Vote for Maria Cantwell (D)

The Stranger Death Squad is endorsing RealNetworks executive Maria Cantwell so she can beat Washington's oldest elected blemish, Sen. Slade Gorton. Between the two serious Democratic rivals, Cantwell is more likely than Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn to slay Gorton. She's a better campaigner (she's gaining on Gorton in the polls), she can flaunt legislative experience, and she's got cash to burn. Sure, the Stranger Death Squad came to this endorsement tentatively. After all, Cantwell sucks on gay rights and she's two-faced. For example, while she hypes privacy on the campaign trail, her company is being sued for spying on consumers. And, as a congresswoman in 1993, she voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement. She's also pro death penalty. But mostly, Cantwell's heart is in the right place. She's making a point of foregoing PAC money. (Granted, she's rich enough to do that. And yeah, she's taken PAC money in previous campaigns. But at least she's calling attention to the most relevant issue in the 2000 campaign.) Also, thanks to a strong labor record (including votes for farm-worker unemployment insurance) and a ban on mandatory overtime, she's gotten backing from a wide range of unions. She's gotten the nod from NARAL as well. Moreover, her campaign is focusing on health care, where she's indistinguishable from proclaimed lefty Senn.

Don't Vote for Deborah Senn (D)

Sure, consumer advocate Deborah Senn did great things as the state's insurance commissioner, but now she's leading a disorganized Senate campaign, missing ferry connections, and airing Pizza Hut-quality campaign ads. When the Stranger Death Squad finally pinned her down for an interview (boy, is her campaign mananger screwed up), Senn was not able to articulate how, exactly, she's more progressive than Cantwell. The clearest difference was on trade, but that's just one issue. All in all, Senn's work as insurance commissioner isn't enough to warrant a U.S. Senate endorsement. There is a host of other "candidates" in this race who fall in the "no photo submitted" category.

Don't Vote for Slade Gorton (R)

Oh Christ, what can we say about Slade other than, well, he's horrible. During his18-year reign, Gorton has consistently voted against the environment, gay rights, and campaign finance reform, and he's in bed with members of the timber and manufacturing industry. Studies show that Gorton is the nation's sixth largest special-interest PAC donation stooge, making bank with Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, and Microsoft. Gorton was against the Microsoft antitrust case, pushed a timber-industry bill to roll back the Endangered Species Act, voted against the Clean Water Act, voted against expanding hate crimes to include homosexuals, and is known among fellow politicians as the king of midnight riders (sneaking amendments into bills at the last minute). Last year, for example, Congress passed an emergency bill to aid the Kosovoan war refugees. In classic Skeletor fashion, Slade attached a rider allowing Battle Mountain Gold Company to mine Washington forests, free from state environment laws (the amendment failed). A vote for Slade is a vote for Satan.