Endorsements for the August 7 Primary Election (PLUS CHEAT SHEET!)
Vote Or We'll Kill You
Any asshole can run for office.
In fact, your primary ballot is packed with assholes. Like the guy who wants to gut Obamacare by creating "looser rules" for the same health-insurance companies that routinely canceled policies when people had the nerve to go and get sick. Total asshole.
But you? You're not an asshole. And you don't want to vote for assholes. You want to vote for non-assholes who support the commie War on Cars and the entire tax-and-spend, pro-gay, pro-pot agenda embraced by all non-assholes everywhere.
This is your guide to asshole-free voting.
Yeah, we know: The primary election lacks the glamour of the general election—Obama! Gay marriage! Legal pot!—but primaries are important, too.
The state's future hangs in the balance of several upcoming cases before the state supreme court—and one of the supreme court races will be decided in this primary. And tons of races are jammed with challengers (mostly assholes), so if you don't want two assholes making it through to the general election, thereby guaranteeing that an asshole wins the seat, you have to vote for non-assholes in the primary.
And, yes, we know. It's fucking July. Summer started 12 minutes ago, so why the fuck are we voting already?
Here's why: The legislature moved the primary election to the first goddamn Tuesday of motherfucking August because Washington's all-absentee voting system needed more goddamn time to process fucking ballots from overseas voters in the fucking military. Long, stupid story short, that means all of our absentee ballots are being mailed this week, which means it's time to vote. In fucking July.
And remember: Vote or we'll kill you, assholes.
The Stranger Election Control Board is: Bethany Jean Clement, Paul Constant, Christopher Frizzelle, David “Goldy” Goldstein, Dominic Holden, Tim Keck, Cienna Madrid, Eli Sanders, Dan “Asshole” Savage, and Kathlyn Ehl. The SECB does not endorse in uncontested races or in districts that are too far away to walk to from our office.
Maria Cantwell has made very few mistakes in her second term as our junior US senator. She supported health care reform (even the beloved-by-liberals public option, after some foot-dragging). She dove deep into the weeds of the Wall Street meltdown and came back with smart proposals for regulating financial transactions. Her primary challenger, Republican state senator Michael Baumgartner, has tried to cast Cantwell as anti-family for being—the horror!—unmarried. Christ, what an asshole. Vote Cantwell.
Congressional District 1
The SECB loves a strong progressive woman, and this race features three of them—which made it hard to pick a favorite. Two-time loser Darcy Burner? We appreciate her impassioned populism, not to mention her determination. Suzan DelBene? Hey, if she can fund her own campaign, more power to her. But for us, Laura Ruderman's crisp talking points and clear positions proved compelling. She opposes a new coal port in the district, favors allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, and supports throwing the Republicans' lack of a jobs bill in their face as often as possible.
Ruderman is also the only Democratic woman in the race with legislative experience. In 2000, she became the first Democrat ever to be reelected in the swingy 45th District—which lies within the newly redrawn 1st Congressional District—suggesting that her profile lines up well with the voters she's trying to court. In the legislature, Ruderman pushed for paid sick leave and collective bargaining rights for state employees.
And yes, we've reported that Ruderman's mom is funding a PAC to attack DelBene, but that doesn't scandalize us (and neither does DelBene pumping more than $1 million into her own campaign).
We're convinced that in Congress, Ruderman will continue doing good work. So vote Ruderman.
Congressional District 7
It's healthy for 89-term congressman Jim McDermott to finally have a challenger. He's been a reliable progressive over his 178 long years in office—taking a stand against the Iraq War, taking a stand for the Civil War, pushing for single-payer health care—but even a liberal lion needs a nudge now and then. And challenger Andrew Hughes, 30, has nudged McDermott to belatedly come out in favor of this year's marijuana-legalizing Initiative 502. Beyond that, however, Hughes has failed to articulate a convincing rationale for dropping McDermott, or even why Seattle voters should choose a guy with no track record in elected office—and little experience holding down a real job—to represent them in DC.
Congressional District 9
Democrats fought hard last year to draw Washington's 1st District with a majority population of racial minorities. And then they inexplicably drew its borders around our delegation's least colorful congressman: Adam Smith (D). Go figure. Regardless, incumbent representative Smith promises to be a good fit. Marriage equality? Check. Don't ask, don't tell? He led the repeal efforts. Are taxes too high? "Heavens no," Smith told the SECB. Meanwhile, Smith's Republican opponent Jim Postma told us that he'd "never seen a tax cut I didn't like." And then he admitted that he had "worked on the government dole almost my entire life." Total asshole. Vote for Smith.
