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Smith on Politics: Republicans All-In Gamble on Governor, AG Races Did Not Pay Off

Kagi, Frockt say advisory votes may have confused voters

State Republican gamble didn’t pay off

Washington Republican Party officials took a gamble on this election. It didn’t pay off. State Republicans put all their efforts into electing Rob McKenna as governor and Reagan Dunn as attorney general. Neither won.Republicans put no resources into winning the state against President Barack Obama or U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

National Republican organizations put money into electing McKenna and Dunn.Expected money to elect John Koster to the open 1st District congressional seat disappeared when Democrat Susan DelBene scared Republicans with big spending, including more than $2 million of her own money.

Koster lost for a full term in the new 1st District with 46 percent of the vote to 56 for DelBene and lost for a short term in the old district by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin.McKenna lost to Democrat Jay Inslee by a 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent margin despite having slightly greater financial resources and winning 31 of the state’s 39 counties. Dunn lost to Democrat Bob Ferguson by 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent despite having support from hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures and winning 26 of 39 counties.

Frockt, Kagi say that advisory votes may have confused voters

State Rep. Ruth Kagi and State Sen. David Frockt said after the November election that the two advisory votes on the state ballot might have confused voters.

The advisory votes asked voters whether the Legislature’s elimination of two tax exemptions should be repealed or maintained.

By a 57 percent to 43 percent margin, voters said that elimination of a tax exemption for large banks should be repealed, and by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin they said that expiration of a petroleum-tax should be repealed.

Frockt and Kagi both said that voters might have thought they were voting to repeal the tax breaks rather than to repeal the elimination of the tax breaks.

Frockt represents the 46th Legislative District, including Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and northeast Seattle. Kagi represents the 32nd District, including Shoreline, part of northwest Seattle, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, south Edmonds, Lynnwood and part of Mountlake Terrace.

The advisory votes are required by the voter-approved law that requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of the legislature for any tax increase.

The elimination of both of the tax exemptions passed with two-thirds votes in both the State Senate and State House of Representatives, but, like any tax increases, went to advisory votes. More than 15 percent of King County ballots left the measures blank,

Campaigning for County Council appointment

We’ve reported that 13 people have applied for the position on the King County Council that Bob Ferguson is leaving to become state attorney general.

The eight remaining council members will make the appointment from three candidates nominated by County Executive Dow Constantine with advice from a committee of residents of the Council district.

Many of the applicants, however, are running election-type campaigns.

Seattle attorney Rod Dembowski has set up a campaign web site that cites endorsements from former Lake Forest Park Mayor Dave Hutchinson and retiring 46th District Democratic State Rep. Phyllis Kenny.

Another applicant, 32nd District Democratic State Rep. Cindy Ryu, is holding a campaign kickoff Tuesday.

The council district includes Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, Woodinville, Kenmore, north Kirkland and north Seattle.

The person appointed will serve through next year’s election.

Lots of voters skipped down-ballot contests

More than 82 percent of voters in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and the rest of King County cast ballots in the November general election, but they concentrated on the high-profile contests.

They voted heavily on the same-sex-marriage and marijuana-legalization ballot measures but voted less on items lower on the ballot.

Only 2.5 percent of County voters left their ballots blank on the same-sex-marriage referendum and 2.8 percent left the marijuana initiative blank, but 15.2 percent and 16.3 percent of County ballots were blank on the two State advisory votes.

While less than 1 percent left their ballots blank for president and only 3 percent left their ballots blank for governor, 24.3 percent left the one contested State Supreme Court race blank, 27.3 percent left the King County Superior Court race blank and 19.0 percent left the race for county sheriff blank.

Here are the rates of blank ballots in King County:

Initiative 1185 – two-thirds vote in legislature for tax increases – 10.5 percent;

Initiative 1240 – charter schools -- 6.3 percent;

Referendum 74 – same-sex marriage – 2.5 percent;

Initiative 502 – marijuana legalization – 2.8 percent;

Senate Joint Resolution 8221 – Constitutional amendment on state debt limit – 13.9 percent;

Senate Joint Resolution 8223 – Constitutional amendment on university investments – 10.3 percent;

State Advisory Vote No. 1 – 15.2 percent;

State Advisory Vote No. 2 – 16.3 percent;

President/Vice President – 0.6 percent;

U.S. Senator – 5.3 percent;

Governor – 3.0 percent;

Lieutenant Governor – 8.5 percent;

Secretary of State – 7.4 percent

State Treasurer – 10.2 percent;

State Auditor – 11.4 percent;

State Attorney General – 8.2 percent;

State Lands Commissioner – 10.7 percent;

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (unopposed) – 32.7 percent;

Insurance Commissioner – 11.3 percent;

State Supreme Court – 24.3 percent;

King County Superior Court – 27.3 percent;

King County Sheriff – 19.0 percent. 


Rod December 06, 2012 at 09:31 AM
Thanks for the coverage of the county council race! Folks can learn more about Rod Dembowski at www.vote4rod.com.

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