NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

House passes Secretary Hobbs’ election security bill, sending it to Governor Inslee

An elec­tion secu­ri­ty bill request­ed by Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs has com­plet­ed its jour­ney through the leg­isla­tive process and will now be pre­sent­ed to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee for his sig­na­ture fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful floor vote in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives this evening.

By a vote of 58 to 37, the House vot­ed to adopt Sen­ate Bill 5843, prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Joe Nguyen (D‑34th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict: Seat­tle, Vashon Island). The bill would improve elec­tions secu­ri­ty in the fol­low­ing ways, as assessed by the Leg­is­la­ture’s non­par­ti­san staff:

  • Requires every coun­ty to install and main­tain an intru­sion detec­tion sys­tem to mon­i­tor their net­work and to dis­close cer­tain mali­cious activ­i­ty or breach­es of secu­ri­ty of infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy systems.
  • Autho­rizes the Sec­re­tary of State to cer­ti­fy the results of an elec­tion if a coun­ty can­vass­ing board refus­es to cer­ti­fy the results of the elec­tion with­out cause.
  • Estab­lish­es vio­la­tions and penal­ties relat­ed to elec­tion inter­fer­ence, includ­ing pro­hib­it­ed inter­fer­ence by elec­tion observers, destruc­tion of vot­ed bal­lots and cer­tain elec­tion sup­plies and mate­ri­als, inter­fer­ence with the oper­a­tion of a vot­ing cen­ter, and unau­tho­rized access to elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion loca­tions and systems.

The need for the first pro­vi­sion men­tioned above was trig­gered by the refusal of sev­er­al coun­ties con­trolled by right wing coun­ty com­mis­sions to keep in place what are known as “Albert sen­sors” — essen­tial tools for detect­ing intru­sions in elec­tions sys­tems. Here’s some back­ground from The Spokesman-Review:

A week before Elec­tion Day, state elec­tions offi­cials say they haven’t been able to per­suade three Wash­ing­ton coun­ties to install a secu­ri­ty device that mon­i­tors coun­ty net­work traf­fic for threats.

Almost every coun­ty in the Ever­green State uses an inter­net secu­ri­ty sys­tem called an Albert sen­sor, an arti­fi­cial­ly intel­li­gent tool that mon­i­tors net­work traf­fic for sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty. Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Office of the Sec­re­tary of State, 36 out of 39 coun­ties had an oper­at­ing Albert sen­sor installed as of Tues­day. Grant, Fer­ry and Lin­coln coun­ties do not, the agency reported.

Under state law, coun­ties have legal author­i­ty to make deci­sions about their own inter­net secu­ri­ty. That job most often falls into the hands of coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers. State Sec­re­tary Steve Hobbs has repeat­ed­ly expressed con­cern about the coun­ties he says have ignored state and fed­er­al advice to install Albert sensors.

Hobbs told The Spokesman-Review in an inter­view that con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and dis­in­for­ma­tion began to cir­cu­late around the state about the secu­ri­ty devices in 2021. Albert sen­sors are the Home­land Secu­ri­ty stan­dard, the sec­re­tary added.

“Most states have Albert sen­sors,” Hobbs said. “The Sec­re­tary of State’s Office prefers the Albert sen­sor to alter­nate security.”

Hobbs told the Spokesman­’s Ellen Den­nis that he was pre­pared to intro­duce leg­is­la­tion to require Grant, Fer­ry, and Lin­coln coun­ties to comply:

“It’s get­ting to the point now where I might have to intro­duce leg­is­la­tion for min­i­mum stan­dards of secu­ri­ty,” Hobbs said. “… I know it’s polit­i­cal expe­di­en­cy on their part to be able to say, ‘We’ve got some­thing, and it’s not the Albert sen­sor.’ Because right now mis­in­for­ma­tion is direct­ed at the Albert sensor.”

True to his word, Hobbs fol­lowed up and worked with Sen­a­tor Nguyen to intro­duce SB 5843, which was cospon­sored by Repub­li­can Matt Boehnke.

Impor­tant­ly, the bill now explic­it­ly makes it a felony to “pro­vide unau­tho­rized access to a per­son or enti­ty to phys­i­cal loca­tions or elec­tron­ic or phys­i­cal access to elec­tion soft­ware or hard­ware used in any ele­ment of con­duct of an elec­tion.” Giv­en the behav­ior we saw in the wake of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion from elec­tion deniers and their enablers around the coun­try, this is a wel­come safe­guard, and it will take effect in time for this year’s pres­i­den­tial election.

The roll call in the House was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5843
Elec­tion secu­ri­ty breaches
3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Yeas: 58; Nays: 37; Excused: 3

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alvara­do, Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chap­man, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Don­aghy, Duerr, Enten­man, Fari­var, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Mor­gan, Nance, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, San­tos, Senn, Shavers, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Cham­bers, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cou­ture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Kretz, Low, May­cum­ber, McClin­tock, McEn­tire, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Robert­son, Rude, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Steele, Stokes­bary, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Chan­dler, Cor­ry, Volz

Repub­li­cans stuck togeth­er in oppo­si­tion to bill, result­ing in its pas­sage along par­ty lines (three Repub­li­cans missed the vote). In the Sen­ate, the bill received a mere three nay votes, as you can see from the Feb­ru­ary 2nd roll call:

Roll Call
SB 5843
Elec­tion secu­ri­ty breaches
3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Yeas: 46; Nays: 3

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Boehnke, Braun, Cleve­land, Con­way, Dhin­gra, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Frame, Gildon, Hansen, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Holy, Hunt, Kauff­man, Keis­er, King, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, MacEwen, McCune, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Nguyen, Nobles, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Rivers, Robin­son, Sal­daña, Salomon, Shew­make, Stan­ford, Tor­res, Trudeau, Valdez, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Well­man, Wil­son, C., Wil­son, J., Wil­son, L.

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Pad­den, Schoesler, Short

House Repub­li­cans made sev­er­al efforts to amend the bill, which were rejected.

One amend­ment would have pro­vid­ed that intru­sion detec­tion sys­tem providers
could be held liable for any mali­cious activ­i­ty direct­ly attrib­ut­able to the intru­sion detec­tion sys­tem. Anoth­er would have bizarrely required that an intru­sion detec­tion sys­tem not oper­ate behind the fire­wall of a coun­ty auditor.

Thank­ful­ly, the var­i­ous schemes to weak­en the bill went nowhere. Now we’re on the verge of hav­ing some impor­tant new safe­guards added to our state elec­tions code at a crit­i­cal junc­ture. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs, Sen­a­tor Nguyen, and all who worked on this time­ly legislation.

Monday, February 26th, 2024

Ways & Means declines to take up NPI’s even year elections bill, ending its 2024 run

The Ways & Means Com­mit­tee of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate today chose not to con­sid­er NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to give cities and towns the free­dom to choose their own elec­tion tim­ing dur­ing its final meet­ing before this evening’s oppo­site cham­ber fis­cal cut­off, end­ing its remark­able run in the 2024 leg­isla­tive session.

House Bill 1932, prime spon­sored by State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mia Gregerson (D‑33rd Dis­trict: South King Coun­ty) became the first even year elec­tions bill in mod­ern times to get a floor vote ear­li­er this month when it passed out of the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on a bipar­ti­san vote. The bill would have allowed cities and towns that are cur­rent­ly forced by state law to hold their reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled elec­tions in low turnout odd years to switch to high­er turnout even years.

The Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee kept the bill alive last week by amend­ing it and giv­ing it a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion, but in a behind-the-scenes pow­er move, it was shipped over to the bud­get-writ­ing Ways & Means Com­mit­tee instead of being sent up to Rules, despite being a pol­i­cy bill that had an “inde­ter­mi­na­tive” fis­cal impact as assessed by OFM staff.

