Rumbaugh: What Happened.

Comments

1
Is that "sycophant-packed" related to Dom getting to cover it instead of you?
2
@1: No.
3
You forgot part 3 - Seattle didn't vote. Cause we're pissed.
4
@2, damn. I so love a good intramural squabble. I'm off to go pit Josh against ECB, then.
5
My personal feeling is that the Rumbaugh didn't advertise enough. I never saw one TV ad or heard one radio ad, which isn't to say that they didn't run any (I honestly don't know), but you can't turn out an incumbent without a major advertising initiative. Nearly to a one none of my friends who I engaged on this race had ANY idea about Johnson's anti-gay ruling and BIAW backing.

It's not rocket science: The message simply didn't get out.
6
I feel shitty about it but voted quickly and ignorant of a few races. I seriously read, "JIm Johnson" and thought, "sounds like an avg dude" and checked the box. Felt awful when I read about who he was. I learned my lesson and wont do it again. Sorry Stan.
7
Also, his photograph that was used in all his campaign stuff makes him look like a tool.
8
@6 is probably pretty typical. Seriously, if you're going to run for Judge in a statewide race, have the guts to change your name so it sounds mainstream. You can always file to change it back later.

If you want to lose, have it be something like Fnarf or Rumbaugh, cause those names don't get votes.
9
The late start didn't help - but neither did the lack of communication once he did announce.

Social Media certainly could have been used to better effect to energize the base and raise more money, which could then have been used to educate the masses.

This WAS a tough year for a down-ballot, ideologically left campaign - but excuses only go so far.
10
Whaaa.

WHAAAAAAA!

Whaa Whaaaa Whaaaaaaa!
11
I'm in Spokane and only got a mailer a couple of days before the ballot was due. The mailer was incredibly negative and said that Jim Johnson was in the pocket of so-and-so and so-and-so. In fact, it was so smeary that I assumed it'd been created by conservatives to smear a progressive, and that I probably SHOULD vote for Johnson. It wasn't until I did a little bit of research did I realize he really is an SOB.

The mailer also didn't say I should vote for Rumbaugh, but it might not have been legal to do so if it had been created by a PAC...?

So yeah. Message definitely didn't get out.
12
I only heard about him in time to vote (I sent in my ballot the day after I received it) because I have a shitload of friends who work in politics. Most people don't have those kinds of connections.
13
I think lack of communication was a big part of it. The Wiggins camp reached out to LD's to give out lit for PCO's and volunteers to drop - the cheapest way to do direct mail/voter contact. Part of a statewide race includes utilizing every possible resource, and I didn't see or hear of the Rumbaugh camp doing that.

I voted for him. Told my friends to vote him. Told my family to vote for him. But, as has been stated before, a lot of people didn't know who he was, or why it was important to vote for him.
14
To the uninformed Dem. voter Rumbaugh sounds like Limbaugh. There are lots of uniformed Democratic voters.

For what it was worth, I donated a significant portion of my income to his campaign. For what it was worth.

August is a terrible time for a winner-takes-all election.
15
My feeling is, this is strictly a turnout problem. Progressives stepped up, but what can you do during a mid-term primary? Especially THIS mid-term primary, when the oldest and the whitest are out in force.

The solution seems clear to me: push the elections back to the main ballot in November.
16
Did anyone else see his name and make an unwanted mental leap to Rush Limbaugh? "Rumbaugh" is the perfect mash-up of Rush Limbaugh.

If I wasn't paying attention. I could easily see someone voting against that name for no other reason than a "gut reaction".
18
What @11 said has some merit. Many people I know that watched the race closely compared the candidates' records but were completely turned off by Rumbaugh's negative (albeit completely truthful) advertising ("He's in the pocket of the BIAW"). My personal guess is that many more Rs than Ds turned out for the primary, since they had a Senate race to sort out.

What Will @3 and @8 said is, as usual, asnine.
19
Makes one wonder what might have been possible if The Stranger hadn't spent a precious pre-election day pissing all over its NYC readers instead of tcb for the home audience.
21
face it

the faggots excel at one thing

fucking themselves over
22
My partner and I both voted for Rumbaugh. I hate when the candidate I vote for loses.