People bitch about how unexciting Jay Inslee is, but exciting governance and good governance aren't always the same thing. Inslee has tremendous political instincts, often putting him on the right side of crucial issues even when many Democrats are wrong.
Example: Inslee was an outspoken champion of green energy policies long before Al Gore uttered the phrase "an inconvenient truth." Inslee also broke with his party and his president to vote against 1999's disastrous repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, banking deregulation that arguably led to the Great Recession. He also helped tweak the Affordable Care Act so that it rewarded rather than punished Washington State for prior health-care reforms.
And unlike his opponent, Inslee is not a cowardly, pants-pissing, two-faced, union-hating, light-rail-killing, gay-marriage- opposing crappy lawyer whose staff posts racist tweets (#assholes) and who threatens to arrest a reporter who ask him follow-up questions.
Do we wish Inslee didn't make us yawn? Sure. We also wish he wasn't in favor of locking up pot smokers. But he'll make a much better governor than that puckered asshole Rob McKenna. Vote Inslee.
James Robert Deal
James Robert Deal warned the SECB that pro-fluoride "PR manipulators" have infiltrated every level of government to push their drug of choice and we, the sheeple, are chugging their fluoride-flavored lies. But hear this: Fluoride is poison, Deal says.
Deal's anti-fluoride agenda is batshit, sure, but it's better than the guano we've been getting from our current lieutenant governor. Longtime incumbent Brad Owen has done nothing to promote a progressive agenda. Instead, he's been touring the state with his crappy-ass rock band on a ceaseless crusade to lock up pot smokers. If we're going to have a pointless position like lieutenant governor, then that person should use it for something harmless, like waging war on fluoride, instead of spewing anti-pot talking points.
Secretary of State
If Democrats actually want to beat Republican Kim Wyman in November, the three-way Democratic race for secretary of state is a no-brainer. State senator Jim Kastama pissed off the Democratic base with his turncoat role in the recent senate budget coup, while former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels alienates non-Seattle voters simply by virtue of being a former Seattle mayor. (No Democratic Seattle mayor has ever gone on to win statewide office.) That leaves Kathleen Drew, a former state senator and Governor Chris Gregoire policy aide, who impressed the SECB with her thorough knowledge of election procedures and who, like Wyman (outgoing secretary of state Sam Reed's handpicked successor), has a vagina. Non-crazy Republican women are hard to beat, so if Democrats want a shot at capturing this office for the first time since 1956, Drew is by far their best hope.
All four candidates can reasonably claim that they're qualified, but only state senator Craig Pridemore has the character and demeanor to ensure that the auditor's office is as god-awful boring as it ought to be. The chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee, Pridemore promises strong management rather than a strong agenda and he recognizes that a performance audit of, say, a hospital versus a transit agency requires specialized auditors. Vote for Pridemore.
If all it took to run the Attorney General's Office were good looks, a terrible work ethic, and a prominent mother, Reagan Dunn would have our endorsement. But since "showing up and doing the hard work" is part of Bob Ferguson's description for the job, he gets our vote.
Ferguson has one of the best voting and attendance records on the King County Council; Dunn has one of the worst. Ferguson saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by forcing the council to buy secondhand furniture, while the self-proclaimed "fiscally conservative" Dunn spent almost $6,000 of taxpayer money on a junket to Australia. Ferguson has four and a half years of civil law experience at a top Seattle law firm, while Dunn is an asshole who claimed to have three and a half years of experience in a civil law practice when in fact he wasn't a lawyer for two of those years.
Dunn's already risen further than his natural abilities and work habits should allow. Vote for Ferguson.
Commissioner of Public Lands
Incumbent Peter Goldmark is a genuine cowboy (with a PhD in molecular biology) who defied convention to become the first Eastern Washingtonian to win statewide executive office in forever, promising to protect public lands and end the office's too-cozy relationship with powerful timber, mining, and fishery companies. Goldmark delivered. Reelect Goldmark.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Since we endorsed him four years ago, state superintendent of public instruction Randy Dorn has followed through on his election promise: He significantly reformed WASL testing by replacing the huge test with two shorter tests. Meanwhile, he's been knee-deep in the depressing shitshow of fighting for public school funding in the midst of devastating cuts. Dorn has earned the endorsement of the state teachers' union and has no serious challengers. Vote Dorn.