(OFM is the Office of Finan­cial Man­age­ment. It is an exec­u­tive branch agency, and one of its duties is to ana­lyze the poten­tial cost of pro­posed legislation.)

At a hear­ing last Fri­day, cur­rent and for­mer elec­tions admin­is­tra­tors argued the bill would be cost­ly, desta­bi­liz­ing, and infea­si­ble to imple­ment, even though evi­dence and expe­ri­ence from around the coun­try demon­strate that it is a proven reform that can increase and diver­si­fy turnout while also sav­ing tax dollars.

Tes­ti­fy­ing in oppo­si­tion were Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs, for­mer Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed, and audi­tors Mar­i­anne Nichols of Pend Oreille Coun­ty and Vicky Dal­ton of Spokane County.

“We ask you as pol­i­cy­mak­ers to pri­or­i­tize what is best for the health of our democ­ra­cy,” I respond­ed in my pre­pared tes­ti­mo­ny. “In this case, that is clear: Adopt the only avail­able elec­toral reform that can as much as dou­ble turnout in local elec­tions while also diver­si­fy­ing it. Elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion should serve elec­toral jus­tice; elec­toral jus­tice should not be sub­servient to elec­tion administration.”

Shore­line City Coun­cilmem­ber Chis Roberts and Shan­non Grimes from Sight­line Insti­tute joined me in mak­ing the case for the bill.

Shan­non fol­lowed up this morn­ing with a pol­i­cy note exam­in­ing the objec­tions to House Bill 1932 and review­ing the schol­ar­ly research on the sub­ject. That post is a must-read, and we encour­age all Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers to check it out.

We’re dis­ap­point­ed that HB 1932’s jour­ney has come to an end, but we’re very proud of how far it got through the leg­isla­tive process in the face of fierce (and mis­guid­ed) oppo­si­tion from Wash­ing­ton’s elec­tion administrators.

It is not unusu­al for a bill fac­ing more than token oppo­si­tion to require a mul­ti-year effort to pass. That has been true for many bills that we have worked on. For exam­ple, we ini­tial­ly ran our leg­is­la­tion to get Tim Eyman’s push polls repealed in 2019. But it did­n’t reach Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk until last year — 2023.

In the span of a lit­tle over a year, our team and NPI’s allies took this bill from the draw­ing board to more than halfway through the state­house. Plen­ty of good bills nev­er get even beyond a hear­ing in their first or sec­ond ses­sions. Since Jan­u­ary of 2023, we’ve got­ten three con­sec­u­tive “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tions for this leg­is­la­tion (includ­ing for its sib­ling, SB 5732) from pol­i­cy com­mit­tees in the House and Sen­ate, plus this ses­sion’s floor vote in the House that I men­tioned earlier.

I am con­fi­dent that we’ll be back in the 2025 long ses­sion with an even bet­ter bill for law­mak­ers to con­sid­er. This is an idea that vot­ers love and sup­port — an idea with unmatched poten­tial for mak­ing Wash­ing­ton’s elec­tions more inclusive.

On behalf of our team, NPI’s Kathy Saka­hara and I would like to thank every­one who helped cham­pi­on House Bill 1932 this ses­sion, especially:

  • State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mia Gregerson, Darya Fari­var, Bill Ramos, Sharlett Mena, Chris Stearns, and Joe Fitzgibbon
  • State Sen­a­tors Javier Valdez, Pat­ty Kud­er­er, Bob Hasegawa, and Sam Hunt
  • Alan Durn­ing and Shan­non Grimes at Sight­line Institute
  • Jazmine Smith and the Wash­ing­ton Bus
  • Cindy Black and Fix Democ­ra­cy First
  • Abi­gail Leong and Fuse Washington
  • Alex Alston, Caron Cargill, and the Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Jus­tice Coaltiion
  • Joseph Lach­man and ACRS
  • Kamau Chege and Lau­ren Allen with the Wash­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ty Alliance
  • Kenia Pere­gri­no and Wash­ing­ton For Equi­table Representation
  • Shasti Con­rad and the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party
  • Pro­fes­sors Zoltan Haj­nal and G. Agustin Markarian
  • Can­dice Bock and the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Cities
  • Shore­line City Coun­cilmem­ber Chris Roberts
  • Port Ange­les City Coun­cilmem­ber Lind­sey Schromen-Wawrin
  • Our good friend Ron Davis

At NPI, we believe in enjoy­ing the jour­ney. We thor­ough­ly enjoyed cham­pi­oning House Bill 1932 this year with so many won­der­ful and sup­port­ive allies and will trea­sure all the hap­py mem­o­ries that our work togeth­er cre­at­ed. In the com­ing months, we’ll have more to share about our plans for the 2025 session.

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Donald Trump projected to defeat Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina

Neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump’s march towards a third con­sec­u­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion con­tin­ued tonight with an easy win in South Car­oli­na’s 2024 GOP pri­ma­ry, where he cruised past Nik­ki Haley in her home state.

Net­works called the pri­ma­ry for Trump almost as soon as polls had closed.

“That is real­ly some­thing,” Trump bragged to a gath­er­ing of his fol­low­ers in Colum­bia. “This was a lit­tle soon­er than we anticipated.”

Haley, mean­while, refused to throw in the towel.

“I’m a woman of my word. I’m not giv­ing up this fight when a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans dis­ap­prove of both Trump and Biden,” she said.

“In the next ten days, twen­ty-one states and ter­ri­to­ries will speak. They have the right to a real choice, not a Sovi­et-style elec­tion with only one candidate.”

“And I have a duty to give them that choice.”

With 23.91% report­ing, Trump had 60.15% of the vote statewide (269,541 votes) and Haley had 39.21% (175,729 votes). Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis, who bowed out after fail­ing to do well in Iowa, drew 1,611 votes, and four oth­er now-with­drawn can­di­dates each had a few hun­dred votes apiece.

Haley is best­ing Trump in three areas with­in South Carolina:

  • Charleston Coun­ty, where she has 61.89% of the vote
  • Beau­fort Coun­ty, where she has 56.29% of the vote
  • Rich­land Coun­ty, where she has 58.97% of the vote

Beau­fort Coun­ty is “one of the South’s fastest-grow­ing coun­ties, pri­mar­i­ly because of devel­op­ment south of the Broad Riv­er clus­tered along the U.S. High­way 278 cor­ri­dor,” its Wikipedia entry notes. “The coun­ty’s north­ern por­tions have also grown steadi­ly, due in part to the strong fed­er­al mil­i­tary pres­ence around the city of Beau­fort.” Beau­fort Coun­ty also encom­pass­es Hilton Head Island.

Rich­land Coun­ty is home to the state cap­i­tal, Colum­bia. It is locat­ed in the geo­graph­ic cen­ter of the state and has a pop­u­la­tion of 416,147.

Charleston Coun­ty, as its name sug­gests, is home to the state’s largest city, Charleston. Locat­ed on the coast, it has a pop­u­la­tion of 408,235.

Because South Car­oli­na is a “win­ner take all” state for the Repub­li­cans, Trump will get all of the del­e­gates despite not win­ning any­where close to all of the vote. South Car­oli­na has fifty Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion del­e­gates: 10 base at-large / 21 re: 7 con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts / 3 par­ty / 16 bonus.

This isn’t the first time Trump has pre­vailed in a con­test­ed Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry in South Car­oli­na. In 2016, Trump best­ed Mar­co Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Ben Car­son, earn­ing a plu­ral­i­ty of 32.51% of the vote. Though over two-third of the Repub­li­can vot­ers who turned out in that 2016 pri­ma­ry chose anoth­er can­di­date, Trump nev­er­the­less walked away with all fifty del­e­gates then too, because of the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s “win­ner take all” rules.

Last year, Repub­li­cans like Chris Sununu argued that if the Repub­li­can field could be nar­rowed, Trump’s path to the nom­i­na­tion could be thwarted.

