richard.

For more candidate filings, go inside the blog. We'll update the list several times a day.

Sunday Spin: Cameras part of campaign trail, candidates should act accordingly

 

OLYMPIA – Cameras are everywhere.
That’s the lesson of a 30-second exchange between Rob McKenna, the state attorney general who would-be governor, and a young woman on a Seattle sidewalk that went from pointed conversation to Youtube video overnight, and resuscitated an issue Republicans were probably glad to have killed during the Legislative session.
McKenna was coming out of the Red Lion Conference Center last week when Kendra Obom, tape recorder in hand, approached and asked what his stance is on the Reproductive Parity Act. His response, McKenna said as he continued walking, was that he’s a lawyer for the state, suggested Obom turn her recorder off and accused her of “trying to bushwhack me,” as well as not being very polite and possibly not honest.
Obom, following along, protested that she was just wondering. McKenna, still walking, continued to ask if she thought she was being honest, until she said “forget it” and he countered with a suggestion that she was trying to gain a political advantage, then closed off the exchange with “Why don’t you get a job?”

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

Billig running for re-election

Democratic State Rep. Andy Billig made it official Thursday that he would run for re-election in the 3rd Legislative District.

Billig, the co-owner of the Spokane Indians baseball team, was elected to an open seat in 2010 in a crowded race. With just over two weeks before candidates file for office, he has no announced opposition.

He scheduled a campaign kickoff event for May 16, saying he wants to continue “to fight for our community's values like equal rights, justice and prosperity.”

The 3rd District covers much of central Spokane, including downtown, he lower South Hill, East Central, Logan, Hillyard and West Central. It's one of the state's most reliably Democratic districts.

Although Billig is the district's least senior legislator, his two seatmates have already drawn Republican opponents. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown faces Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin and Rep. Timm Ormsby faces Dave White, who ran unsuccessfully against Billig in 2010.

 

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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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