Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

Spin Control: If at first you don’t succeed, you can run for something else as a write-in

Most candidates who lose a long-shot bid in the primary decide to heed the voice of the voters, go home and find other things to occupy their time. A few decide to double down with an even longer shot by running a write-in campaign for another office.

That’s what Republican Brad Klippert, a Kennewick legislator, decided to do after finishing fifth in the 4th Congressional District primary in August. He is running for secretary of state as a write-in in the general election.

He’ll be trying to attract Republican votes to top Democrat Steve Hobbs and independent Julie Anderson, who finished ahead of all the GOP candidates in the primary for that spot. Even if he’s the only Republican to try such a move, it would be unprecedented for a write-in candidate of any stripe to win a statewide race.

Washington has a “sore loser” law, which forbids a candidate who finishes out of the money in the primary from running as a write-in for that particular race in the general. But they’re free to run for anything else.

Something similar was attempted by Republican Joshua Freed in 2020, after he finished third in the gubernatorial primary. He ran as a write-in for lieutenant governor in the general election, which had two Democrats.

While the state doesn’t tabulate the names on write-in ballots unless they would affect the election, it’s safe to assume Freed got most of the 759,000 write-ins cast in that general election and may even have won several central Washington counties. But the winner Denny Heck got 1.6 million votes.

Look, up in the sky

Mount Rainier is one of the most iconic objects in Western Washington, so one might assume local residents are familiar with the state’s tallest landmark. Last week would suggest otherwise.

A photo on an early morning television report seemed to show a cloud of steam rising from a spot near the crater, which set off alarm bells on social media. Rainier, or Mount Tahoma as the region’s longest-term residents call it, is after all a dormant volcano. Local news organizations like to write about the grave consequences of a possible Rainier eruption almost as much as they like to write about the possible catastrophe of a 9.0+ eruption of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies moved quickly to tamp down any concerns with statements that Rainier wasn’t erupting. It wasn’t a cloud of steam, they said. It was a cloud of, well, clouds, the lenticular variety that often form around the mountain.

Fate, when tempted, responds

One consequence of being a reporter in the state where COVID-19 was first detected in the United States was writing about the pandemic early and often, some 200 stories between the time it descended on the closing days of the 2020 Legislature and now.

Stories about the virus itself and people who had it. Stories about the ways to test for it, contain and treat it. Stories about things that don’t actually seem to treat it despite what some folks would have you believe. And lots of stories about the emergency rules put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee in response to the pandemic, as well as questions about when that emergency declaration might be lifted.

All of this while keeping my journalistic objectivity intact by not actually contracting COVID.

Until last week.

It was probably a consequence of tempting fate. A few days earlier my wife and I had mentioned to a friend that we had escaped COVID while we knew some people like our son who’d had it twice. The next day I had a bit of a scratchy throat and a cough that felt like allergies. A day later we got word our daughter and youngest grandson had COVID.

We stuck the long swabs up our noses, twirled them around both nostrils, squished them out in the vials of liquid, dripped three drops into the test strips and waited 15 minutes.

Two lines for both of us. COVID positive. Darn.

I’d hoped to make it to the end of the last Inslee emergency declarations without COVID. As it turned out, I almost made it to the date when he announced those final declarations will be lifted on Oct. 31.

I could say I’m thankful it’s probably omicron and I’ve been sicker. But that might be another instance of tempting fate, so I’ll say instead I’m being extremely careful and getting lots of rest.

More from this author