WELCOME TO PRIMARY ELECTION NIGHT, FRIENDS OF THE SLOG: If you are reading this before 8:00 p.m. and you have not yet voted, you still have time to drop your ballot in a drop box. GO DO THAT. Then come back here.
Normally at this hour: The Stranger Election Control Board would be clearing giant bowls of premium kush in preparation for an evening of detailed snack criticism, weird interviews with the eccentric family members of candidates, and quick analyses of first-drop ballot return results. But the pandemic has canceled our election night party coverage fun. Or rather, it has canceled MOST of our election night party coverage fun. This evening we'll try to crash a few Zoom parties (if we can find them), and publish brief interviews with some candidates shortly before/after the ballot drop, which will be sometime after 8:00 p.m. Once the results roll in, we'll publish the numbers along with reactions from some candidates. You can expect more detailed analysis tomorrow morning-ish.
But for now, here are the major questions we'll probably get answers to this evening:
• Which Republican dingbat will emerge from the crowded field of Republican dingbats to face off against Gov. Inslee in the race to waste a lot of Republican donor money????
• Will the moderate POC candidates in Washington's 10th Congressional District beat out the white progressives?
• Will Marko Liias rise above the Republicans to ultimately square off against Denny Heck, current poll-leader in the race for Lt. Gov.?
• Will Republicans maintain their stranglehold on the Secretary of State's office, which they've held since 1964?
• Will Democrats have a good chance of expanding their already large majority in the statehouse with EVEN MORE useless moderates from the ‘burbs?
• Will progressive statehouse challengers overcome entrenched incumbents, or will the incumbents continue to dominate as they have in other states?
• Will the Black candidates sweep up???
Former interim Seattle City Councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley is feeling hopeful: In an email, KHT, who is running a tight race against Chukundi Salisbury (and many others) to replace outgoing Rep. Eric Pettigrew in south Seattle's 37th Legislative District, said good-looking "internal tracking" and a lot of support from the community give her confidence in a top-two showing. "That said, a lot has changed over the course of the campaign," she said. "The incumbent retired, a global pandemic, a primary opponent dropped out as ballots were mailed. So we're not taking anything for granted. We're prepared to keep fighting. Tonight isn't the end of anything as much as the start of a three-month campaign." She'll be watching the results roll in with her campaign team, volunteers, and supporters on a virtual happy hour, then with her family. As for the other races she's excited about? "Ten Black Femmes are running statewide yo! I'm rooting for everybody Black!" KHT said.
The babies say: get those ballots in by 8pm! 🗳✍🏽 Today we show up for those furthest from power. We use our vote to invest in communities over corporate profits. We vote for each other and our own families. Let’s bring it home 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/MK50HOHb6n
— Kirsten Harris-Talley (@ElectKHT) August 4, 2020
Sen. Marko Liias is feeling "optimistic" about making it to the general: Liias cites recent public polling showing him tied for second with Republican Joseph Brumbles in the race to replace Cyrus Habib for Lieutenant Governor, who left the position to join the cloth earlier this year. He'll need to beat Brumbles if he wants to take on former U.S. House Rep. Denny Heck, who is polling the highest in the race with 34% support. Liias feels good about that prospect, given that the poll was "taken before our television ads and phone and text banks were in full swing," he said. "Since then, we’ve contacted over 125,000 voters directly (including Matt Driscoll at the TNT it turns out.)"
But is Liias concerned about his margins? "I don’t think it matters as long as we’re in the top 2," he said. "The November electorate will be completely different: younger, more diverse, and ready for bold, transformational change. As evidenced by the news stories in recent days about Denny shilling for hotel hedge funds, the choice in November will be clear: generational change to tackle overdue issues like equity, climate and healthcare versus more of the same DC insider politics of lobbyists and special interests." Liias will watch the returns with his boyfriend on Capitol Hill. "We’ll probably zoom with family and some close friends as the night progresses. Social distancing! If it weren’t so hot out, I’d probably be baking some Doritos casserole." Liias is following a lot of races, including Tarra Simmons in LD 23, Sharlett Mena in LD 29, the 10th Congressional District primary, as well as Senate Democratic candidate races in the 10th, 16th, 25th, and 28th LDs.