“Pro­vid­ed the field shrinks by Iowa and New Hamp­shire, Mr. Trump los­es,” Sununu mem­o­rably declared August 21st, 2023 essay for The New York Times (If Repub­li­cans Nar­row the Field, We Will Beat Trump). “He will always have his die-hard base, but the major­i­ty is up for grabs. Can­di­dates who seize on the oppor­tu­ni­ty and present a clear con­trast to the for­mer pres­i­dent will earn the votes.”

The field did shrink by Iowa and New Hamp­shire. Chris Christie, Doug Bur­gum, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Lar­ry Elder, Per­ry John­son, Will Hurd, and Fran­cis Suarez all bowed out before Iowa held its cau­cus­es. By the time the New Hamp­shire pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry was held, Nik­ki Haley was the only remain­ing Trump rival.

It did­n’t mat­ter. Trump has won every con­test thus far, prov­ing Sununu wrong.

Haley has the resources to keep going, however.

She “has ben­e­fit­ed from a self-replen­ish­ing assem­bly line of rich anti-Trump donors who are hap­py to con­tin­ue financ­ing what some pri­vate­ly con­cede is a futile effort,” a trio of New York Times polit­i­cal reporters observed a few days ago. They gave Repub­li­can strate­gist Kevin Mad­den the final quote in their arti­cle: “Can­di­dates don’t run out of rea­sons to run… They run out of resources.”

While Trump and Haley spoke in South Car­oli­na, Pres­i­dent Biden was in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., host­ing the nation’s gov­er­nors at a black-tie dinner.

“We have a lot to do. The thing that makes me feel good about hav­ing the gov­er­nors here is we have a tra­di­tion of doing things togeth­er,” Biden said.

“We fight like hell, we make sure that we get our points across. At the end of the day, we know who we work for. The objec­tive is to get things done.”

“Pol­i­tics have got­ten too bit­ter,” Biden added, per­haps allud­ing to the tox­i­c­i­ty Don­ald Trump pro­motes. “Pol­i­tics has got­ten too per­son­al. It’s just not like it was.” Biden not­ed that he served at times when the par­ties had stark differences.

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Trainspotting with NPI: Watch pre-revenue service light rail trains glide through Bellevue

Last week, Sound Tran­sit revealed that ser­vice between eight sta­tions mak­ing up the major­i­ty of the East Link / Line 2 exten­sion would open to the pub­lic on April 27th. To cel­e­brate that announce­ment, we’ve got anoth­er install­ment of Trainspot­ting with NPI for you. Our last install­ment showed trains in action in the City of Red­mond. This install­ment, on the oth­er hand, has a Bellevue-theme.

With a pop­u­la­tion of 151,854, Belle­vue (French for beau­ti­ful view) is King Coun­ty’s sec­ond-largest city. It is locat­ed almost direct­ly across Lake Wash­ing­ton from Seat­tle’s down­town core and adjoin­ing neigh­bor­hoods. PACCAR, T‑Mobile, and Valve call Belle­vue home, and major tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies like Microsoft and Ama­zon also have a pres­ence there. Sound Tran­sit cur­rent­ly serves Belle­vue only with ST Express bus ser­vice, but that will change when Line 2 opens!

Let’s get to the pic­tures and clips. Note that none of the videos have any sound.

I: Follow a train as it rolls into Wilburton Station

In this clip, you can get a bird’s eye view of a train rolling east­bound into Wilbur­ton from Belle­vue Down­town on ele­vat­ed tracks. You’ll see the train cross over sev­er­al pri­vate park­ing lots and 116th Avenue.

II: A train at Wilburton Station

Now for a pho­to. Here you can see a train mak­ing a sim­u­lat­ed stop at Wilbur­ton Sta­tion. This is the sta­tion clos­est to Over­lake and KP’s main Belle­vue campus.

A light rail train at Wilburton Station

A light rail train paus­es at Belle­vue’s Wilbur­ton Sta­tion dur­ing pre-rev­enue test­ing for East Link / Line 2 ser­vice (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

III: A train leaves South Bellevue Station and heads into the trench paralleling Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue SE

In this clip, you can see a train leav­ing the South Belle­vue Sta­tion and head­ing towards down­town Belle­vue through a trench adja­cent to the Mer­cer Slough. The his­toric Win­ters House is vis­i­ble on the east side of the trench.

IV: A train at South Bellevue Station

South Belle­vue is one of just a few 2 Line Sta­tions with a big park­ing garage. It is locat­ed near the con­flu­ence of Inter­state 90 and Inter­state 405.

A light rail train at the South Bellevue Station

An East Link / 2 Line train at the South Belle­vue Sta­tion, which will be the west­ern ter­mi­nus of the 2 Line until the Mer­cer Island and Jud­kins Park Sta­tions open (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

On April 27th, the fol­low­ing Red­mond to Belle­vue sta­tions will open to riders:

  • Red­mond Technology
  • Over­lake Village
  • Bel-Red
  • Spring Dis­trict
  • Wilbur­ton
  • Belle­vue Downtown
  • East Main
  • South Belle­vue

The lat­ter six are the Belle­vue stations.

The Belle­vue to Seat­tle seg­ment (which includes Mer­cer Island) will not open this year, because con­trac­tors need more time to fix defec­tive con­struc­tion on the Homer M. Hadley Memo­r­i­al Bridge. Even­tu­al­ly, though, the Mer­cer Island and Jud­kins Park Sta­tions will open too, and Link will start car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers across Lake Wash­ing­ton. Sound Tran­sit has an oper­a­tions and main­te­nance facil­i­ty (train yard) in Belle­vue, so it can pro­vide ser­vice on the rest of the line in the meantime.

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

VICTORY! Washington State Senate sends bill ending child marriage to Governor Inslee

A North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute pri­or­i­ty bill that would advance human rights in Wash­ing­ton State by end­ing the prac­tice of allow­ing child mar­riages is on its way to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee. Forty-eight out of forty-nine sen­a­tors vot­ed yea this after­noon to pass House Bill 1455, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mon­i­ca Stonier (D‑49th Dis­trict: Clark Coun­ty) and cham­pi­oned by Sen­a­tor Derek Stan­ford (D‑1st Dis­trict: King and Sno­homish Coun­ties) in the Senate.

The vote con­cludes the bil­l’s jour­ney through the leg­isla­tive process. Intro­duced on Jan­u­ary 19th, 2023 by Stonier, HB 1455 passed the House unan­i­mous­ly in 2023 before run­ning into a leg­isla­tive log­jam in the Sen­ate Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee. Thank­ful­ly, the House revived the bill and again sent it back to the Sen­ate unan­i­mous­ly on the first day of the cur­rent short ses­sion. This time, it got a speedy hear­ing from Chair Man­ka Dhin­gra (D‑45th Dis­trict: Red­mond, Kirk­land, Sam­mamish, Duvall), a North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion boardmember.

The rank­ing Repub­li­can on the Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee, Sen­a­tor Mike Pad­den, attempt­ed to weak­en the bill with an amend­ment allow­ing sev­en­teen year-olds to mar­ry under lim­it­ed cir­cum­stances, but this was reject­ed by voice vote. No sen­a­tor spoke against the bill on the floor, but one Repub­li­can did vote nay — Jeff Holy. Pad­den and all oth­er Repub­li­cans joined Democ­rats in vot­ing yea.

Here’s the Sen­ate roll call on HB 1455:

Roll Call
HB 1455
Child mar­riage
3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Yeas: 48; Nays: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Boehnke, Braun, Cleve­land, Con­way, Dhin­gra, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Frame, Gildon, Hansen, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hunt, Kauff­man, Keis­er, King, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, MacEwen, McCune, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Nguyen, Nobles, Pad­den, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Rivers, Robin­son, Sal­daña, Salomon, Schoesler, Shew­make, Short, Stan­ford, Tor­res, Trudeau, Valdez, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Well­man, Wil­son, C., Wil­son, J., Wil­son, L.

