Murray wins big as voters dump McGinn; it’s all over but the concession
State Sen. Ed Murray took a big lead Tuesday night of 56 percent to 43 percent over incumbent Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a margin that makes the 18-year veteran of the Washington Legislature a nearly sure bet to become Seattle’s next mayor. McGinn acknowledged to supporters that he is “pretty far behind,” but his fervent crowd talked Hizzoner out of conceding right now. “OK, not yet, we’ll count a few more votes,” he said. McGinn had acknowledged he is likely to be making a concession call to Murray. Murray, 58, who is gay, is a longtime champion of gay and lesbian rights in the Legislature, but has also drafted transportation legislation and chaired budget writing committees. Once considered likely to run for Congress, he has campaigned for mayor since late last year. The apparent defeat of McGinn marks the third time in 12 years that Seattle voters have tossed out an incumbent mayor. Paul Schell in 2001 and Greg Nickels in 2009 failed to make it out of the primary election. Seattle P-I, 11-5-13.
Conlin leads Sawant; other Seattle City Council incumbents win
Three Seattle City Council incumbents coasted to re-election Tuesday, while a fourth held a smaller lead over a socialist challenger in initial returns. Richard Conlin, who has been on the council for 16 years, said he viewed his 53.6 percent–46.1 percent lead as insurmountable. But challenger Kshama Sawant did not concede, citing the fact she gained 2 percent in votes counted after the night of the August primary. Sawant, the first socialist to make the general election for the council in 22 years, said in a statement that “regardless of the eventual result, this is a tremendous victory.” In the only other race that had been seen as somewhat competitive, first-term incumbent Mike O’Brien took 64.4 percent of the first returns against challenger Albert Shen, who was at 35.3 percent. Sally Bagshaw and Nick Licata had only nominal opposition. Seattle Times, 11-5-13.
District elections passing, by surprisingly large margin; public financing measure is defeated handily
Seattle voters, by a decisive margin, have voted to elect most City Council members by district rather than at large, in what must be seen as a stinging rebuke to the second floor of City Hall. The voters were also rejecting a Council-backed measure to have taxpayers pay for Council members and challengers’ election campaigns through a property tax levy. Seattle Amendment 19, which would have 7 of 9 City Council members elected by districts — starting in 2015 — was passing with 64 percent of the vote. Proposition 1, for taxpayer-financed campaigns, was going down to defeat by a 55-45 percent margin. Supporters of district elections were taken aback by their margin of victory, having hopes to squeeze by with 52 to 54 percent of the Emerald City’s vote. “People saw districts as a positive change: They are obviously not happy with the current Council, even though we did not make that an issue,” said Eugene Wasserman of the Amendment 19 campaign. “It’s just time for a change. We were kind of shocked by the margin. When I first saw it, I thought it was a joke.” Seattle P-I, 11-5-13.
Peters takes lead over heavily funded opponent in Seattle School Board race
In one of the most heavily funded Seattle School Board races in recent history, parent activist Sue Peters led consultant Suzanne Dale Estey by about 3 percentage points in first-day returns. Peters had just over 51 percent of the vote and Dale Estey had about 48 percent with write-in votes making up the difference. Dale Estey, who raised about $100,000 more than her opponent, said her campaign had a strong get-out-the-vote effort and she wasn’t giving up yet. “The money was a challenge, of course, but we ran a smart, agile campaign,” Peters said. “We ran a campaign with integrity and I think that resonated with Seattle voters.” Seattle Times, 11-5-13.
Robinson scores crushing victory in Bellevue Council race; Kasner trails Wallace by slim margin; Thai wins School Board race
Bellevue Mayor Conrad Lee leads his City Council opponent Lyndon Heywood by a wide margin for Position No. 2 with 77.61 percent of the votes, while incumbent Kevin Wallace is slightly ahead of Position No. 4 opponent Steve Kasner with 51.2 percent of the votes. Bellevue parks commissioner Lynne Robinson has a huge lead against Vandana Slatter, a clinical pharmacist, for Position No. 6 on the council with 63.09 percent of the votes Tuesday night. Don Davidson, who currently holds the position, lost to Robinson and Slatter in the primary. Krischanna Roberson holds a strong lead against Tracy Trojovsky for Bellevue School District Director District No. 4 with 59.28 percent of the votes, and My-Linh Thai has taken 56.38 percent of votes for Bellevue School District Director No. 5 against Ed Luera. District No. 3 incumbent Chris Marks was unopposed. Bellevue Reporter, 11-5-13.