Speaking of the 10th Congressional District: Rep. Beth Doglio said she's "taking nothing for granted" in the tight race to fill the seat Rep. Heck left open when he announced his retirement from politics late last year, which happened, of course, shortly before he announced his candidacy for Lt. Gov. Doglio has raised the most funds and attracted the most PAC money so far in this contest—which includes former State House Rep. Kristine Reeves, socialist trucker Joshua Collins, and former Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Marilyn Strickland—and her campaign hasn't taken a break yet. "We have more than three dozen volunteers calling voters all day today. I am incredibly thankful to have their support, and feel great that my home legislative district is leading the way with voter turnout," she said. She'll watch the returns in her backyard "with a small group of staff and her family," and likely do a Facebook livestream at some point this evening. She'll be tracking races in the 25th, the 28th, and the 35th most closely.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Pac, co-chaired by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, paid for this ad:
Liz Berry is feeling "nervous:" Berry, a former lobbyist who runs the trial lawyer’s association, faces a tough race against assistant attorney general Sarah Reyneveld and cheery pile of protein powder Jeffery Cohen for the open seat in Seattle's 36th LD, which covers the Ballard area. "I am proud of the campaign we ran. We've left nothing on the field - over 35,000 phone calls, 44,000+ texts, 5 pieces of mail," she said. "We've tried to connect with as many voters as possible given the very limited opportunity to meet people during these unprecedented times." She suspects "it might take a few days to get clarity on the results with ballot counting," but, nevertheless, she'll be watching the returns at home with her family. She'll be paying special attention to the other Seattle races—particularly in the 43rd and the 37th LDs, plus the Secretary of State contest.
While running for office as a first time candidate during a global pandemic is definitely a challenge, there are those moments that are extra-sweet. Voting with George was one of them. ❤️ Make sure to return those ballots today - August 4th is quickly approaching. pic.twitter.com/bVEcMjLP9g
— Liz Berry (@LizBerryWA) July 29, 2020
Speaking of the 43rd: Rep. Frank Chopp, the leviathan, the second-longest-serving House Speaker in the country, said he's feeling "hopeful that voters will see that I have the passion and the experience to deliver on key progressive advancements in the next two years." He points to "thousands of contacts using calls, texts, meetings and mailings describing my Public Priorities and Progressive Revenues plan to invest in people and avoid austerity budget cuts" as his reason for hope. He's defending his seat against Seattle LGBTQ Commissioner Jessi Murray and Stranger-endorsed consultant and community organizer Sherae Lascelles. Tonight he'll follow the results with his "campaign cabinet, remotely because of the pandemic." He added that Dems have an opportunity to expand majorities in the House and Senate this year, and so he'll be looking at "races in Pierce County and Island County, as well as in SW Washington, as great Democrats take on Trump supporting Republicans."
...end free transit passes for high school students, and reduce para-transit service for disabled riders.
We should be investing in bus service, which makes our city more affordable and accessible, not cutting it. (2/5)
— Rep. Frank Chopp (@ChoppRep) July 28, 2020
NOW, in news unrelated to tonight's elections...
Updates on Lebanon: As you probably saw this morning, Beirut was rocked by a massive explosion this morning that left at least dozens dead and thousands injured. Details are still vague, but here's CNN:
There were conflicting reports on what caused the explosion, which was initially blamed on a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port, according to Lebanese state news agency NNA. The director of the general security directorate later said the blast was caused by "high explosive materials confiscated years ago," but did not provide further details.
An investigation into the explosion was announced by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab. The probe will include "revelations that will be announced about this dangerous warehouse which has been present since 2014," he said, without providing any additional details.
The lethal blast "will not pass without accountability," he said in a televised statement, adding that "those responsible will pay for what happened."
The Guardian has a good live blog up on the incident: Lebanon officials have suggested this was an accident and not an attack, although President Trump has been pushing that it was an attack. "Well it would seem like it [was an attack], based on the explosion,” Trump said today, when asked by reporters if he thought it was an attack. He said US generals "seem to feel that it was." Feel, I assume, is the operative word here. People in Beirut have been advised to wear masks and stay indoors, as there have been “reports of toxic gases released in the explosion."
Many homes and apartments in Beirut have been destroyed, and residents are taking in those who have been left without homes:
Capitol Hill welcomes (?) a fourth pot shop, its second Uncle Ike's. Demonstrators recently broke windows and set a small fire inside the new shop, on E Olive Way nearby the street's other pot shop, The Reef. But now it's open, complete with a rainbow sign.
Washington state confirmed 664 new COVID-19 cases and 19 new deaths today.
Hand sanitizer update: Some hand sanitizers aren't effective against COVID, says the FDA. They've got a big list here.
Oh! This just in! Trump just makes shit up! Via Guardian: "Two US officials, speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, said it was unclear where Trump was receiving his information but that initial information did not appear to show that the explosion was an attack."