Two words about this election: Joe Fitzgibbon.
Joe Fitzgibbon is running for 34th District Representative. So if you live in his West Seattle district, vote for him. If you don't live in his district, move there, vote for him, and join the Stranger Election Control Board (SECB) in stalking him.
Two more words: Stan Rumbaugh. He's not nearly as dreamy as Joe Fitzgibbon—who besides Joe Fitzgibbon's hypothetical identical twin could be?—but Rumbaugh needs your vote. He's running for the state supreme court against an anti-gay fuckstick who carries water for the conservative interest groups that put his sorry ass on the court. Vote for Rumbaugh.
While we're at it, two more words about this election: Tea Party. At nearly every one of our hour-long endorsement meetings, the SECB was distressed to find itself sitting across the table from some batshit winger nutcase—have any of these Tea Party types actually read the Constitution they're jerking off to? Or do they just use it to mop up?—along with some spineless Democrat incumbent that we nevertheless feel obligated to enthusiastically endorse if only to prevent some batshit winger nutcase from slipping into office.
Don't get us wrong: We like some of the Dems we're about to endorse. Some of them are sharp. One of them is hot. But brave and bold these Dems are not.
So here's a message for the politicians we're about to endorse: For the love of fucking God, motherfuckers, show some balls. (Starting with you, Joe Fitzgibbon.) Lead on issues like the tunnel, pot, transit, taxes, and the state budget, don't just cower behind policy and doublespeak.
The fine print: The SECB does not endorse in uncontested races (or races we forgot about). The SECB doesn't expect most of you to read all the way through our endorsements, but to reward those of you who do: Lindy West and David Schmader have randomly sprinkled jokes throughout the text. Jokes are in tiny type so we can squeeze all this shit into the paper.
We were considering telling you to vote for Tea Party nut Clint Didier, the Sarah Palin–endorsed alfalfa farmer/welfare queen from Eastern Washington who used to play tight end in the NFL. If Didier beats the other big-name Republican in this race—two-time gubernatorial loser Dino Rossi—then we'll never have to look at Rossi's smarmy, full-of-shit grin ever again and Democratic incumbent Patty Murray wouldn't have to break a sweat in the general. (What do you call an alfalfa farmer who rails against government subsidies while soaking his own alfalfa fields in government subsidies? Toast.)
But an anti-incumbent year isn't the time for games like that. Polls show Murray in a tight race with Rossi, and she needs as many votes as possible to sail out of the primary in first place with Rossi's lying, women's-rights-hating, gay-bashing, shady-real-estate-investor-loving, unemployment-benefits-delaying ass in a very distant second place. (How is bungee jumping like getting oral sex from your grandmother? It feels great but DON'T LOOK DOWN!)
This race really is an easy choice. Murray voted against the Iraq War, went to bat for veterans' benefits in this state, pushed the public option during the health-insurance-reform debate, played hardball to get the Plan B contraceptive released by the Food and Drug Administration, held BP's feet to the fire after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and, most recently, voted to extend unemployment benefits for Americans suffering from long-term joblessness. Rossi wants to repeal health-care reform, is a Neanderthal on reproductive rights, and thinks the unemployed can suck it. Vote for Murray in the primary, and then send money or get involved in her campaign—she needs your help this year.
He's already been Seattle's congressman for 1,000 years. Why stop now? McDermott's in the right place on Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, the oil spill, the gays, and just about everything else you can think of, and he drew no serious challengers this year. So send him back.
Here we go again. A woman who used to work at Microsoft is trying to unseat "Sheriff" Dave Reichert, the Republican who has represented the Eastside's 8th Congressional District since 2005. The last two times this happened, it was Democrat Darcy Burner taking Reichert on. This time it's Democrat Suzan DelBene, who has a deeper résumé than Burner and seems a lot less prone to the entitled-naïf caricature that dogged Burner in 2008. (What's the difference between a porcupine and a Hummer SUV? The porcupine has pricks on the outside!) Still, DelBene is trying to do something that's never, ever been done: force the congressional seat in this "swing" district to actually swing Democratic.
Unlike the 8th, this swing district in southwestern Washington has, in fact, swung—many times, back and forth, between Republicans and Democrats. You say: "Yeah. But why are you talking to me about a swing district in southwestern Washington? I don't even know what that is." We say: "Neither do we. But right now this district—down along the Columbia River—is filled with angry unemployed folks and is currently represented by a retiring Democrat, Brian Baird. This is one open seat that's very likely to be grabbed by a Republican. We can't let that happen, asshole."
