The Stranger Election Control Board checked out all the parties on Primary Election Night, Tuesday, September 19, and posted updates on Slog, The Stranger’s blog, throughout the night. The morning after, SECB member Erica C. Barnett predicted, to widespread derision, that Jim Street (currently in second place behind Jamie Pederson) will pull out a win. Her logic: In the latest totals, Street has pulled up to within 35 votes of Jamie Pedersen, erasing almost all of Pedersen’s early lead. Late absentees are likely to favor Street, as they’ll skew toward older voters who recognize Street’s name from his many years in office.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Pure is maintaining fourth place with 13 percent, as King County Democrats-endorsed Dick Kelley and SEAMEC-endorsed Lynne Dodson trade places for last and fifth, respectively.


Here’s a wrap-up of our comprehensive coverage from Election Night; for ongoing updates, watch Slog.

8:47 PM

Party Crasher phones in from the Montlake Alehouse, where the Drinking Liberally people are. Bill Sherman is holding his campaign party here, as are folks from I-88. The I-88 people have stuffed the bar full of elementary-school kids—is that a subclause to the initiative?—and there are children running around everywhere.

Party Crasher hears Sherman apologizing for having his event here. He says to one of the Drinking Liberally people: “Dude, it was your room.” Some of the Liberal Drinkers are unhappy, feeling that Sherman’s double-booking was a tactic intended to co-opt Drinking Liberally’s youthful, motivated crowd. Apparently, this is the place to be. Somebody just arrived from Pure’s party at Piecora’s, saying it was “dead.”

The children are munching on nachos. There’s one little girl spinning another little girl around like a helicopter. Party Crasher was at the Frye today going to the Henry Darger exhibit and this scene is really freaking me out. It’s like the Vivian Girls in the realm of the Democrats…

8:51 PM

Pedersen has taken an early lead, with 28.65% of the vote. The other candidates stack up as follows:

Bill Sherman D 554 15.20%

Jim Street D 807 22.15%

Dick Kelley D 428 11.75%

Stephanie Pure D 408 11.20%

Lynne Dodson D 403 11.06%

And, uh, no surprise here but Ed Murray currently has 99 percent of the votes in his (unopposed) run for 43rd district state senate seat.

8:58 PM

SECB Anchorwoman Sarah Mirk is at the home of the Ransom family—Jim Street’s friend’s house—where she and Kelly O chatted briefly with a columnist from the Seattle Gay News.

The columnist tells Mirk and Kelly O that she is going to ask Street about bringing the troops home—and that she’s dating somebody at Ft. Lewis.

Asked how he predicted the race would turn out, Street hesitates, says he isn’t sure if he’s going to win and that “the race is full of good candidates.” If elected, one of his top priorities will be to decrease the number of high-school dropouts.

He says his biggest mistake on the campaign trail was “not schmoozing more” with the endorsement boards of environmental groups. The party is low-key—only about 20 people, all of them older—with delicious brownies, baby carrots, chips and salsa, and beer and wine. It’s all very homey, with people clustered around a tiny television in the kitchen, all watching the returns come in. They’re excited to learn that State Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander has pulled ahead.

9:09 PM

In the weeks leading up to tonight’s primary election, voters in the 43rd District were inundated with mailers for the six candidates vying to represent the district in the state legislature. Here are the mailers SECB member Erica C. Barnett has received in the last two weeks:

Knowing that candidates target mailers to the people they believe are their base, and knowing that she’s a single woman living alone on Capitol Hill, Barnett concludes from her selection of mailers (eight from Jamie Pedersen, three from Stephanie Pure) that Pure thinks she’s concerned about choice (true), and Pedersen thinks she’s gay (not so true). A friend who also lives in the district—a 43-year-old male resident of Roosevelt—got about a dozen mailers from middle-aged male candidate Jim Street (who didn’t send me a single piece of mail) and not a single piece from Pure.

9:09 PM

Ace reporter Brad Steinbacher phones in from Stephanie Pure’s event at Piecora’s:

She’s lost and she knows it. She’s just hanging out with friends, turning it into a bit of a party. And that’s about it.

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9:21 PM

The early results are in (and we mean very early results—at this point, only 4,037 votes have been counted) and Jamie Pedersen is in the lead, with 1,044 votes. Pedersen, who’s holding his election-night party at his beautiful home in east Capitol Hill, says “the early numbers don’t mean anything”—although, asked how many votes he’s received, Pedersen recites the numbers by heart. Pedersen’s spread includes chips and salsa, turkey wraps, and homemade cookies that Pedersen baked himself.

Over at Stephanie Pure’s campaign party, about two dozen people (including city council members Jean Godden and Pure’s boss Peter Steinbrueck) are gathered over pizza and beer to await the results. When the early returns put Pure in fifth place over labor candidate Lynne Dodson, a Pure campaign consultant Jason Bennett quips that campaign consultants “Linda Mitchell and Karen Cooper should have asked Lynne to drop out, not Stephanie.” Early in the campaign, Mitchell and Cooper urged Pure to drop out of the race so that their candidate, Dodson, could enjoy the benefit of being the only female candidate.