So, yeah, I'm bummed.
23
Eli - I'm usually a fan, but this is a disappointing analysis. Anyone who's worked on a campaign before knows there's always more work to be done, but that's not my issue here. If you want to know the extent of ERW's involvement, you should have called over here and talked to one of us. Your analysis of this instead is based on your voicemail to Josh and what you received in your in-box. Do a little work here, please. I've spent the last several weeks working closely with Stan, his campaign manager, Justin Leighton, Lindsay Grad Erin Schultz, and their entire team in a wide variety of areas. We performed extensive phone outreach for Stan to talk to LGBT community leaders, held several phone banks, and offered support whenever and wherever we could. If you want to find out how much time I personally invested, call Stan, talk to Justin, etc., but don't make blanket statements like this not having done due diligence (which is not one phone call, by the way). Do a little work here, please, before you trash people. I expect more from someone I generally respect.
24
I phonebanked for Rumbaugh with ERW. One thing that was frustrating--and hard to think how to fix--is that people simply don't answer phone calls from numbers they don't know anymore. We weren't leaving messages on people's voicemails because of the toughness of summarizing the whole situation in 30 seconds, but maybe we should have. I talked to maybe 10 actual people in two and a half hours, and that just can't make the difference.
25
@24 -

You weren't leaving voice messages? Really? Wow...
26
Don't [profusely] cry for me, The Strangerina.
27
@24 nobody listens to those. I think I've got about 40 and i just press skip.
28
A special thanks to the handful of people who showed up to phone bank for Rumbaugh. There is this amazing tool called "predictive dialer" that calls automatically, and only connects the phone banker through to live pick-ups. Unfortunately, it takes at least 10 people to make the tool work effectively. So to all you people who ignore calls to spend two hours out your lives to go phone bank, thanks for nothing.

~ Bitter phone bank recruiter
29
michaelp: That's what we were told to do. Or not do, in this case. Like the Nazis, I just followed instructions.

Now we can stop talking as I have invoked Godwin's Law.
30
This was an uphill battle from the start

1) Running against an intrenched incumbent is hard for any kind of race.

2) It is always hard to generate much interest in down-ballot races.

3) It goes against logic and intuition to determine a race during a primary. That's why we call it a "primary". Most people would assume that this would be settled in the November election.

Between 2 & 3, there just weren't many people who paid any attention to this race at all.

It would have taken a LOT more money, time, and effort to get his message out in an effective way. I respect Rumbaugh's efforts (and his campaigners and volunteers), but this was doomed almost from the start. Under these conditions, we would have needed a very charismatic candidate and a lot more time and money to topple Johnson.
31
Wait... so we elect our judges not in the actual election but in the primary?

What the fuck is wrong with this state? Election day is November 2, not August 17.

Why do we even have a primary? This "top two" system for partisan offices can easily be folded into one election if we used an instant runoff/ranked ballot system. When there's only 2 candidates to begin with, it's the same as a regular vote. It can't be more confusing than a fucking primary that elects people to office in the middle of the goddamned summer.
32
@29 -

Interesting. I mean, it's true that few people will listen to the entire message, but getting the name of the candidate in within the first few seconds, very clearly (Hi, I'm calling on behalf of STAN RUMBAUGH for STATE SUPREME COURT, or I'm calling regarding STAN RUMBAUGH for STATE SUPREME COURT when it's an IE call) helps spread the name around, which in judicial races, sadly, is the most important thing.

*meh*, not my phone bank. :-)
33
michaelp: perhaps so. Your suggestion is a good one. However, the school of thought in a regular campaign is that actual conversations with real people sway votes, and that robo-calls would call the people who did not pick up to do as you suggest. Why leave the volunteer breathless, when a robo-call would do just as well?

Also, during a regular full campaign season, part of the reason for the phone bank is to act as a poll to gauge support for the candidate. Voicemails do not do that.

What people did not realize is in this ridiculously short campaign window, not all the rules of a full-fledged campaign applied. While criticism stings, lessons learned through pain are priceless.
34
I got a call last week from ERW. I really appreciated the call, although I already was aware of the race and that one of the guys was really bad and I needed to make sure I didn't vote for him. The call is what made me remember the name Rumbaugh.

Could more have been done? Yes (but I'm not putting that responsibility solely on ERW). Is having a winner-takes-all judicial election in an August primary totally crappy? Hell yes. Add in Johnson's incumbency and plain oldluck of name (johnson seems friendly, and as others have said, Rumbaugh can remind one of Limbaugh), I think this was an extremely tough challenge, unfortunately.