SeaTac minimum-wage measure takes narrow early lead
A SeaTac ballot measure to create a $15-an-hour minimum wage for airport-related workers took a narrow lead in initial results Tuesday. With 3,283 votes counted, SeaTac Proposition 1 led 54 percent to 46 percent — a difference of only 261 votes in a city with 12,100 registered voters. At a campaign event in SeaTac, supporters were optimistic that uncounted votes would go their way. “This means that the people who put fuel in jets may actually be able to buy a ticket on one,” said David Rolf, a vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). But Proposition 1 opponents said the race was too close to call. Seattle Times, 11-5-13.
Ferrell leading Priest handily in Federal Way mayor’s race
Early election results show Jim Ferrell leading the race for mayor of Federal Way. As of Tuesday night, the city’s current deputy mayor has captured 55.2 percent of the vote (4,136) compared to incumbent Mayor Skip Priest’s 44.5 percent (3,330). This year’s race was a rematch from 2010, when Priest, a former state representative, defeated Ferrell with 52 percent of the vote to become Federal Way’s first elected mayor. Ferrell, a King County prosecutor, had successfully led a campaign in 2009 to change the city’s form of government to a “strong mayor” system. The mayoral candidates stood on opposite sides of the fence in regards to the proposed Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) and the direction of development in downtown Federal Way. Priest backed the $32 million project as a potential catalyst for future development. Ferrell labeled the project as risky and has pushed for retail development at an adjacent site near the transit center. Federal Way Mirror, 11-5-13.
Cooke conquering Clark in Kent mayor’s race; Stober trails against incumbent beset by legal troubles
It’s four more years for Suzette Cooke as Kent mayor. Cooke is defeating challenger Tim Clark with 55.82 percent (5,413 votes) to Clark’s 43.96 percent (4,263), according to King County Election results released Tuesday night. Clark, who had hoped voters would think eight years of Cooke was enough, remained optimistic about his chances of winning. He said the votes in Tuesday night’s election results were mailed-in ballots from citizens that had made up their minds “weeks ago.” He expects the race to “tighten up tomorrow.” Clark served 16 years on the Kent City Council before spending the last four years on the Kent School Board. Kent Reporter, 11-5-13. Despite facing charges of first-degree theft, Ken Sharp is leading Bailey Stober in a tightly contested race for the Kent City Council. Sharp is beating Stober 49.25 percent (4,290 votes) to 46.16 percent (4,021), a lead of 279 votes, according to King County Elections results released Tuesday night. Debbie Raplee entered the race late in an effort to get elected as a write-in candidate but write-in candidates had only 4.59 percent (400 votes) of the total. Kent Reporter, 11-5-13.
Life after Murray: Musical chairs in the state legislature
State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) will now become Mayor Ed Murray. So what happens to Sen. Ed Murray? Murray’s apparent election starts a game of musical chairs in the Washington State Senate and possibly in the House. Meanwhile, a similar shift will take place in the 33rd Legislative District, with Rep. Dave Upthegrove easily winning election to the King County Council. Murray’s situation is more complicated because he also is the state Senate’s minority leader. Murray will have to resign twice once as minority leader and once as a senator, according to Deputy Minority Leader Karen Fraser (D-22). He can resign both at the same time, or on separate days. That’s up to him. Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) has said he wants to move into Murray’s seat. Crosscut, 11-5-13.
Initiative 522: Money speaks, but doesn’t get the last word
Initiative 522, the measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods, appears to have gone down to defeat before a record spending campaign fueled by America’s major food manufacturers and agribusiness conglomerates. I-522 was passing in a few places, notably King and Whatcom Counties, but was losing heavily in Southwest, Central, and Eastern Washington. It was receiving about 45 percent of the vote, but trailed by a 100,000-vote margin in votes counted Tuesday night. The No on 522 campaign, at $22 million, was the most lavish initiative effort — and likely the most brazen — in the history of Washington State. It saw an unprecedented laundering of campaign contributions. Supporters raised a little less than $8 million, a big enough war chest, but were overwhelmed. Seattle P-I, 11-5-13.