Meanwhile, as we’re leaving Pure’s party, Steinbrueck (wearing a jean jacket and a mischievous grin) calls out over his shoulder: “If Jamie wins, Preston Gates [the lobbying and law firm for which Pedersen works] wins. It’s the cheapest way they can get what they want in Olympia—just elect somebody.”

9:27 PM

According to the latest totals, Jamie Pedersen remains in the lead, with 28.6 percent. The remaining candidates’ totals are as follows: Jim Street 22.1%; Bill Sherman 15.2%; Dick Kelley 11.7%; Stephanie Pure 11.2%; Lynne Dodson 11.1%

9:28 PM

Sarah Mirk is at the Montlake Alehouse, which is absolutely packed with Sherman supporters and pictures of his face.

The supporters are younger voters, UW students, and the elementary-school kids. Party Crasher said “there are kids fucking everywhere,” which we could not confirm, though the beer is flowing freely and the pizza is flying.

A big-screen television is tuned to the results, and the tables are crowded with laptops. Only 3,000 votes have been counted in the 43rd and Sherman said the first thing he’s going to do if he’s elected is “get really drunk.”

Bill Sherman is standing outside, shaking hands, looking excited. Everybody is smiling.

9:37 PM

Earlier tonight, on our way out to the campaign parties, we ran into state Rep. Ed Murray (who holds the seat all six candidates we’re following tonight are seeking to fill) having dinner with his former boss Martha Cho and Democratic pollster Don McDonough at 1200 Bistro on Capitol Hill. (Murray is a shoo-in for state senator in the 43rd district, a race that’s on the ballot in November.) We had two questions for Murray: What advice would he give tonight’s winner; and what he would do if Jamie Pedersen, whom Murray endorsed, didn’t win?

To the first question, Murray said the winner would need to “spend time talking to their opponent’s supporters” and finding out what their issues are. Once in office, Murray said, the winner should “go to the unsung members of the caucus… and ask for their advice,” a tactic that served Murray well in his first term in office.

And if his candidate Pedersen doesn’t win?

Murray laughed, smiled, and responded: “That’s a tough question. You can’t expect me to answer that.”

9:43 PM

Party Crasher is still wallowing at the Montlake Alehouse.

He reports that he laughter of children has left the Alehouse, and with it, both parties’ hopes of winning. He watches a Sherman supporter tear into one of the fans of I-88, the education levy. The Sherman supporter is really upset because he owns a condo and “this will cost people another thousand dollars in property tax.” The two get into a fairly heated argument, but ultimately, the condo owner walks away an I-88 supporter.

The most salient point is that the I-88 literature is all horrible—in the voter pamphlet, I-88 wrote its own description to sound like they would be charging all property owners 37 cents per $1,000 in property value, when they are actually proposing an increase of a nickel per $1,000 in property value.

The initiative’s organizers are terrible writers, which only demonstrates the need for more money for education. A pamphlet Party Crasher is currently holding says: “Wouldn’t you bend over backwards for Seattle’s children?” Isn’t that horrible? The condo buyer and I-88 convert says, “I work for an advertising agency and this is just… wrong.”

Jody Granatir, a teacher who supports I-88, explains the poor showing: “We were slammed by the media and by the mayor, which made our fight an uphill battle.”

Sherman is still looking all glad-handy and hasn’t given up yet. Tonight will be a triumph for Jim Street’s sign makers—everybody here is just gushing over them. If he wins tonight, it will be for the quality of his signs.

9:48 PM

Over at Stephanie Pure’s campaign-night party, the notables include Pure’s brother and her mom, who flew all the way from Hawaii to canvass and make phone calls on Stephanie’s behalf. Earlier tonight, Pure arrived on the scene at Piecora’s flanked by her fiancé, mom, and brother. She took one look at the long table festooned with People for Pure signs-turned-placemats (below) and laughed, “That’s really cool. And weird!”


When Erica C. Barnett talked to Pure earlier today, she sounded resigned to losing tonight, but upbeat about her campaign effort. “In retrospect, I absolutely should have quit my job sooner,” Pure said. “I should have had more money and more campaign organization earlier.” Nonetheless, Pure was excited for tonight, and tomorrow, when she and her mom plan to get massages and “a big fancy dinner.” Come Thursday, Pure says, she’s “back to the Steinbrueck office. And that’s that.”

9:49 PM

There’s not much drinking going on at the Pedersen party, which is being held in a huge 1909 Craftsman near the 15th Avenue business district on Capitol Hill. Instead there’s lots of soda, cookies, and earnest conversation.