Since the US Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, the state's insurance commissioner, who oversees the state's 48 insurance companies, must now oversee implementation of that health care law. The best choice is Mike Kreidler, a Democrat who's held the job since 2000, and is raring to shepherd in new health-care plans. Kreidler's challengers are John Adams (really his name), a crazy asshole who believes teabaggy myths that have been debunked by Snopes, and a former insurance-industry Republican named Scott Reilly, a craven asshole who says he wants, of all things, "a looser way" for insurance companies to do business here. The last thing we need is someone loosening the rules for the same insurance companies that fucked up our health-care system in the first place. Vote Kreidler.
Bob Hasegawa is on a mission to create a state bank, which would reinvest state money back into the state's infrastructure, like education and public health. He also likes closing tax loopholes on private planes, he's for gay marriage, and he wants to require insurance companies to offer equal abortion and maternity coverage. His opponent is an anti-choice, anti-gay-marriage candy-haired clown who believes that slashing taxes will fix our billion-dollar budget problem. It's almost an insult to assholes—which have their uses—to call this lady an asshole. Vote for Hasegawa.
Representative Position 1
Zack Hudgins is a good, solid Dem who supports a statewide income tax, backed a bill to allow 16-year-olds to preregister to vote (hell yes!), and supports a state bank. His opponent, Jim Flynn, appears to be basing his run on calls for a statewide income tax—which, as mentioned, Hudgins already supports. Vote Hudgins.
Representative Position 2
Only one of the candidates in this race is an asshole—a teacher named Steve Bergquist, who claims to be a Democrat but drives a Hummer, is iffy on a state bank proposal, and can't wait to vote against an initiative to legalize pot. So, yeah, Bergquist is an asshole and a moron. On the other hand, Stephanie Bowman and fundraising pro Bobby Virk were strong progressives, but in the end, they didn't bring the experience of Rob Holland.
Holland has served on the Port of Seattle Commission since 2010 and he brings sterling politics to this racially diverse district. He's unequivocal about supporting a high-earners income tax, granting Seattle new taxing authority for mass transit, and legalizing pot. Plus, Holland is a gay black man, which is something our lily-white legislature has never seen. Holland isn't perfect; he sometimes struggles to articulate the nuances of policy. But we think he can polish up those skills in Olympia.
Representative Position 1
As a practicing nurse and chair of the house's health-care committee, Representative Eileen Cody sponsored legislation that successfully lowered prescription-drug costs and created a state program that allows people to compare insurance policies. While her opponent, William Giammarese, seems like a good-hearted liberal—he supports gay marriage and pledges to tithe 10 percent of his salary to the empty mothbag we call a treasury—he has no legislative experience and hasn't fundraised a cent.
Representative Position 1
Reuven Carlyle (D-Eltana Bagels) is finishing up his second term representing Northwest Seattle in the state house, and he's done a fine job. His best fight—to establish sunset dates for most of our state's stupidest tax loopholes—is one that he hasn't won yet. That's reason enough to send Carlyle back to keep trying.
One of Carlyle's challengers, Leslie Klein, informed the SECB: "I'm running to represent only people, not planets." Carlyle's other challenger is a sweet guy named Robert Canamar who looks like Abe Lincoln's grandpa and has $0 in his campaign fund. Vote Carlyle.
Representative Position 2
Noel Christina Frame
This might seem like a hard choice. Six people and a Republican are running to replace Mary Lou Dickerson, who is retiring at the end of the year, and all six of those people have very, very similar positions (they like gays, pot, transit, women's choice, funding education, creating jobs, etc.). But which one of them can capably turn those positions into effective policy?
She's zeroed in on the number-one issue our legislature needs to prioritize: fixing our state's tax structure.
In January, the state supreme court ruled that we're failing our constitutional duty to fund K–12 education, which will cost an additional $1 billion to $3 billion a year, and we'll have to solve that problem by 2018. That future budget shortfall will come on top of previous shortfalls that have already gutted college funding and social programs critical to ensuring that poor kids get a fair shot. And for the fucking record, it's not that the state has a spending problem, we just have a tax structure that falls disproportionately on the poor (relying heavily on sales tax instead of income tax) and simply can't meet the demands of our growing, aging, and schooling populations.
"I want to lead a statewide conversation about an income tax," Frame unabashedly said at a League of Women Voters forum on July 12. "I think it's time, and we have a window of opportunity because of the supreme court ruling." She also points out that investing in schools creates jobs—in the short term and long term.
Yes, every one of the other people in the race (Gael Tarleton, Sahar Fathi, Brett Phillips, and the rest) supports education funding and tax reform, too, but none is tackling this issue so aggressively.