Voters reject—by whopping margin—Eyman’s latest self-serving initiative; this time businesses pitched in to beat it
An “initiative on initiatives” that would make it easier to get measures on the ballot trailed in early returns as counties across Washington state started tallying ballots. About 60 percent of voters were rejecting Initiative 517 Tuesday night. Initiative 517, pushed by initiative huckster Tim Eyman, would require that voters be allowed to have their say on any proposal that qualifies for the ballot, even if a lawsuit has been filed against it. The initiative also would give supporters a year, instead of the current six months, to collect signatures, and it would make it a misdemeanor to interfere with the signature-gathering process. KIRO, 11-5-13.
Angel leads Schlicher in tight race for Senate
The mostly Republican coalition that runs the state Senate was waiting Tuesday evening to learn the size of its majority next year. The group holds the Senate by a slim one-vote margin and hopes to add to it by grabbing the 26th District seat in Pierce and Kitsap counties left behind by Derek Kilmer when the Democrat headed to Congress. Their candidate, Port Orchard Republican Jan Angel, was leading a tight race with Gig Harbor Democrat Nathan Schlicher in a special election for Kilmer’s seat. Schlicher managed to significantly cut into his rival’s August primary-election lead of nine percentage points, and he had a strong showing in Pierce County — but he still trailed Angel. “By no means is it over, and we’re excited to see where it goes,” said Schlicher, who argued his side’s turnout operation could turn the tide among last-minute voters. “If Kitsap performs where it historically has, that will make it a really, really close race.” Tacoma News Tribune, 11-5-13.
All coal opponents leading in Whatcom County Council races
If the Whatcom County Council elections were a referendum on a proposed coal export terminal, then the community appears to have taken a stand against it. The four progressive candidates led their conservative opponents, according to the first ballot count, released late Tuesday. Incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and challengers Rud Browne and Barry Buchanan, were portrayed by Washington Conservation Voters as opposed to a proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point. The Seattle-based political action committee spent $279,000 to get the four men elected. Mann and Weimer were leading comfortably. Mann had 55 percent of the vote, with his challenger, Lynden farmer Ben Elenbaas, getting 44 percent. Weimer had 57 percent and will defeat his opponent, county Planning Commission Chairwoman Michelle Luke (43 percent). Browne led Bill Knutzen 54 percent to 46 percent. Buchanan was ahead of Kathy Kershner, the County Council chairwoman, 55 percent to 45 percent. Bellingham Herald, 11-5-13.
Conservatives lose control of Spokane City Council
Progressives appear poised to regain control of the Spokane City Council. Democratic activist Candace Mumm is leading conservative Michael Cannon in the race to replace Nancy McLaughlin, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election. And incumbent Councilman Jon Snyder is trouncing former Republican state Rep. John Ahern. The races have set new records for campaign spending for Spokane municipal positions. Mumm, a former TV broadcaster whose campaign was backed by numerous labor unions, was leading Cannon by a 10-percentage-point margin of 6,384 to 5,314. Cannon was backed by business interests and Spokane Mayor David Condon, a longtime Republican operative. Snyder secured his second term with a commanding 30-percentage-point victory over Ahern — 8,312 to 4,584. Although municipal politics are nonpartisan in Washington state, the candidates openly aligned themselves along traditional Republican and Democrat lines. Tuesday’s outcome appears to restore the 4-3 advantage held by progressives until two years ago. Spokesman-Review, 11-5-13.