Denny Heck, who's a little middle-of-the-road and bland—he speaks in dialect of Cream of Wheat—is exactly the right kind of middle-of-the-road and bland for this bland, middle-of-the-road district. You probably can't vote for him because you don't live in Kelso or Camas (praise the Lord), but you can send this former state house majority leader some money.
State Legislative District No. 34
Sean Cody is a gay pornographer—Joe Fitzgibbon would fit right in at SeanCody.com—and he's not to be confused with Eileen Cody, the longest continuous serving member in the house. (Sean Cody gets very annoyed when people ask him if he's Eileen Cody.) Eileen Cody, a rehabilitation nurse, is the chairwoman of the house Health Care and Wellness Committee. When the state couldn't finance the universal vaccines for children earlier this year, Cody organized a coalition that convinced insurance companies to kick in and provide vaccinations for all kids in the state. (Your mama's glasses are so thick, they're at least two or three times the thickness of normal glasses.) She was the primary sponsor of a recent bill that creates a Health Insurance Partnership, which extends health-insurance benefits to small businesses and health-insurance subsidies for low-income employees in Washington State. Now, Cody says, the fun part will be implementing the federal health-care plan in Washington State. We want her leading the charge. Vote for her.
There is no hotter race in Seattle this summer than the race to be the next state representative from West Seattle, and there is no hotter candidate in that race than Joe Fitzgibbon. That's right, we're not ashamed to say it. Because it is, inarguably, a TRUE FACT. Just look at his action shots. (What's the difference between acne and a Catholic priest? Acne comes on a boy's face after he turns 12.)
Fitzgibbon, age 23, also happens to be the most experienced candidate in the contest. How often does it happen that a man in his early 20s ends up trouncing his older, more establishment opponents—in this case, political-family scion Mike Heavey and cell-phone-tower antagonist Marcee Stone—in the political résumé category? Before running for this position, Fitzgibbon worked in Olympia as a legislative aide to Representative Sharon Nelson (D-34), who is leaving her seat in the state house to run for state senate. Fitzgibbon is also a veteran of the Burien Planning Commission. His former boss, Nelson, is backing him, as are nine other state legislators, 14 labor organizations, the Washington Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Fuse Washington, and the Washington Bus. Even the stodgy Municipal League of King County gave Fitzgibbon the highest rating of the candidates in the race (they said he was "very good" while his challengers were simple "good" and worse, "adequate.") Trust us, those groups don't endorse people just because they're nice to look at. Plus, in the "says it all" category, the Seattle Times determined Fitzgibbon to be Heavey's "most qualified" challenger but declined to endorse him because he "seems too much of a hard-left candidate." What more do you need to know? (How do you get a lesbian to cross the road? Put a big pile of pussy on the other side!)
Oh, right, where he is on the issues: Fitzgibbon is for staggered bar-closing times, against the University of Washington having the authority to hike tuition on its own, for a state income tax, for public financing of campaigns, and opposed to Seattle being on the hook for downtown tunnel cost overruns. Vote for him.
Legislative District No. 36
JKW-challenger Leslie Klein wore a safari jacket covered with pockets to his endorsement interview. He described it as "my survivor outfit." He identifies as a member of the Problemfixer Party—because you can claim to be any party you like on the ballot—and suggests that candidates could sell off their own unique party affiliations to corporations for money. "Home Depot for $400 could have the Home Depot Party," he says. Asked what, exactly, he planned to do if elected, Klein said, "I will not be in charge of anything. I will not be sponsoring any items."
Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who is seeking one last term in the state senate, is a reliable Dem on budget issues and social justice, and we're excited to see her promised legislation to patch up holes in the state's medical-marijuana law (like protecting patients from being arrested). This fix is overdue and Kohl-Welles has laid the groundwork to get it done. Vote Kohl-Welles. (Did you hear about the member of the minority group known for its limited intelligence who won a gold medal at the Special Olympics? He or she had it bronzed!)
Mary Lou Dickerson
Here's what Republican Jill England, who is asking voters to send her to the state senate, says about imposing an income tax on Washington residents earning more than $200,000 a year: "Bill Gates Sr. is behind this thing. If I'm not mistaken, he's an accountant." She is mistaken. "Now I'm not saying he's trying to make more business for himself, but with this income-tax thing, all we'll be doing is forcing people to take their taxes to accountants."