As the Washington State director of Progressive Majority, which recruits progressive candidates for office, Frame is already a movement-builder. We believe that Frame can combine forces with tax-finance gurus (like Sarajane Siegfriedt, who we endorse in the 46th District) to develop strong policy and leverage pressure on the legislature to pass it. We want to see her in Olympia.
Representative Position 2
So the supreme court finally rules that the state is shorting its "paramount duty" to fund basic education by billions of dollars a year, and what does five-term Democratic incumbent Eric Pettigrew do? He squanders the opportunity by calling for charter schools. Charter fucking schools! Since his sole opponent is a nutty Ron Paul organizer, we're holding our nose and voting for Pettigrew anyway.
Representative Position 1
An articulate firebrand and economics instructor at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College, Kshama Sawant understands exactly how the state's tax structure is failing its people and exactly what legislators must do to improve it. And hot damn would it be thrilling to send a brash, uncompromising socialist alternative legislator to Olympia to kick some majority-squandering, safety-net-degrading Democratic ass.
But if you're looking to send a message by running a referendum on do-nothing Democrats, three-term incumbent Jamie Pedersen is the last Democrat we'd pick. A lawyer, Pedersen is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit to overturn Tim Eyman's initiative that requires an impossible two-thirds majority to raise any taxes and he's played a lead role in the fight to legalize gay marriage. Sawant had originally filed to run against house Speaker Frank Chopp. We wish she'd stuck with her instincts, because Pedersen isn't part of the Democratic problem.
Representative Position 2
Representing the same district as Pedersen, house Speaker Frank Chopp has done a great job building and maintaining a Democratic majority, but he's done a crappy job using it, presiding over a decade of budget cuts while doing nothing to address our state's structural revenue deficit.
That's why we're writing in Kshama Sawant, who didn't file in this race, but should have.
Representative Position 1
Gerry Pollet has a reputation for being an abrasive liberal dickhead, characteristics we here at the SECB normally embrace, but which many insiders worried would make him an ineffective legislator. Appointed last year to fill out David Frockt's house term, Pollet surprised even his harshest critics, earning high marks for his work within the Democratic caucus and even for reaching across the aisle (without a shiv). We like Pollet's smart, youngish opponent, Sylvester Cann. But Cann's lack of experience and his endorsement by charter-school advocates give us pause. Reelect Pollet.
Representative Position 2
The SECB was torn between two sharp, accomplished women in this race (whose positions are nearly indistinguishable). On the one hand, Jessyn Farrell is totally fawn-worthy. The former director of transit-advocacy group Transportation Choices Coalition, Farrell could take her War on Cars to Olympia with the backing of nonprofit coalitions. She's also stunningly charismatic, and the legislature could be her launching pad for a career in national politics.
But we give our wholehearted endorsement, instead, to Sarajane Siegfriedt. Better versed in economics and business than any other candidate we encountered this year, Siegfriedt is focused on fixing a structural revenue deficit that is turning this state, one budget at a time, into a shithole. For instance, she's presenting a plan to eliminate the business and occupation tax (which hurts new, small companies) and replace it with a 1 percent corporate income tax. A former businesswoman with an MBA and a current member of the county property tax board, Siegfriedt has her eye on the house commerce committee, where we think she would educate her underinformed colleagues about the urgency of fixing the state tax code. Plus she's right on all the liberal issues—including transit and education—and those, too, rely on a better understanding of how to raise money. We think Siegfriedt is the woman who can do it. Vote for her.
Supreme Court Justice Position 2
Justice Susan Owens is a seasoned badass who's been warming benches for so long in Washington that her ass is riddled with bedsores shaped like the state seal. Owens sided with the minority of pro-gay-marriage justices in 2006, she secured greater consumer protections against internet spammers, and she's endorsed by all eight of her colleagues.
One of her challengers, Scott Stafne, weakly insists, "I just think the supreme court needs a fresh voice." We disagree. Vote Owens.
Supreme Court Justice Position 8
Because of the weird rules for judicial contests, this race will be decided in the August primary. WE REPEAT: THIS SUPER- IMPORTANT RACE WILL BE DECIDED IN THE AUGUST PRIMARY, SO VOTE. OR WE'LL KILL YOU. State supreme court justice Steve Gonzalez is a highly qualified former terrorism prosecutor and former King County Superior Court judge who was appointed to the state supreme court in November of last year by Governor Gregoire. Gonzalez's challenger? A little-known Kitsap County lawyer who has lost three recent runs for local office and is totally unqualified for the high court—but who might actually win because of his amazingly Anglo-Saxon name: Bruce Danielson.