But over in the corner of the kitchen, where the wine is stashed, Eli Sanders meets up with a gossipy Pedersen supporter who’s ready to dish dirt. After asking Sanders what Dan Savage would think about him pouring himself a glass of white on the job (and after Stranger publisher Tim Keck tells him exactly what Dan would think), the gossipy man tells Sanders that Pedersen had never been to a gay bar in Seattle until a recent campaign bar hop. Then the man corrects himself. He says Jamie had been to one gay bar before the recent campaign event: the Timberline, back when it still existed, to buy a ski ticket.

So much for the gay candidate. Or, as the chatty Pedersen supporter puts it: “Jamie’s the least gay candidate in the race.”

9:55 PM

Unpaid intern Lena reports from the B & O:

A quarter of the dining area is cordoned off for the Lynne Dodson party. There are around 50 people and an elaborate spread of cheeses and dips. The group is mostly middle-aged people drinking red wine and beer; they seem very celebratory. Lena introduces herself to Dodson and she smiles, ushers Lena in, and turn around to talk to her sister. Later, the sister says Dodson isn’t going to pay attention to results until after 10.

10:05 PM

Josh, apparently blown away by Pedersen’s palatial Capitol Hill lair, just sent a ton of photos to SECB home base of what he describes as a “lavish” spread and an “incredible” house. Unfortunately, cell-phone-camera technology has not advanced sufficiently to do it justice. Nevertheless, here they are:




That last picture is an image of Pedersen’s basement/nerve center, where Josh runs into Capitol Hill gadfly Janice Van Cleve. As a longtime community activist, Van Cleve knows all the candidates well; and as a precinct-committee officer coordinator in the 43rd District, she had to sit down separately with Dodson and Pure, who are both PCOs, and explain why she was supporting their opponent. Van Cleve’s explanation: “He’s the most intelligent and articulate of the bunch. When you get down to Olympia, you have to be able to convince other people what’s right and Jamie has the skills to do that.” Asked if Pedersen’s homosexuality was a factor in her support, Van Cleve says, “Absolutely. It’s not a tangential issue.”

Besides Van Cleve (and several members of the Seattle Men’s Chorus), Pedersen’s party is mostly bereft of prominent local officials—perhaps fittingly for a candidate who received few major endorsements.

10:26 PM

Josh reports that the scene at Bill Sherman’s party is as raucous and ebullient as Pedersen’s party was proper, upper-middle-class, and staid. (Fat Tire and cheeseburgers vs. white wine and canapés). Sherman, wearing a blue suit, seems cheerful and relaxed as he drinks beer and mingled with rowdy supporters.

As for us back at home base: We’re still waiting for updated results, which are delayed more than ever this year by a new vote-counting system.

10:27 PM

Party Crasher, still at the Montlake Alehouse, reports that there is nothing interesting happening there. The I-88 people have gone, the Drinking Liberally people are drunk, and the Sherman people are sitting there, trying to pretend they’re not losing. Sherman’s face has fallen—he’s gone from grinny and bright to talking earnestly with arms folded, people crowding around him, trying to cheer him up. But nobody’s crying.

10:27 PM

At the Pedersen party, a cheery State Rep. Ed Murray just made his prediction: Pedersen by 4 or 5 percentage points.

10:35 PM

So while we’re waiting for those results, here are a few fairly unsubstantiated predictions about what tonight’s results mean:

Currently, Jim Street is trailing Jamie Pedersen 22 to 29 percent. However, Street could pull up in the next batch of votes, if late absentee voters skew in his direction. Absentee voters tend to be older, favoring a known quantity like Street (who targeted older voters in his mailing campaign.) Moreover, more voters supposedly held onto their ballots longer this year, meaning the effect of late absentees could be greater than usual. And turnout is expected to be low (around 30 percent), again favoring Street, because poll voters are likely to favor Pedersen. In any case, the next batch of votes will be a good indicator of which direction the next round will go, so we’ll have a better sense of the frontrunner when the new numbers arrive.

10:50 PM

The verdict: Pedersen drops a little bit (from 29 percent to 28 percent), but Street does too (from 22.1 percent to 21.8 percent), making the change a bit of a wash. Meanwhile, Pure pulls into fourth place, overcoming Dodson and Dick Kelley. None of this means a whole lot yet, though, as only 4,525 votes have been counted.

11:20 PM

Saying the “traditionalists” demanded it, Jamie Pedersen stands on a wooden chair in his large unfinished basement/campaign headquarters and gives a quick speech after the most recent batch of results show him still in the lead.

Everyone in the room seems confident, loudly cheering Pedersen, who is not much more than a head taller than most of his audience, even standing on the chair.

Pedersen look confident himself, turning first to thank Ed Murray, whom he says “absolutely did not have to take the chance of endorsing me.”

Murray then stands atop another chair, and after very brief remarks hands Pedersen a campaign pin from a race won by Cal Anderson, the state’s first openly gay legislator. More thanks are passed around, and then Pedersen’s partner, Eric, a high school assistant-principal, comes up for a kiss.

“However it comes out,” Pedersen tells the crowd, “it has been a great experience.”