Democratic incumbent Mary Lou Dickerson is a rational, capable liberal. She's a social worker responsible for legislation banning toxic toys and baby bottles in the state. She's gone on record asking for a progressive income tax since 1994, and last session she introduced a bill to legalize pot "just to get the conversation started." Next session, she wants to tackle the children's mental-health system. "Kids can't get services until they're chronically mentally ill," she explains. "That's not right." Vote Dickerson.
It's been two or three whole endorsements since we mentioned Joe Fitzgibbon.
Legislative District No. 37
Eric Pettigrew deserves a fifth term. He's fought for low-income residents. Last year, he successfully secured $3.7 million as part of an anti-gang initiative that increases services for hundreds of at-risk youth. But fighting just for the interest of the 37th District isn't enough. (What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup? Anyone can roast beef!) Pettigrew needs to kick up some dust for progressive statewide policies—reforming the tax structure, securing better health care, changing our leotarded drug laws—and he should stop kowtowing to the timid Democratic leadership. His challenger, John Stafford, wants to lock up pot smokers and build the tunnel without a financing plan in place. What a fucking moron.
Incumbent senator Adam Kline sponsors dozens of bills each year to protect civil liberties and reform backward criminal laws. Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kline recently pushed a bill to help protect newspaper reporters and their anonymous sources. We've flipped Kline plenty of shit for being an ineffective lawmaker—he sponsors a lot of bills, but very few pass—but the article that really upset Kline was the one that anonymously quoted his colleagues. To which he told the SECB, "Fuck you." We like that kind of talk. You have our endorsement, Senator Adam "Fuck You" Kline!
Legislative District No. 43
Frank Chopp represents the most progressive district in the state (the 43rd encompasses Capitol Hill, the University District, and parts of downtown), and as the house Speaker, he's the most powerful person in the legislature. But Chopp routinely works against the values of his own district (like cutting funding for the UW, blocking bills on pot reform, failing to support workers' privacy bills, sucking off the Building Industry Association of Washington). Why don't Dems have a spine or balls? "We do have spines," says Chopp. So no balls? "I personally do." How nice for Mrs. Chopp. (How are men and parking spots alike? The good ones are always taken and the ones left are handicapped!)
Chopp says some controversial measures are best addressed by citizens' initiatives. We disagree. Initiatives are enormously expensive and drain resources from progressive organizations, resources that could be spent elsewhere if the legislature—if Frank Chopp—were bolder. Vote for Chopp—but the next time you see him, ask him if he has any balls. Then ask him to prove it.
Legislative District No. 46
Phyllis Kenney, who has served in the state legislature since the Ming Dynasty, is someone most voters have never heard of. But she gets shit done. In this year's legislative session, she muscled through a bill to provide services at Seattle community colleges that offer students employment, counseling, job training, and financial-aid services (it was signed into law by the governor in March). She also passed a bill to help small businesses and has her eye on introducing a corporate tax next session.
And while we don't love her views on booze—she's against privatizing liquor sales in the state—she introduced a measure to pilot wine tasting at farmers markets. (A man is driving happily down the road when he's pulled over by police. The cop approaches and asks politely, "Have you been drinking, sir?" "Why?" snorts the man. "Is there an ugly girl in my car?")
Meanwhile, Kenney's challenger—independent Beau Gunderson—is an uninformed, pro–Tim Eyman mess. He's against taxes in general, and imposing taxes on soda and candy and rich folks in particular. So how would he fix our state's billion-dollar budget problems? Gunderson was silent for a long time in our meeting. When pressed, he suggests privatizing the ferry system and imposing "user fees" on all public parks. Ta-da! Multibillion-dollar crisis averted!
Vote for Kenney.
Legislative District No. 48
Rodney Tom is a man conflicted. (What did the ghost say to the bee? BOO BEE!)
During his first term as state senator, he changed parties from Republican to Democrat. Then he helped draft the Democrat's 2010 budget proposal, but when it came time to vote, he sided with Republicans and voted against the budget. Tom says he has "no appetite for new taxes" and is opposed to a state income tax on residents earning more than $200,000 a year. But Tom sponsored legislation that raised state taxes on cigarettes by $1, and he supports other "sin" taxes on candy and soda. He also opposes Tim Eyman's Initiative 1053, which would require a two-thirds legislative majority for any tax increases. In other words, Tom is right about three-quarters of the time! His Republican challenger, Gregg Bennett, is a pansy-assed coward who refused to meet with the SECB. For all we know, he's planning to organize death camps for the poor. In fact, we're certain of it. So vote for Tom, who's in the midst of a beautiful (if clunky) metamorphosis, over Bennett, who is plotting to kill you and everyone you know.