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tor Holy

With his nay vote, Sen­a­tor Holy gained the dis­tinc­tion of becom­ing the one and only leg­is­la­tor to oppose the enact­ment of this human rights breakthrough.

Holy rep­re­sents the 6th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, which encom­pass­es Med­ical Lake, Air­way Heights, Fairchild Air Force Base, and parts of the City of Spokane. Accord­ing to the biog­ra­phy on his cam­paign web­site, he is Catholic:

Jeff grad­u­at­ed from Catholic grade school, attend­ed Catholic Sem­i­nary as a high school fresh­man, con­tin­ued Catholic High School as a sopho­more, and grad­u­at­ed from Issaquah High School.

While in high school, Jeff start­ed his Repub­li­can involve­ment by door­belling for then first-time WA State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives can­di­date, Kent Pullen. Once out of high school, Jeff dis­cov­ered the val­ue of man­u­al labor, while work­ing in a foundry, at a lum­ber treat­ment plant and by dri­ving a combine.

In 1975, Jeff enlist­ed in the U.S. Army where he spent three years with the 9th Infantry Divi­sion and trained as a Scout. Once his enlist­ment was over, Jeff attend­ed Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty where he grad­u­at­ed with a B.S. in Psy­chol­o­gy. While at WSU, Jeff met his wife Cindy. Plans for a future togeth­er includ­ed apply­ing to Gon­za­ga Law School. Then, as even now, the expense of Law School cre­at­ed an uneasy moment. Locat­ing a job that had shift work and paid well enough to afford Law School was a chal­lenge. Find­ing that the Spokane Police Depart­ment would allow Jeff to work grave­yard shift while com­plet­ing law school, seemed to be a per­fect fit. Jeff and Cindy cel­e­brat­ed their wed­ding on a Sat­ur­day, and the fol­low­ing Mon­day morn­ing Jeff start­ed Law School.

In Wash­ing­ton State, most Catholic church­es oper­ate under the juris­dic­tion of the Arch­dio­cese of Seat­tle, which states explic­it­ly in its poli­cies on mat­ri­mo­ny (adopt­ed in 2007) that parish priests are to dis­cour­age child marriage: 

IX. Age of Marriage

Pas­tors are to urge young cou­ples not to mar­ry before the age of 18 (see CIC, c. 1072). A priest or dea­con may have seri­ous doubts about the young couple’s readi­ness for mar­riage due to their age and matu­ri­ty. In such cas­es, the sacra­ment may be delayed (see CIC, c. 1077 §1).

The poli­cies also state that “local civ­il state stat­ues regard­ing the age of
mar­riage are to be fol­lowed.” As of this spring, that will include the statute that House Bill 1455 is amend­ing, despite Sen­a­tor Holy’s no vote.

On Catholi­cAn­swers, Fr. Hugh Bar­bour, O.Praem., writes:

The age for legit­i­mate mar­riage depends on the cul­ture. Nowa­days it is eigh­teen at the ear­li­est, but there are still states where it is pos­si­ble to mar­ry younger. Cur­rent Church law is more strict than civ­il or com­mon law, although until recent­ly it was not. The key here is pru­dence and con­cern for the suc­cess of the union in the matu­ri­ty of the cou­ple. Even today there are some cul­tures in which ear­ly mar­riage is pos­si­ble because of the rel­a­tive matu­ri­ty and expec­ta­tions of the par­ties, but sure­ly in ours that is not the case.

Empha­sis is mine. Noth­ing in the bill con­flicts with the teach­ing of Sen­a­tor Holy’s faith. To the con­trary, the bill is whol­ly con­sis­tent with the guid­ance the Church has been giv­ing to parish priests for decades.

Sen­a­tor Holy did not speak dur­ing floor debate, but he did talk to Grace Deng from The Wash­ing­ton State Stan­dard about his vote. Here’s what he said:

Holy told the Stan­dard that he had friends in high school who mar­ried at approx­i­mate­ly the same age due to preg­nan­cies and had “suc­cess­ful marriages.”

“Most of what you heard out here was hyper­bole or talk­ing points,” Holy said, refer­ring to law­mak­ers speak­ing about the sto­ries of child mar­riage survivors.

Holy also said he doesn’t want to “force” preg­nant peo­ple to either “have an ille­git­i­mate child or have an abor­tion,” and that as a for­mer law enforce­ment offi­cer who worked in the sex crimes unit, he trusts the jus­tice sys­tem to make deci­sions on whether chil­dren who mar­ry are act­ing of their own free will.

To assert that the case for the bill rests on “hyber­bole” is both false and insult­ing to forced mar­riage sur­vivors. Also, chil­dren born out of wed­lock are not “ille­git­i­mate.” Holy is fright­en­ing­ly out of touch: our polling has found that 80% of like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers sup­port this leg­is­la­tion.

Our team at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute is grate­ful to the one hun­dred and forty-six oth­er Wash­ing­ton State leg­is­la­tors who vot­ed yea and got HB 1455 out of the Leg­is­la­ture and over to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk.

We’re also thank­ful for the sur­vivors who came and brave­ly told their sto­ries to law­mak­ers and all of our allies that lob­bied enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly for this bill.

We have espe­cial­ly enjoyed work­ing with Unchained At Last and Zon­ta to get this done. We were hon­ored to be able to pro­vide cov­er­age of the “chain-in” that Unchained At Last orga­nized last month in Olympia. If you haven’t read the sur­vivors’ sto­ries that we fea­tured in our cov­er­age, we urge you to do so now.

Once Gov­er­nor Inslee signs HB 1455, the clock will start tick­ing on its enact­ment. It will go into effect in June, nine­ty days after ses­sion adjourn­ment, and from that day for­ward, Wash­ing­ton will require that both par­ties wish­ing to mar­ry be at least eigh­teen years of age. The days of child mar­riage in Wash­ing­ton will be over.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

A majority of Washington voters want Democrats to keep control of the Washington State Legislature in 2025, NPI poll finds

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty appears nice­ly posi­tioned to main­tain its leg­isla­tive majori­ties in the Wash­ing­ton State House and Sen­ate in the com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, with a major­i­ty of like­ly vot­ers say­ing they’d pre­fer con­tin­ued Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance to a Repub­li­can takeover next January.

51% of 789 like­ly 2024 vot­ers sur­veyed ear­li­er this month (Feb­ru­ary 13th-14th) by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute said they’d pre­fer Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties after the next elec­tion, while 41% said they’d pre­fer Repub­li­can majori­ties. Anoth­er 8% said they were not sure.

It’s the lat­est indi­ca­tion that Repub­li­cans are utter­ly fail­ing to make inroads with Wash­ing­ton vot­ers, despite their fer­vent attempts to exploit the hous­ing cri­sis, the fen­tanyl and sub­stance abuse cri­sis, and the ris­ing cost of living.

If you fol­low the House and Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus accounts on social media, you’ve prob­a­bly noticed they reg­u­lar­ly crit­i­cize Demo­c­ra­t­ic poli­cies — pro­posed or adopt­ed — with hash­tags like “Unwise­WA” or “Unaf­ford­able­WA” or “Unsafe­WA.” Unfor­tu­nate­ly for them, their memes and nar­ra­tives aren’t mov­ing the nee­dle. Wash­ing­ton vot­ers seem most­ly sat­is­fied with Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship and want to con­tin­ue along the path the state has been on for anoth­er two years.

This is the sec­ond straight cycle in which we’ve asked Wash­ing­ton vot­ers which par­ty they’d like to see in charge of the Leg­is­la­ture after the next election.

In 2022, we asked this ques­tion three times and con­sis­tent­ly found a lead for Democ­rats. Repub­li­cans ignored or dis­missed our research, but when the midterm elec­tions were cer­ti­fied, our data was vindicated.