Gotta agree with @19 though - considering how crucial this race was, it was odd to have Slog plastered with stupid Sea vs NYC posts right before the election. I mean, as long as we're assigning blame for not getting the word out and all.
35
@duggers:

While I get what your saying, blowing through a call list, including leaving messages, isn't really bad. Gauging support is, of course, critical, but I believe that a message left by a person that is obviously not a robo-call is better than a robo-call for voice mail. That, and people hate phone calls from campaigns to begin with; I've found they hate the robo-calls even more.

Either way, completely off topic - I was hanging out with some folk on Tuesday night, and a funny observation of sorts was made. Doorbelling, people tend to be really friendly, sometimes offer a drink or a snack, and overall are pretty awesome. Yet when you call them, you're invading their privacy and their home. It's awesome.
36
This is how our elections should be run:

1. No primary.
2. One candidate per party, determined by nominating convention.
3. Only parties that received 2% or more in a previous election for that office or a statewide office can run candidates.
4. New parties or independents can petition for inclusion on the ballot in the months leading up to the election. Set the petition at 2% of the voters at that level in the previous election. (This compares to a threshold of 4% of the gubernatorial vote total for referenda and 8% for initiatives. That is, it's a low bar.)
5. You have one general election, and either a ranked-choice (IRV-style) runoff or scheduled runoff election a few weeks later for all races where no candidate got 50%. Given that we have a mail-only system a ranked choice for run-offs would be preferable. A scheduled run-off would require a quick turn-around with printing and mailing ballots.

This gives parties the ability to choose their own candidates, which is what they want and should have. It gives independents and minor parties a chance to be on the general ballot. It allows voters to keep their independence while eliminating the opportunity for partisans to screw with the selection of candidates by opposing parties. If it was done as a single IRV ballot it would also save money. Maybe the savings could be put into prepaid postage for ballots.
37
Oh, and regarding the Seattle vs. NYC bit (and, FTR, fuck New York City) - is the Stranger a campaign arm of anyone (other than McGinn), or is it a news and entertainment rag/online rag? The Stranger and their staff are not responsible, IMO, for getting word out. They made an endorsement, and I think did a decent job pounding away at folks they didn't endorse, but still, they're not Moxie or NW Passages.

So...there you go.
38
@ 36 -

No no no no no...

it should be closed primaries for the major parties (as defined by state law), minor party candidates have nominating conventions, and whoever has the most votes in November wins. IRV is crap. Pick who you support, and support them, even if it means the lesser of two evils.
39
This was an election lost on message. Not many people know Justice Johnson is basically handpicked by the BIAW. He was originally run on the basis that the BIAW was losing case after case in the WA State Supreme Court. His opinions have shown he is fairly shallow in judicial depth.

I had resigned myself to him being elected again to the court. I heard Rumbaugh's radio ads, but they sounded more like a conservative in the key words used. It was only my own research that allowed me to cast my vote.

It was a case of too little, too late.
40
Does anyone know *why* the judicial election is decided in August and not November?
41
If you want to win a real election in the real political arena, you can't assume everyone knows what you know and thinks the way you think.

Rumbaugh and the Rumbaugh campaign did not project the qualities most voters look for in a SCOWA judge: professional stature, judicial temperament, and "sober as a judge" judicial demeanor.

Rumbaugh hadn't been a judge, campaigned as a zealous issue-oriented advocate, and came across as a bit light-hearted. Just the opposite of what most voters look for. That left Johnson looking experienced, impartial, and serious.

99% of voters do not have a hard-on for BIAW, and wouldn't even if they knew what BIAW was.

Against Sanders, BTW, Wiggins ran only 1% ahead of Rumbaugh's total vote tally. A third entrant in the Johnson bracket would have kept the race alive through November (though there's no reason to think the outcome would have differed).
42
The "Johnson Syndrome:"

Voters don't have any information about a race but see name that seems familiar and go for it. In 1990 Washington voters elected Charles Johnson -- an unknown lawyer from Gig Harbor with no judicial experience who did not campaign -- to the State Supreme Court. He defeated Chief Justice Keith Callow, a widely respected judge with no political liabilities other than a name that rhymed with gallow.

