Smith on Politics: Little Mystery in Local Election, but Future of County Council Seat Provides Intrigue

Would County Council appointee be caretaker or long-term?;Thousands of ballots still to be counted

Would County Council appointee be caretaker or long-term?

We’ve reported that Shoreline City Councilman Will Hall plans to seek the position on the King County Council that will become vacant when current District 1 Councilman Bob Ferguson becomes attorney general in January.

State Rep. Cindy Ryu, who is headed to reelection this week in the 32nd District, is also seeking the Council seat.

The job pays about $135,000 per year. 

Ferguson’s election became certain when Republican Reagan Dunn conceded Thursday.

Now, the County Council and County Executive Dow Constantine will have to decide whether it will pick someone who will run in the next election, as it did this year with Sheriff Steve Strachan, or pick a caretaker, as it did with three other recent appointments. When former County Executive Ron Sims and former County Assessor Scott Noble left in 2009, the Council selected appointees who agreed not to run in the next election. The Council did the same thing when it replaced Constantine on the Council.

The caretaker scenario is likely because, with Ferguson gone, the now-non-partisan Council has four members who first won election as Republicans and four who have been elected to either the Council or some other office as Democrats.   

Shoreline and Lake Forest Park had little mystery in the Tuesday election

In returns reported through Thursday night, the Shoreline proposition to take over the Seattle water utilities in Shoreline was passing with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

Incumbent 32nd Legislative District Democratic State Reps. Ruth Kagi and Cindy Ryu both were winning with about 72 percent of the vote.

In the 46thLegislative District, appointed incumbent Democratic State Rep. Gerry Pollet was defeating Democratic challenger Sylvester Cann by a 66 percent to 33 percent margin, compared to a 60-40 margin in the primary, while Democrat Jessyn Farrell, a Shorecrest High grad, led fellow Democrat Sarajane Siegfriedt for an open seat by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin, after Farrell led Siegfriedt 30 percent to 22 percent in a six-candidate primary; and incumbent Democratic State Sen. David Frockt was unopposed for the last two years of the four-year term he holds by appointment;

Incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott led Republican challenger Ron Bemis by an 80-20 margin.

The results came with ballot-return rates of 60-67 percent, compared to a projected expected final turnout of 81-87 percent.

Thousands of uncounted ballots 

Although King County reported a ballot return rate through Thursday of 58.65 percent, 244,000 of those ballots hadn’t been counted – more than 5,872 in Shoreline, more than 45,310 in the 46th Legislative District. 

Congressional candidates should tell us what district they’re in

We saw TV ads for and against Congressional candidates John Koster, Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer, Bill Driscoll, Dave Reichert and Denny Heck, but we couldn’t vote for most of them.

That’s because they're running in the other six of the seven Congressional districts within the reach of Seattle TV and radio stations.

The ads don’t tell us that Killmer and Driscoll ran in the 6th Congressional District, which stretches from Tacoma across the Olympic Peninsula; that Reichert’s 8th District now includes little of King County and now stretches across the Cascade Mountains; that Heck ran and won in the new 10th District, including Olympia and surrounding areas; or that while many of us chose DelBene over Koster for the short term in the old 1st District, they ran for a full term in the new district, which stretches from east King County to the Canadian border.

Why not require ads for Congressional and legislative candidates to post maps of their districts? Let’s do the same thing in the voters’ pamphlet. My pamphlet includes three congressional districts and 10 legislative districts. There’s plenty of room for a small map that would give an outline, even without detail, of each district.

Paul Ryan ran for both vice president and Congress, something that couldn’t happen here

At the same time that Republican Paul Ryan was the losing candidate for vice president, he won re-election to his congressional seat in Wisconsin.

The law in Wisconsin, and most states allows a candidate to run for more than one position on the same ballot.

 It wouldn't have been allowed here.

 Washington law prohibits anyone from running for two public offices in the same year. So, if the Republicans had nominated Washington Congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rodgers, she would have had to withdraw from her congressional race, meaning that her qualified opponent -- a Democrat -- would have appeared alone on the November ballot. The Republicans would have had to organize a registered write-in campaign



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