Hall leads Alexander by 704 votes in Thurston Auditor’s race
Voters were divided, and the faceoff for Thurston County auditor—one of the most hotly contested political races in South Sound—was too close to call Tuesday. Pierce County elections supervisor Mary Hall, a Democrat, held a slim 704-vote lead over State Rep. Gary Alexander, a Republican, according to an initial ballot count. “I’m feeling pretty good,” said Hall, who attended a celebration at The Office, near the Thurston County elections shop. “I’ve learned there are amazing people in Thurston County that really believe in me, and I really appreciate their support.” Republicans have held the auditor’s seat for at least 30 years, Alexander said. Both sides did a fair share of rhetoric, and spent big amounts on their campaigns. As of Tuesday, Alexander spent $43,703.54 and Hall spent $63,606.18 according to reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. Olympian, 11-5-13.
Republicans oust incumbent Smith in 7th LD Senate race
In northeast Washington’s 7th legislative district, incumbent John Smith appears to have lost his state Senate seat in an upset to Ferry County Commissioner John Dansel. Both are Republicans. Smith was appointed in December to temporarily serve in the seat vacated by longtime state Sen. Bob Morton, who retired, and quickly emerged as one of the legislative chamber’s most conservative members. But his background includes some high-profile business failures and he entered the Legislature in January still owing thousands of dollars in unpaid state taxes. Smith also was plagued by a past that included family ties to a church with views considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to support white supremacy, though he disavowed any formal connection to the congregation. Although he coasted through the primary, Smith’s business record and debts became a big campaign issue as Dansel questioned his credentials and suitability to represent the economically struggling region. Spokesman-Review, 11-5-13.
McAuliffe wins Virginia governor’s race
Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and former head of the Democratic National Committee, captured the Virginia governor’s seat Tuesday, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli II, the state attorney general whose conservative crusades made him an icon of the tea party movement. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli by more than 30,000 votes, or less than 2 percent. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, defeated Republican E.W. Jackson, the Chesapeake minister whose history of inflammatory remarks about gays and abortion became a flashpoint of the campaign. Washington Post, 11-5-13.
State representative Martin J. Walsh, champion of unions, wins Boston mayoral race
Martin J. Walsh, a legislator and long-time labor leader, ground out a 51-48 percent victory over City Councilor John R. Connolly today to become Boston’s 48th mayor, propelled by a diverse coalition that transcended geography, race, and ideology. Walsh rode a wave of support that spanned Boston, from his Savin Hill neighbors to African-Americans in Roxbury, liberal activists in Jamaica Plain, to Latinos in Hyde Park. His campaign—fueled by unprecedented spending by organized labor from across the country—swelled beyond his base in Dorchester, where Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in a tripledecker. A Connolly spokeswoman said shortly after 9 p.m. that he had conceded, with 98 percent of precincts reporting shortly after 10 p.m. Boston Globe, 11-5-13.
Dem Senators: We’re doing it wrong, let’s EXPAND Social Security
In a town consumed by how quickly and how deeply to cut Social Security, a handful of Democratic senators have a different idea: expand it. Their pitch is to increase Social Security benefits by attaching it to a new formula, known as CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly), which is based on the theory that seniors face higher-than-average price increases, such as on health care and housing. It would be paid for by phasing out the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax, which is currently $113,700. Supporters say this would raise Social Security compensation for all beneficiaries by $70 per month. Legislation to this effect was introduced earlier this spring by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee. The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013 has since been co-sponsored by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who added his name this week. Progressive activists are touting the bill, eager to shift the terms of the debate from how much to cut retirement benefits to ways to increase them. Talking Points Memo, 11-5-13.
To Think About
How Bill de Blasio’s nimble 2013 mayoral election campaign got the Democratic Party back into Gracie Mansion
Bill de Blasio, the first Democrat to win the mayoral election in 20 years, operated a grassroots campaign that focused on hyperlocal issues, but prepared for the worst of attacks from his rivals. Across a nearly year-long campaign, several turning points helped to transform the lanky longshot into the mayor-elect. But as much as Team de Blasio was responsible for his victory, deftly tailoring a message to the mood of the electorate and creating the most talked-about ad of the race, they were aided by the missteps of his rivals and their campaigns. As de Blasio began building his lead, none of his Democratic opponents ran an attack ad to halt his momentum, a move that stunned the de Blasio camp. Team de Blasio also settled on a theme of New York as a “tale of two cities” to hammer home a message of income inequality. New York Daily News, 11-5-13.