Matt Barreto, a pollster at the University of Washington, warns that "minority candidates, all other things being equal, are evaluated less favorably by the voters." And in judicial races that people don't follow, all things are equal, and many voters will just pick the guy with the white last name.
Sound far-fetched? It's happened before in these highly consequential, but little- noticed races. Vote Gonzalez.
Supreme Court Justice Position 9
This race features the return of disgraced former justice Richard B. Sanders, who voters booted off the high court in 2010 amid charges that Sanders made racist statements and showed unforgivable hypocrisy (he voted against same-sex marriage because he said gays have "more sexual partners," but it turned out that Sanders himself had multiple simultaneous girlfriends). Whatever you do, don't vote for that cherry-picking asshole.
The hard truth, however, is that Sanders will probably get through the primary. Who's best positioned to beat Sanders in the general? Not Sheryl McCloud, who misguidedly donated $700 to Sanders in 2010. No, the best shot at keeping Sanders off the bench is current King County Superior Court judge Bruce Hilyer, who was rated "exceptionally well qualified" by multiple groups and was named the 2010 Judge of the Year by the King County Bar Association. Vote Hilyer.
Positions 25, 29, 30, and 46
Elizabeth Berns, Sean O'Donnell, Doug North, and Judy Ramseyer
These are hugely important races that almost no one—except us! And the indispensable www.votingforjudges.org! Check it out!—pays attention to.
We recommend: lesbian litigator and pro-tem judge Elizabeth Berns for Position 25, prosecutor Sean O'Donnell for Position 29, incumbent King County Superior Court judge Doug North for Position 30, and civil rights champion Judy Ramseyer for Position 46.
We're breaking out this endorsement from our other superior court races because it's different. King County Superior Court judge Christopher Washington, who's held this seat for eight years, came in dead last in every single category of a recent survey filled out by local attorneys. His lowest score was for legal decision-making (where he scored a 2.7 rating out of 5), according to the King County Bar Association. And that's not an anomaly: He was ninth from the bottom of all 53 justices on the King County Superior Court in 2007. Those ratings alone aren't enough to disqualify Judge Washington, but they sure give us pause.
Washington claims disgruntled prosecutors, who oppose his leniency to young offenders in juvenile court, tanked his ratings. But we don't quite buy that reasoning. Another judge in the same juvenile court, Michael Trickey, got the highest rating for legal decision-making of all 53 judges on the bench and has been plenty fair to young offenders. Instead it seems that Judge Washington has simply ignored the law in too many cases and legitimately upset attorneys—especially prosecutors—who expect judges to play by the rules.
His challengers are all capable, but Sue Parisien is the best. She's an advocate for treatment programs and diversion, Governor Gregoire has praised her, and the Municipal League gives her a "very good" rating. So do we. Vote Parisien.
King County Proposition No. 1
This $208 million levy would pay to rebuild our decrepit youth jail and courthouse. Located in the Central District, the 60-year-old courthouse is more dangerous than an electric-eel fishery: Plumbing and electrical is shot, drinking water is brown, and the whole place smells like someone took a shit in their hands and then clapped. Unlike a 2010 attempt to replace the center, which failed as a proposed increased sales tax, this proposition is a more equitable property tax. The nine-year levy would cost $25–$30 per median homeowner annually (7 cents per $1,000 of assessed property), beginning in 2013.
Critics say we should be more progressive by abolishing jails altogether. But (a) that's fucking ludicrous, and (b) our juvenile justice system is a nationwide model that diverts youth offenders into treatment programs, so this jail will have dozens fewer beds than the old jail. Approve this motherfucker already.
City of Seattle Proposition No. 1
The Seattle Public Library has lost the equivalent of four branch libraries' worth of funding in five years, resulting in slashed hours, furloughs, and fewer new books. If there are any more cuts, board member Marie McCaffrey warns, "We would have to start closing branches." This seven-year levy would raise $17.3 million annually via a property tax of roughly $52 per household, which would be used to beef up collections by 14 percent, e-book content by 45 percent, and restore 6,551 library hours annually. Critics say the city could siphon away the money for other purposes, but that's tinfoil-hat fearmongering. We'll admit, levies like this are an awful way to fund needed services, but thanks to a Tim Eyman initiative that caps the city's taxation authority, we have no other choice.
This article has been updated since its original publication.