Repub­li­cans sud­den­ly found them­selves with few­er seats than before, with their much-hyped “red wave” hav­ing total­ly failed to mate­ri­al­ize. They’re under no oblig­a­tion to take these results seri­ous­ly, but if they think we can’t be right, then they’re set­ting them­selves up for anoth­er Elec­tion Night shock this November.

Here’s the exact ques­tion we asked and the respons­es we received:

QUESTION: Which par­ty would you pre­fer have major­i­ty con­trol over the Wash­ing­ton State House and the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate in Olympia after the next elec­tion: the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty or the Repub­li­can Party?


  • Would pre­fer Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties in the State House and Sen­ate after the next elec­tion: 51%
  • Would pre­fer Repub­li­can majori­ties: 41%
  • Not sure: 8%

Our sur­vey of 789 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 13th through Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 14th, 2024.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (42%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (58%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.5% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

Detailed comparison to our 2022 findings

In the 2021–2022 bien­ni­um, Democ­rats con­trolled 57 House seats and 28 Sen­ate seats. In the 2022 midterms, they gained one House seat and one Sen­ate seat, respec­tive­ly, increas­ing their majori­ties to 58 and 29, with Clyde Shavers’ win in the 10th Dis­trict and Sharon Shew­make’s vic­to­ry in the 42nd District.

Our pre­elec­tion polling at this junc­ture two years ago found only a five point lead for Democ­rats. They weren’t above the fifty per­cent mark, but they did have a lead in our leg­isla­tive con­trol question:

Feb­ru­ary 2022 Responses

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty: 49%
  • Repub­li­can Par­ty: 44%
  • Not sure: 7%

Poll of 700 like­ly Novem­ber 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers, con­duct­ed Feb­ru­ary 17th-18th, 2022

By June, Democ­rats had expand­ed their lead to nine points:

June 2022 Responses

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty: 51%
  • Repub­li­can Par­ty: 42%
  • Not sure: 7%

Poll of 1,039 like­ly Novem­ber 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers, con­duct­ed June 1st-2nd, 2022

By Octo­ber, the mar­gin shrunk back to around where it had been in February:

Octo­ber 2022 Responses

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty: 49%
  • Repub­li­can Par­ty: 43%
  • Not sure: 8%

Poll of 782 like­ly Novem­ber 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers, con­duct­ed Octo­ber 19th-20th, 2022

Again, as men­tioned, Democ­rats went on to do extreme­ly well in leg­isla­tive races in 2022. They held seats that were open (such as in the 47th Dis­trict), reelect­ed their incum­bents, and reduced Repub­li­cans’ num­bers by one in each cham­ber in a year when Repub­li­cans had hoped to flip con­trol of both cham­bers, hav­ing enjoyed an aver­age lead of just six to sev­en points in our polling.

Here, Democ­rats have a ten point lead in our gener­ic leg­isla­tive ques­tion. They have entered dou­ble-dig­it ter­ri­to­ry for the first time.

Repub­li­cans should be very, very, very wor­ried. It’s pos­si­ble they’ll lose even more seats this year, bring­ing Democ­rats clos­er to hav­ing super­ma­jor­i­ty control.

We don’t know what will hap­pen, of course. Mas­ter Yoda put it well in Star Wars Episode II: Impos­si­ble to see, the future is. But the avail­able evi­dence is not encour­ag­ing for the Par­ty of Trump. They’re in a hole and mak­ing it deeper.

The twin cud­gels that Repub­li­cans say Democ­rats used so effec­tive­ly against them in 2022 — Trump and abor­tion — have arguably only got­ten more potent since.

Pre­tend­ing the Dobbs deci­sion isn’t hurt­ing peo­ple and ignor­ing Trump’s fas­cist rhetoric and attacks on democ­ra­cy is not going to help Repub­li­cans improve their odds this year. Rather than get­ting them­selves back on the road to becom­ing a nor­mal or semi-nor­mal polit­i­cal par­ty again, they’ve become even more cult-like. Vot­ers have noticed, and our polling strong­ly sug­gests they’d like to keep Democ­rats at the helm instead of giv­ing Repub­li­cans a chance to govern.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Voting in Washington’s 2024 presidential primary: Your questions answered

This week, elec­tions offi­cials in Wash­ing­ton’s thir­ty-nine coun­ties will mail out bal­lots for the 2024 Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­maries. Vot­ers who would like to par­tic­i­pate in the nom­i­nat­ing process for either par­ty must cast their bal­lot and return it no lat­er than March 12th, 2024, the vot­ing deadline.

The pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry is a spe­cial event in state pol­i­tics that only takes place once every four years. Because it’s the sub­ject of qua­dren­ni­al con­fu­sion, we’ve pre­pared a Q&A to help to demys­ti­fy it. We hope this infor­ma­tion is help­ful to reg­u­lar and new read­ers alike. If you have a ques­tion the dis­cus­sion below does­n’t answer, please feel free to leave a com­ment and we’ll respond.

Q&A: The 2024 Washington State presidential primary

Q: What is the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry? Why do we have it?

A: The pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry is a way for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans to express a pref­er­ence for a can­di­date seek­ing the nom­i­na­tion of one the nation’s two major polit­i­cal par­ties. Although the state clas­si­fies it as a “spe­cial cir­cum­stances elec­tion,” it is actu­al­ly not an elec­tion at all, but rather a nom­i­nat­ing event.

When you vote in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, you are express­ing a pref­er­ence as to which can­di­date you want Wash­ing­ton’s share of nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates allo­cat­ed to at either the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion or the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. We have the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry because cast­ing a bal­lot through the state’s elec­tions infra­struc­ture is the eas­i­est way for lots of peo­ple to express a pref­er­ence. Both par­ties have pledged to use the results of this year’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry to allo­cate their del­e­gates, so the results will be binding.

Q: Does this year’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry real­ly matter? 

A: Since the results are bind­ing, as men­tioned in the pri­or answer, it does mat­ter, although at this junc­ture, nei­ther par­ty’s nom­i­na­tion looks par­tic­u­lar­ly con­test­ed. Joe Biden has no strong oppo­si­tion for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion and Don­ald Trump has just a sin­gle rival left — Nik­ki Haley — who has­n’t per­formed very well in ear­ly states. Biden and Trump seem like­ly to win Wash­ing­ton’s primary.

Q: What will the bal­lot look like? Who will be on it?

A: The bal­lot will have two columns: a Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­umn, with a blue head­ing, and a Repub­li­can col­umn, with a red heading.

The fol­low­ing choic­es will appear on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side:

  • Joseph R Biden Jr
  • Dean Phillips
  • Mar­i­anne Williamson
  • Uncom­mit­ted Delegates
  • ___________________

The fol­low­ing choic­es will appear on the Repub­li­can side:

  • Chris Christie
  • Ron DeSan­tis
  • Nik­ki Haley
  • Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Don­ald J. Trump
  • ___________________

The final choice is a line where you can write in a candidate.

To vote, sim­ply fill in the oval for one of the choic­es and then place the bal­lot in the secu­ri­ty enve­lope. Place the secu­ri­ty enve­lope into the return enve­lope, sign it, date it, and mark the box indi­cat­ing that you under­stand you are affil­i­at­ing with the par­ty whose nom­i­nat­ing process you wish to par­tic­i­pate in, then return your bal­lot to a drop box or post office. (To ensure deliv­ery, NPI rec­om­mends against putting your bal­lot in a mail recep­ta­cle that isn’t at a post office.)

Q: Who decid­ed which names would appear on the ballot?

A: The major polit­i­cal par­ties did. Each par­ty has a process that spells out what a can­di­date must do to qual­i­fy for its col­umn on the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot.  State law gives them the par­ties this respon­si­bil­i­ty, rec­og­niz­ing that it is their First Amend­ment right to deter­mine who their can­di­dates should be. The Sec­re­tary of State sim­ply uti­lizes the list of names that the par­ties provide.

