Susan Hutchison is a Republican.
The former KIRO-TV News anchor doesn't want you to know she's a Republican. She helped run a campaign that enables Republicans to run for office in liberal King County without disclosing that they're Republicans. And now she is using those new rules to run for King County executive without telling the voters that she's a Republican.
Hutchison was one of the leading proponents of last year's Initiative 26, which made all King County offices officially "nonpartisan." In a statement she cowrote supporting the measure, Hutchison said it would "end partisan bickering" and "create genuine nonpartisan elections." Opponents of the measure predicted that it would empower Republicans to run stealth campaigns in liberal King County.
Now Hutchison is attempting to do exactly that. In announcing her run, Hutchison boasted about her lack of partisan affiliation, name-dropping both outgoing King County executive Ron Sims, a Democrat, and Democratic former governor Booth Gardner. "Voters are looking for a new direction in government," Hutchison said in a press release.
But don't let Hutchison's nonpartisan pretenses fool you. She's a partisan Republican with a long history of working for and donating to right-wing causes.
Hutchison has given thousands of dollars to Republican candidates (including anti-choice nut job Mike Huckabee), she has served as a board member for the creationist Discovery Institute, she almost ran for state senate as a Republican in 2005, and she delivered a Bible-thumping speech at this year's Governor's Prayer Breakfast in which she sneered at "activist atheists" and evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins for "believing they can get by just fine" without Jesus.
Contrary to what "evolutionists" like Dawkins believe, Hutchison told prayer-breakfast attendees earlier this year, "God created the magnificent universe and the world we see and the glorious beauty around us... Christ himself is the creator who made everything in heaven and earth."
It's one thing to believe in God (as plenty of public officials, including outgoing county executive Ron Sims, do); it's quite another to advocate the teaching of religion in science classes and to condemn scientists for being scientists.
Hutchison's creationist beliefs dovetail perfectly with the Discovery Institute, the right-wing think tank where she served as a board member. Best known for pushing "intelligent design," the Discovery Institute encourages public schools to "teach the controversy," an attempt to put evolution and creationism on equal footing in science classes.
Discovery Institute founder Bruce Chapman told The Stranger that Hutchison left the think tank's board at the end of 2007. However, the group didn't take her name off its list of board members until just last week, after reporters started calling to ask if she was still affiliated with the group. "Somebody made a mistake," Chapman said. Her biography at the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, of which she's executive director, until Tuesday still listed the Discovery affiliation.
And despite her claim that she wants to "end partisan bickering," Hutchison also has a long history of giving to right-wing Republicans—and only right-wing Republicans.
Since 2003, her campaign donations have included:
• $2,075 to Republican gubernatorial challenger Dino Rossi, plus $1,000 to ChangePAC, a Building Industry Association of Washington–backed group that supported Rossi,
• $500 to George W. Bush,
• $3,000 to Republican George Nethercutt, who ran against Washington senator Patty Murray,
• $3,000 to Eastside Republican congressman Dave Reichert, himself a faux-"moderate" Republican, and
• $500 to 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who shares Hutchison's disdain for science and her belief in a personal Christ as the only road to salvation.
In all her years of political involvement, the "nonpartisan" Hutchison has given not one dime to Democrats or Democratic causes.
So what is Hutchison hiding from? Maybe the voters of King County. In 2008, just 28 percent of King County voters supported Hutchison's fellow Republican John McCain for president, and just 36 percent supported her candidate Rossi. King County voters don't support Republicans. Which is why Hutchison is trying to pretend she isn't one.