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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control: Wrapping up loose ends from Tuesday’s primary

Candidates have to believe they can win and shouldn’t discard that faith until absolutely necessary. But neither should they tempt fate the way initiative entrepreneur turned would-be governor Tim Eyman did Tuesday night.

He scheduled what was billed as a victory speech for 7:45 p.m. with polls not closing until 8.

While most of the speech was standard Eyman fare – how he started challenging the establishment some 20 years ago, worked tirelessly to give people a voice and cut their taxes and yada yada – he did wrap up his soliloquy by saying he was called to run for governor and it was now “up to a higher power.”

“God knows exactly what he’s doing. He will make the right decision,” Eyman said.

That higher power, if the nuns who taught me all those years ago were correct, knew before the results started coming in that Eyman wasn’t going to survive the primary. The nuns also taught me not to take his name in vain, so I’m reluctant to say he knew it would happen and placed the call to Eyman just to mess with his head.

Was that a ‘woof’ we heard?

The Insurance Commissioner’s race demonstrated how far Eastern Washington has slid into “yellow dog Republican” territory.

That comes from the saying that some people would vote for a yellow dog if it had Republican after its name. And yes, I know the etymology of the phrase has Southern origins and was originally “yellow dog Democrat” – but sayings can change to fit the times.

Republican Chirayu Patel finished second in that race, with just under 28% of the vote as of Friday’s tally. Anthony Welti, the Libertarian, was third with just over 13%.

Well, you might say, 13% isn’t bad for a Libertarian by Washington standards. They’re usually in single digits.

True enough, but Welti campaigned hard, traveled the state, had substantive things to say about the office, and raised and spent more money than even incumbent Democrat Mike Kreidler. Patel has raised and spent nothing, said he’d ask Welti and Kreidler to split 40% of the workload if elected and hardly campaigned beyond submitting information for the Voter’s Pamphlet.

He also claims to be connected to the minds of Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson, with whom he says he shares Genghis Khan as an ancestor. Which, even if true, doesn’t seem to be much help for being insurance commissioner.

Patel won every county east of the Cascades except Spokane and Whitman. Don’t bet on him doing much worse in the general.

Far down on the ballot

While the focus of Election Night and the few days after has been on who survived the top-two primary, lovers of political trivia might scour the results for other things, like who got the fewest votes in the 36-person gubernatorial primary.

Right now, that’s very much in doubt. David Voltz, who listed his party preference as the Cascadia Labour Party, currently has the fewest, with 381 votes. Apparently Washington voters don’t like people who adopt English spelling affectations.

But a close second – or perhaps second-to-last – is David Blomstrom, of the Fifth Republic Party. Loyal readers might recall that Blomstrom sent out a post-card sized mailer to coincide with the arrival of the ballots which mentioned his candidacy and a book he has self-published that blames Jewish people for COVID-19.

As of Friday, he got 417 votes, or two-hundredths of 1% of those counted. While this is not the way statistical analysis works, it would be nice to think that only 0.02% of Washington voters are anti-semitic.

In other trivial gubernatorial primary news, we have the voters’ judgment on competing views of Donald Trump’s effect on the Republican Party. Three candidates ran as “Trump Republicans,” and together they had 36,125 votes as of Friday afternoon.

Their antithesis, at least in party names, was Nate Herzog who ran as preferring Pre2016 Republican Party, which is to say pre-Trump. He had 8,187 votes, which was less than the average of the pro-Trump candidates, and less than the totals for two of the three.

Herzog did outpoll Goodspaceguy. But Goodspaceguy has run under many party labels in the past with similar results. It’s more likely his votes come from his name than his party preference.