Q: Why is there an option called “Uncom­mit­ted Del­e­gates” on only one side of the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry ballot?

A: Under the rules of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, “uncom­mit­ted” is a legit­i­mate pres­i­den­tial pref­er­ence. This is the option you should fill out if you are not sure or unde­cid­ed, but you want to par­tic­i­pate in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s process. It’s sort of like the “not sure” option in a pub­lic opin­ion research sur­vey, but in this con­text, it could count for some­thing. If enough Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers feel sim­i­lar­ly, there will be uncom­mit­ted del­e­gates at the 2024 DNC from Wash­ing­ton State.

Q: It looks like the bal­lot con­tains names of can­di­dates who have dropped out. Why weren’t those can­di­dates’ names removed?

A: That’s cor­rect. As of press time, Mar­i­anne Williamson, Chris Christie, Ron DeSan­tis, and Vivek Ramaswamy had sus­pend­ed their pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns. But you can still vote for them because they sub­mit­ted the req­ui­site paper­work, sig­na­tures, and fees to qual­i­fy for Wash­ing­ton’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry. State law does not allow sub­mit­ted names to be removed once they are submitted.

While you can vote for a can­di­date who is no longer run­ning an active cam­paign, can­di­dates who have dropped out often don’t attract enough sup­port from oth­er vot­ers to earn any nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, for instance, has a min­i­mum via­bil­i­ty thresh­old of 15%. If a can­di­date can­not meet that with­in a giv­en state, they won’t get any of that state’s delegates.

Q: Why am I only allowed to vote for one can­di­date from one party?

A: The major polit­i­cal par­ties’ rules require that vot­ers not par­tic­i­pate in anoth­er par­ty’s nom­i­nat­ing process. Fur­ther­more, nei­ther par­ty uses a vot­ing method like ranked choice vot­ing or approval vot­ing that would allow you to express a pref­er­ence for more than one can­di­date. Accord­ing­ly, you can only vote one par­ty’s bal­lot — your bal­lot will be invalid if you fill out an oval in both columns.

Q: If I vote in the pri­ma­ry, will the par­ty I affil­i­at­ed with get my name?

A: Yes. If you vote in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty will get your name. And if you vote in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, the Repub­li­can Par­ty will get your name. The par­ty whose pri­ma­ry you did­n’t vote in will also be able to fig­ure out that you vot­ed in the oppos­ing par­ty’s pri­ma­ry. Please note that the dis­clo­sure of the list of vot­ed in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry to the polit­i­cal par­ties is express­ly autho­rized by state law. This is in keep­ing with the idea that how you vote is a secret, but whether or not you vot­ed is a mat­ter of pub­lic record.

Q: I don’t want to affil­i­ate with either par­ty. What should I do?

A: If you are a true inde­pen­dent who does­n’t want to affil­i­ate with either par­ty, you should recy­cle your pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot rather than return­ing it. You are under no legal or moral oblig­a­tion to par­tic­i­pate. As men­tioned above, the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry is not an elec­tion. You are not vot­ing to allo­cate Wash­ing­ton’s Elec­toral Col­lege votes if you par­tic­i­pate in the pri­ma­ry — rather, you are vot­ing to allo­cate one of the major par­ties’ nation­al con­ven­tion delegates.

Q: Now that the par­ties are using the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry to allo­cate del­e­gates, are cau­cus­es and state con­ven­tions a thing of the past?

A: No. The par­ties use the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry to allo­cate their del­e­gates, but they still hold cau­cus­es and con­ven­tions for oth­er pur­pos­es, like adopt­ing plat­forms and res­o­lu­tions, hear­ing from can­di­dates, and fundraising.

And while the pri­ma­ry elim­i­nates the need to stand in a gym, liv­ing room, or school cafe­te­ria for hours just to express a pres­i­den­tial pref­er­ence, Wash­ing­to­ni­ans who are inter­est­ed in going to a nation­al con­ven­tion need to engage with the par­ty of their choice to par­tic­i­pate in del­e­gate selec­tion. The rules for the elec­tion of del­e­gates and the time­frames for run­ning dif­fer by party.

  • Repub­li­cans: To file as a Repub­li­can can­di­date for del­e­gate to the 2024 RNC in Mil­wau­kee (July 15th — 18th), you have to pay a mon­e­tary fee and file by April 12th. The form to do so is here.
  • Democ­rats: To file as a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date for del­e­gate to the 2024 DNC in Chica­go (August 19th — 22nd), you must declare by May 12th for the con­gres­sion­al dis­trict lev­el and June 2nd for the state lev­el. There is no fee. Del­e­gate fil­ing has not yet begun, but you may preg­is­ter and let the par­ty know of your inter­est using this form.

Repub­li­cans will hold their state con­ven­tion in April, in Spokane; Democ­rats will hold their state con­ven­tion in June, at a loca­tion to be announced.

Have a question we didn’t answer above?

Please leave a com­ment and we’ll respond! Hap­py voting.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

NPI’s even year elections bill advances out of Senate State Government Committee

NPI’s pri­or­i­ty leg­is­la­tion to give cities and towns the free­dom to switch their elec­tions to even years has cleared anoth­er key hur­dle in the leg­isla­tive process.

Today, a major­i­ty of the Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee vot­ed to give HB 1932, prime spon­sored by State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mia Gregerson, a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion, send­ing it on to the Sen­ate Rules Com­mit­tee, where its sib­ling, Sen­ate Bill 5723, has been hiber­nat­ing for more than a year.

HB 1932 would change an old state law dat­ing back to the 1960s that requires munic­i­pal­i­ties to hold their reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled elec­tions in odd-num­bered years. Under our leg­is­la­tion, they would gain the free­dom to switch to even years if they want­ed, but they would­n’t be required to change their timing.

HB 1932 was vot­ed out of the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ear­li­er this month and was heard in the Sen­ate last Fri­day. It need­ed to get a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion at today’s com­mit­tee meet­ing to remain active, because tomor­row is the cut­off for oppo­site cham­ber pol­i­cy bills.

Due to the brevi­ty of the 2024 leg­isla­tive ses­sion, com­mit­tees only had a few days to hear and report out bills from the oppo­site chamber.

The Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee had to sched­ule an extra com­mit­tee meet­ing last Thurs­day evening just to accom­mo­date all of the House bills per­tain­ing to its area of focus that it want­ed to con­sid­er. Today, its list of bills slat­ed for action in exec­u­tive ses­sion totaled twen­ty-one, includ­ing HB 1932.

Most of the list of twen­ty-one bills were vot­ed out effi­cient­ly, but not HB 1932. Repub­li­cans, evi­dent­ly hop­ing to sink the leg­is­la­tion, engaged in a time-wast­ing exer­cise of try­ing amend it almost a dozen dif­fer­ent ways, forc­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty to rhyth­mi­cal­ly mow down their amendments.

One of those amend­ments, offered by Jeff Wil­son, tried to res­ur­rect Tim Eyman’s now dead push polls, which this orga­ni­za­tion and Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er (who took point in respond­ing to the Repub­li­cans’ pro­pos­als) were respon­si­ble for abol­ish­ing last year in tan­dem with State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Amy Walen.

Anoth­er amend­ment, offered by Phil For­tu­na­to, odd­ly tried to exclude the 31st Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (which For­tu­na­to rep­re­sents) from the legislation.

Addi­tion­al amend­ments were sourced from the House Repub­li­can cau­cus, which pro­posed a slew of changes to HB 1932 when it was on the House floor.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty took only one amend­ment, from Kud­er­er, which mod­i­fied the scope of the bill to make it resem­ble Sen­ate Bill 5723, the leg­is­la­tion the com­mit­tee con­sid­ered last year. The bill now only per­tains to cities and towns — school dis­tricts, ports, and oth­er lev­els of local gov­ern­ment are no longer includ­ed in the bill and would not gain the free­dom to choose their own elec­tion timing.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Sen­a­tor Kud­er­er’s amend­ment spec­i­fies that cities and towns wish­ing to switch must do so through a vote of both their gov­ern­ing body and a vote of the peo­ple, rather than just one or the oth­er. Like SB 5723, the bill still allows cities and towns any­where in Wash­ing­ton to switch to even years.