43
Not only rhymes with "gallow," also means "inexperienced or immature." Tough campaign name for sure.
44
That decision was unfortunate and infuriating, but it is not uncommon for rational review decisions to have that kind of bizarre reasoning in them. The judges writing them don't even need to believe the rationale, only that the legislature might have.

(also the obvious: deciding elections in a primary is offensive, electing judges is generally curious, etc etc agreement with what others have already said)
45
I'd also add that using an uncommon acronym (BIAW) as part of your opposition campaign message might have not been a super idea.
46
RonK nailed it.

they never established who rumbaugh was or why he was qualified. you'd need about $400K to do voter contact on that BEFORE you'd ever go sharply negative.

Voters are so ignorant of judicial races the normal rules don't apply. you can't run it like it's a normal sinderman/moxie political race.

andyes, no one knows who BIAW is and if you say builders most people think of the guy who did their kitchen remodel.

the name thing is only because there's a vacuum left by not (a) having a qualified candidate, I didn't hear a thing about Rumbaugh having done 65 appeals or anything like that, (b) didn't hear a thing about "why I am running" from Rumbaugh and (c) the attack pieces don't work because while true there hasn't been years of media to educate voters judges corruptly get campaign donations, and oh BY THE WAY OBVIOUSLY the progressives wanted rumbaugh in their pocket just like biaw wants johnson in their pocket. Fairpac? any voter knows that name means its opposite!
47
@40 - I think it's actually in the constitution of the State (but I'm probably wrong...WiS moment, just making shit up)

@44 - are you talking about the Anderson v. King County ruling? Because Johnson did not sign on to the opinion that said, "it may be wrong, but it is in the legislature's purview, and they should change it, but past precedent grants "extreme deference" to the legislature." He authored the opinion that compared gays to polygamists, and stated that gays and lesbians aren't being discriminated against because they can marry people of the opposite gender.

Sanders response to that - "well, they can."
48
@8, are you referring to the Hon. Faith Ireland?
49
The most cynical explanation I have is that he has absolutely awful teeth. I cringed looking at the flyer showing up at my house.
50
Okay, I'm still a little confused about the whole "winning in the primary" issue. This voter education site http://www.courts.wa.gov/voters/index.cf… says "In most instances, a judicial candidate who is unopposed or who receives more than half of the votes in a primary election is thereby elected ..."

Johnson received 658,767 votes. Ballots counted were 1,381,472. That's less than half. Granted, it's more than 50% of the people who scratched in something for that race. But more people voted -- a lot more. And they left that blank. Doesn't any lawyer want to challenge that????

No, we shouldn't have to vote for everything on the ballot, but if someone has to get more than 50% of the "votes" to win in a primary, shouldn't it be 50% of the total people showing up and not the ones who voted only for that position? This is a primary, not a real election. Someone please lawyer up! (I can't believe I just used that phrase.)

Why should judicial positions be different than representative/legislative/congressional (and someone please provide a catchall term for those positions)????
51

(Commenting only to prevent Savage hegemony in "most commented" list)
52
@51 always a good cause.

That said, other than changing his name (good advice) the thing is Seattle is pissed. And until the Governor kills the Billionaires Tunnel that won't change.
53
Eli, just wondering when you're going to get around to mentioning the other members of the progressive coalition that also apparently failed to elect a guy who only put his name in the hat 8 weeks out. Let's start with Planned Parenthood, the org that Rumbaugh is a board member for. When do you plan to rake the pro-choice community over the coals? How about Labor? Why do you select out the gays for ridicule?

When you write a 2nd blog entry to again trash only one organization because a certain candidate lost an election, you make it look like you have a grudge against said organization. Oh, and then you don't open the comments on that blog entry. Nice touch.

Regarding $8K, I noticed that ERW often directed supporters to give to the candidate campaign directly. In fact that's what I did when donating to Laurie Jinkins and Stan Rumbaugh. So there was a lot more than $8K of queer money supporting the Rumbaugh campaign. But you'd have to set aside your ERW bias for a minute to contemplate such possibilities.
54
One other thing worth mentioning - as far as I know all the major daily newspapers in the state endorsed Johnson, even as many of them mentioned that Johnson was a bigot and they didn't like his bigoted anti-equality marriage decision. Talk about #logicfail. Why aren't you exploring the problem of "friendly" newspapers propping up bigots in low-interest races like judicial elections?