Marcia McCraw, the Republican running for lieutenant governor, isn't your typical Washington State Republican. This summer, the 54-year-old Ballard resident partied at both Sturgis and Burning Man. She supports gay marriage and wants to legalize marijuana. And she received a 100-percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.
"To me, it is just a gut feeling of what is fair," says McCraw, who arrives at an interview wearing a crisp ivory pantsuit. "If a woman wants to have an abortion, it should be available to her in a safe manner, not in a back alley—that is ridiculous."
So is McCraw really a Republican? You bet. She raised more than $200,000 for Bush's presidential reelection campaign in 2004. And this year, she plans to vote for John McCain for president and Dino Rossi for governor. McCraw says her party affiliation is grounded not in social policy, but in her belief that Republicans would reduce business taxes and better guard national security. A practicing Jew, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council; she says she was wowed by Bush's pro-Israel rhetoric. "A lot of Democrats don't believe the reality of countries like Iran making weapons and aiming them at us," she says.
McCraw's opponent, Democratic incumbent Brad Owen, is as at odds with his party as McCraw is with hers. Owen, once widely considered one of the most conservative members of the state senate, has used his office as a launching pad to crusade against marijuana (including medical marijuana), touring classrooms around the state with his preachy rock band.
As Washington State's lieutenant governor, Owen presides over the state's part-time senate—where Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles says he has upset Democrats with rulings that favor conservatives—and his duties also include standing by in case the real governor drops dead. Given the minimal duties for the position, McCraw, who favors "smaller government," thinks the office's expenses should be pared down.
"Day one, I'd cut the car and driver," McCraw says, referring to a security detail and a driver provided by the Washington State Patrol. "Unless I'm getting death threats, I wouldn't need a... security detail." She would also reduce the office's seven-person staff.
But while McCraw may appeal to some Seattle progressives, her chance of winning is almost nonexistent. A poll in September by Stuart Elway had Owen leading 47 to 19 percent, with 33 percent of voters undecided. "[Owen] is way ahead and the tide is running Democrat," Elway says.