The vote to send HB 1932 on up to Rules was 4–3:

Vot­ing for a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Sam Hunt, Pat­ty Kud­er­er, Javier Valdez, and Bob Hasegawa

Vot­ing for a “do not pass” rec­om­men­da­tion: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jeff Wil­son, Phil For­tu­na­to, and Per­ry Dozier

If HB 1932 gets pulled from Rules, select­ed for floor action, and passed either in its cur­rent form or with fur­ther changes, it would then return to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The House could choose to con­cur in the Sen­ate’s amend­ments, or it could ask the Sen­ate to recede from its amendments.

In the event that the Sen­ate chose to recede from its amend­ments, the bill would revert to its pri­or incar­na­tion. If the House vot­ed to accept the Sen­ate amend­ments, the bill would go to Gov­er­nor Inslee. Oth­er­wise, the bill would go to con­fer­ence, allow­ing the two cham­bers to nego­ti­ate a final com­pro­mise version.

NPI thanks Sen­a­tors Hunt, Kud­er­er, Valdez, and Hasegawa for pri­or­i­tiz­ing this impor­tant, much-need­ed leg­is­la­tion. Their vote today gives this bill a chance to be con­sid­ered by the full Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate between now and March 1st.

Fol­low this link to urge your state sen­a­tor to sup­port HB 1932.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

Bill to end child marriage moves to the floor of the Washington State Senate

One of NPI’s pri­or­i­ty bills for the 2024 leg­isla­tive ses­sion is get­ting clos­er to leav­ing the Leg­is­la­ture and head­ing to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk for signature.

House Bill 1455, prime spon­sored by State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mon­i­ca Stonier (D‑49th Dis­trict: Clark Coun­ty) would require that both par­ties in a civ­il mar­riage must be at least eigh­teen years of age, putting an end to the abhor­rent prac­tice of child mar­riage, which the U.S. State Depart­ment calls a human rights vio­la­tion. The leg­is­la­tion would make Wash­ing­ton the eleventh state to end child marriage.

HB 1455 was pulled from Rules today and is now on sec­ond read­ing. It just needs to be select­ed for floor action and receive the affir­ma­tive votes of at least , and then its jour­ney through the leg­isla­tive process will be complete.

NPI is work­ing with Unchained At Last, Zon­ta, and the Wash­ing­ton Coali­tion to End Child Mar­riage to pass the bill. I tes­ti­fied in favor of it last month and pre­sent­ed our research show­ing that 80% of like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sup­port the bill. Sev­er­al forced mar­riage sur­vivors also spoke at the hear­ing, deliv­er­ing sober­ing and grip­ping tes­ti­mo­ny to a bipar­ti­san pan­el of legislators.

With­in forty-eight hours of when the cham­ber of ori­gin cut­off had passed, the Sen­ate Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee vot­ed to send HB 1455 up to the Rules Com­mit­tee. A major­i­ty offered a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion. Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Mike Pad­den and Lyn­da Wil­son vot­ed to refer it with­out recommendation.

The Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee, chaired by North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion board­mem­ber Man­ka Dhin­gra (D‑45th Dis­trict: Red­mond, Kirk­land, Sam­mamish, Duvall) reject­ed an amend­ment from Pad­den that would have weak­ened the bill.

Pad­den’s amend­ment would have allowed sev­en­teen year olds to mar­ry under cer­tain con­di­tions. NPI opposed this amend­ment — we believe that sev­en­teen year-olds wish­ing to mar­ry can sim­ply wait until they are eigh­teen. This bill does not pre­vent younger cou­ples from get­ting mar­ried in their faith tra­di­tion, it sim­ply estab­lish­es that both par­ties in a mar­riage must be the age of majority.

“Child mar­riage, or mar­riage before age 18, was legal in all 50 U.S. states as of 2017,” a primer from Unchained At Last explains.

“Thanks to Unchained’s relent­less advo­ca­cy, that is chang­ing. Delaware and New Jer­sey in 2018 became the first two states to end this human rights abuse, fol­lowed by Amer­i­can Samoa in 2018, the U.S. Vir­gin Islands, Penn­syl­va­nia and Min­neso­ta in 2020, Rhode Island and New York in 2021, Mass­a­chu­setts in 2022 and Ver­mont, Con­necti­cut and Michi­gan in 2023.”

“How­ev­er, child mar­riage remains legal in 40 states and is hap­pen­ing in the U.S. at an alarm­ing rate: Unchained’s ground­break­ing research revealed that near­ly 300,000 chil­dren as young as 10 were mar­ried in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018 – most­ly girls wed to adult men.”

Unchained’s founder came to Wash­ing­ton State last month for a demon­stra­tion against child mar­riage, which we cov­ered here on NPI’s Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate.

HB 1455 passed the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives unan­i­mous­ly in 2023 but did not receive even a hear­ing in the Sen­ate due to a log­jam of bills. The House passed it unan­i­mous­ly again on the first day of the cur­rent ses­sion, and it is on a glide path to pas­sage in the Sen­ate this time, with NPI’s sup­port. All the Sen­ate needs to do is pass it as-is, and it can be pre­sent­ed to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee for signature.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

Sam Hunt to retire from the Washington State Legislature after many decades of service

One of Wash­ing­ton State’s longest serv­ing and most beloved state leg­is­la­tors has decid­ed against seek­ing reelec­tion and will retire at the end of this term.

Sen­a­tor Sam Hunt (D‑22nd Dis­trict: Olympia) informed his col­leagues and the pub­lic of his deci­sion today, say­ing he feels it’s time to pass the torch.

“The time has come to let some­body else face the chal­lenge of being a state sen­a­tor,” Hunt said. “I would like to thank the many leg­is­la­tors with whom I have served, as well as the bright and ded­i­cat­ed staff who enable the Leg­is­la­ture to do its work. With­out civil­i­ty among mem­bers work­ing togeth­er and the excel­lent staff, Wash­ing­ton would not be in the great shape we find it today.” 

Hunt was first elect­ed to the House in 2000 and moved over to the Sen­ate in 2016, after Karen Fraser’s retire­ment. He has spent much of his time in the Leg­is­la­ture work­ing on vot­ing jus­tice and access to democracy.

“Dur­ing Hunt’s tenure as chair of the House State Gov­ern­ment and Trib­al Affairs Com­mit­tee and as chair of the Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment and Elec­tions Com­mit­tee, Wash­ing­ton passed land­mark elec­tion leg­is­la­tion,” the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus not­ed in Hunt’s retire­ment announcement. 

“Uni­ver­sal vote-by-mail, the Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Rights Act, the Native Amer­i­can Vot­ing Rights Act, online and elec­tion day vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, paid return postage for mailed bal­lots, secure state-fund­ed bal­lot drop box­es were all reforms brought about on Hunt’s watch. He also spon­sored and passed leg­is­la­tion to mod­ern­ize Washington’s elec­tions, switch­ing our state from a cau­cus to pri­ma­ry system.” 

“I am par­tic­u­lar­ly proud that under my guid­ance, we have the most secure, accu­rate, and acces­si­ble elec­tion sys­tem in the coun­try,” Hunt said. 

“Wash­ing­ton is a mod­el for oth­er states to fol­low.” 

In a Dear Col­league let­ter, Hunt elab­o­rat­ed on his deci­sion to retire, explain­ing that he has been serv­ing the pub­lic for more than forty years.

My career in Olympia began in 1980 when I came to work for the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate,” Hunt wrote in his let­ter. “I also worked for Gov­er­nor Booth Gard­ner and the Depart­ment of Infor­ma­tion Ser­vices (now part of DES) before being elect­ed to the House of Representatives.”