Democrat Ross Hunter, chairman of the House Finance Committee, has done a reasonable job of helping balance the state budget, and we want to send him back to Olympia with an abacus and a giant eraser. The state's budget is fucked, which means education funding is fucked. "I'm making a prioritization decision to get education funding back to 50 percent of the budget," says Hunter. "We have a constitutional requirement to educate our children." (What has four legs, is big, green, fuzzy, and if it fell out of a tree would kill you? A pool table!)
In addition to smacking down former state Republican Party chair Diane Tebelius, we want to see Hunter reform a regressive tax structure that leans heavily on the poor (in sales taxes) and small businesses (with the B&O tax). We're sick of hearing Hunter kvetch about the state's budget woes and then him being a pussy about seeking real change. He better be out there gunning for Initiative 1098 this fall, and if that fails, finding another way to make systemic improvements to the state budget. But to be effective, he's got to be in office. Vote Hunter.
Republican Philip Wilson warns on his Facebook page that our state "must prepare for the day when the federal funds no longer come in." (How is bungee jumping like getting oral sex from your grandmother? It feels great but DON'T LOOK DOWN!) On the other side, incumbent representative Deb Eddy, a transportation-policy wonk with limited tolerance for political theater, chides state officials for their lack of leadership on the deep-bore tunnel, which we agree with, and she would vote to amend the state law that says Seattle property owners would pay cost overruns. We didn't like her push to quash the discussion to plan for future light rail on the 520 bridge. But she wants one more term in office. And she deserves it. (Yeah, we used the grandmother-giving-you-a-blowjob joke twice, but it's just so funny!)
We don't just love Joe McDermott because he has the same first name as Joe Fitzgibbon. Or because McDermott is currently the state senator from the 34th District, where Joe Fitzgibbon lives. Or even because McDermott would be the first homo on the King County Council. (Swoon.) We endorse McDermott because he's more qualified than his three challengers: a duck hugger, an unemployed carpenter, and the former crown prince of some place called Normandy Park. McDermott knows the issues of the 8th county council district because the district's boundaries are almost identical to the boundaries of the 34th state legislative district, which McDermott has represented (in the state house and in the state senate) since 2001. And—and!—by leaving his senate seat, McDermott caused a political reshuffling that opened up a state house seat to be filled by... Joe Fitzgibbon!!!
Stan Rumbaugh and Charlie Wiggins
We've got a litmus test for the Washington State Supreme Court: How did you/would you rule in Andersen v. King County, the 2006 case brought by gay and lesbian couples seeking to overturn this state's discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act? (How do you get a Texan to suck your dick? Put ranch dressing on it!)
Both Justice Jim Johnson, who has been on the high court ever since the Building Industry Association of Washington paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to put him there in 2004, and Justice Richard B. Sanders, who claims to be a libertarian defender of the people's rights but clearly has a gaping blind spot when it comes to the rights of sexual minorities, signed a bigoted joint ruling in 2006 that said Washington's Defense of Marriage Act must be upheld because of the "unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing." (That explains why infertile straight people can't get married!)
Throw both these assholes out. (How do you get someone who loves ranch dressing to suck your dick? Put ranch dressing on it!)
Pay particular attention to Johnson's race right now, since it has only two candidates and will therefore be decided in the primary election. In the space on your primary ballot dedicated to Supreme Court Justice, Position 1, vote for Johnson's opponent, Stan Rumbaugh, who recently told The Stranger: "I don't see anything in the Constitution that says two people of the same sex can't marry." (So stirring!) He's an experienced lawyer, former Planned Parenthood board member, civic do-gooder, and all around better pick for the high court than the bigoted, bought-and-sold Johnson. (How do you get someone who loves sucking dick but hates ranch dressing to eat ranch dressing? Put some on your dick!)
Position 6 has three candidates and will be decided in November after the top-two primary narrows the field. And oh, what a field it is. (Knock knock! Who's there? The Jews! The Jews who? The Jews who control the media!) The incumbent, Sanders, is being challenged by Bryan Chushcoff, currently the presiding judge for Pierce County's superior court, who says he would have ruled on the same side as Sanders in Andersen v. King County. Former court of appeals judge and Sanders challenger Charlie Wiggins says the same. The only redeeming difference between the two challengers: Wiggins says he would have used less offensive language than Sanders to talk about gay people. Hold your nose and vote Wiggins. (Knock knock! Who's there? A gay guy! A gay guy who? A gay guy who loves ranch dressing!)
This story has been updated since its original publication.