Democrats often grouse off the record that someone should step up and challenge Seattle placeholder U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7). It turns out nearly 1,200 people did challenge the liberal eight-term McDermott--technically speaking. McDermott drew a startling 1,193 write-in votes for opponents on primary day, or 1.3 percent of the vote!
Sure, people feel free to have fun with the write-in slot when the incumbent doesn't face any challengers, but by way of comparison, unchallenged U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-1) only drew 420 opponent write-ins (0.5 percent) and State House Rep. Ed Murray (D-43) only drew 79 opponent write-ins (0.5 percent). We're thinking that the historic anti-McDermott showing has less to do with the district's playfulness and more to do with its anger at wasting a safe Democratic seat on a political nonentity. Appearing in a Michael Moore movie does not a politician make. JOSH FEIT
Political adversaries Helen Sommers and Alice Woldt may not agree on much (Woldt's losing campaign for longtime incumbent Sommers' 36th District seat was one of the most acrimonious local races in recent history), but they do see eye to eye on one point: They oppose I-83, the so-called "monorail recall" initiative. In a September 19 letter to district constituents, the feuding pair joined fellow 36th-ers Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles to condemn the initiative. (The monorail is slated to run right through the 36th district, which includes Ballard, Queen Anne, Interbay, and Seattle Center.)
"How many times do we have to vote for something to get it built?" the letter begins. "If we halt the project after three successful ballot measures, how can we think we'll ever get mass transit...in Seattle? Certainly a recall now would encourage others to try again to use privately funded initiatives to stop other projects."
Just three days before Woldt and Sommers distributed their letter, the 46th District Dems just to the north voted overwhelmingly--77 percent to 12 percent--to oppose the recall initiative in the group's endorsements for November. ERICA C. BARNETT
Last weekend, Friday, September 17, in a possible sneak preview of next year's city council contest, fiery lefty Dwight Pelz (the King County Council member who's running for Seattle City Council in 2005) was on a panel with Seattle City Council prez Jan Drago. Pelz hasn't said who he is running against, but Drago--a council veteran--seems a likely target.
The pair shared the stage in the salon setting of Phillip Wohlstetter's North Capitol Hill home, where Wohlstetter's bourgie public-policy group, Allied Arts, sponsored a forum on the South Lake Union streetcar.
Both Drago and Pelz support the $50 million project, but they disagree over whether tax revenues collected in South Lake Union should be siphoned from the city's general fund and funneled back into the neighborhood. JOSH FEIT