“Dur­ing my leg­isla­tive tenure I also served on the House Appro­pri­a­tions, Nat­ur­al Resources, Rules, Labor, and K‑12 Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tees and Sen­ate Ear­ly Learn­ing & K‑12 Edu­ca­tion and Ways & Means Committees.”

“In addi­tion, I served 11 years as the chair of the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, start­ing what is the longest con­sec­u­tive time as the major­i­ty par­ty in the House. I was involved in advo­cat­ing for con­sid­er­able civ­il rights mea­sures, includ­ing the state’s land­mark mar­riage equal­i­ty law.”

“We have seen impres­sive increas­es in fund­ing for edu­ca­tion from preschool through high­er edu­ca­tion, includ­ing the Elson Floyd School of Med­i­cine at Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty (Go Cougs!), the sec­ond Taco­ma Nar­rows Bridge, a wider Inter­state 5 between Olympia and Seat­tle and improve­ments to I‑90 across Sno­qualmie Pass. The list of major accom­plish­ments is, indeed, very long.

“I would like to thank the many leg­is­la­tors with whom I have served, as well as the bright and ded­i­cat­ed staff who enable the Leg­is­la­ture to do its work. With­out civil­i­ty among mem­bers work­ing togeth­er and the excel­lent staff, Wash­ing­ton would not be in the great shape we find it today.

NPI does a lot of work on elec­toral reform and rev­enue reform because these have pos­i­tive ben­e­fits for a long list of crit­i­cal issues, so we have had many oppor­tu­ni­ties to work with Sen­a­tor Hunt over the years. He is one of the kind­est and most thought­ful leg­is­la­tors we know — an exem­plary lawmaker.

Impor­tant­ly, Sen­a­tor Hunt stood with us in our effort to get rid of Tim Eyman’s mali­cious push polls, which Eyman false­ly called “advi­so­ry votes.”

Thanks to Sen­a­tor Hunt and our prime spon­sor Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er — who has also worked with Hunt for many years as a mem­ber of the Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee — we were able to get that leg­is­la­tion out of the Sen­ate twice. Last year, with the help of our cham­pi­on State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Amy Walen and State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Joe Fitzgib­bon, we got the bill to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk and it was signed into law last spring.

Fit­ting­ly, Sen­a­tor Hunt was with us for the bill sign­ing.

He will be missed in the statehouse.

His good humor and good sense is wide­ly appre­ci­at­ed and admired. Sen­a­tor Hunt is a trea­sure, and we wish him the very best as he begins his next chapter.

The 22nd Dis­trict is a pro­gres­sive bas­tion, so the par­ty should have no dif­fi­cul­ty keep­ing the seat in Demo­c­ra­t­ic hands this autumn. Both of Hunt’s House coun­ter­parts are Democ­rats: Jes­si­ca Bate­man and Beth Doglio. One of them may now switch to run­ning for the Sen­ate to take over for Hunt in 2025.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

State Representative Jacquelin Maycumber launches campaign for Congress in WA-05

The con­test to suc­ceed retir­ing U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers in Wash­ing­ton’s 5th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict is on.

Today, Repub­li­can State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jacquelin May­cum­ber announced that she will leave the state­house to seek elec­tion to Con­gress this year, declar­ing: “My jour­ney as a moth­er, farmer and for­mer law enforce­ment offi­cer has equipped me with a unique blend of expe­ri­ences that I have lever­aged to enhance the qual­i­ty of life for the res­i­dents of East­ern Washington.”

“As a Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­tor cur­rent­ly serv­ing the largest dis­trict in the state, I know the impor­tance of lis­ten­ing to every voice. I am com­mit­ted to engag­ing with com­mu­ni­ties from Repub­lic to Pomeroy, Cusick to Spokane Val­ley, Wal­la Wal­la to Ritzville, and every­where in between. As a farmer, I will con­tin­ue to fight for the voice of rur­al Wash­ing­ton,” May­cum­ber added.

May­cum­ber, forty-four, has rep­re­sent­ed the 7th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict since 2017. Pri­or to becom­ing a law­mak­er, she worked as a leg­isla­tive aide to for­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and now Sen­a­tor Shelly Short, who took over for Bri­an Dansel after his res­ig­na­tion to take a job with the Trump regime. May­cum­ber was cho­sen from a list of three names sup­plied by the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty by coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers in the five leg­isla­tive dis­tricts that are in the 7th District.

A fourth gen­er­a­tion landown­er, May­cum­ber lives in the Repub­lic area with her hus­band Mar­ty and three chil­dren. She has a bachelor’s degree in bio­chem­istry and has a back­ground in bio­med­ical research and law enforce­ment. She also has expe­ri­ence in the K‑12 edu­ca­tion are­na as a school board member.

May­cum­ber is part of House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship — she serves as Minor­i­ty Floor Leader, work­ing with State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mon­i­ca Stonier (D‑49th Dis­trict: Clark Coun­ty) to man­age floor action. (The major­i­ty par­ty con­trols what hap­pens on the floor, but does so in con­sul­ta­tion with the minor­i­ty party.)

May­cum­ber says her pri­ma­ry focus “will be on ensur­ing our nation’s safe­ty by secur­ing our bor­ders, there­by pro­tect­ing our econ­o­my and com­mu­ni­ties from the threats of human traf­fick­ing and the influx of nar­cotics like Fentanyl.”

She is also opposed to breach­ing the Snake Riv­er dams that block fish pas­sage. “Secur­ing the Snake Riv­er dams is cru­cial for ener­gy pro­duc­tion, agri­cul­ture and trans­porta­tion,” her cam­paign announce­ment con­tends. “These dams play a sig­nif­i­cant role in pro­vid­ing hydro­elec­tric pow­er, irri­ga­tion and facil­i­tat­ing nav­i­ga­tion for trans­porta­tion. There­fore, ensur­ing the secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of these dams is vital for the over­all well-being and devel­op­ment of the region they serve and I promise to con­tin­ue fight­ing to pro­tect them.”

May­cum­ber says she is endorsed by the fol­low­ing peo­ple and groups at the out­set of her cam­paign for Congress:

  • Spokane Coun­ty Pro­fes­sion­al Fire­fight­ers, IAFF Local 2916
  • Coun­ty Sher­iffs Fer­ry Coun­ty Ray­mond May­cum­ber, Stevens Coun­ty Brad Manke, and Pend Oreille Coun­ty Glenn Blakeslee
  • Stevens Coun­ty Pro­fes­sion­al Fire­fight­ers, IAFF Local 4333
  • 7th Dis­trict State Sen­a­tor Shelly Short
  • 7th Dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Joel Kretz
  • 8th Dis­trict State Sen­a­tor Matt Boehnke
  • 8th Dis­trict State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive April Connors
  • 16th State Dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Klick­er and Skyler Rude
  • Spokane Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Chair Mary Kuney
  • Spokane Coun­ty Clerk Tim Fitzgerald
  • Spokane Val­ley City Coun­cil Al Markel
  • Curt Holmes Kalispel Tribe vice-chair
  • The Kalispel Tribe
  • Doreen and Alice Moran Pend Oreille County
  • Bri­an Whitely
  • Andrew and Danielle Holstine
  • Pend Oreille Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er John Gentle
  • Grant and Lin­da Peter­son, for­mer Asso­ciate FEMA Direc­tor con­firmed under two pres­i­dents, for­mer Spokane Coun­ty Commissioner
  • May­or of Chewe­lah Gre­go­ry McCunn
  • Deer Park City Coun­cil Bil­ly Costello
  • Pend Oreille Coun­ty Audi­tor Mar­i­anne Nichols
  • Bob Gumm, Vet­er­ans Ser­vice Officer
  • Nick Richard­son, Vet­er­ans Advisor
  • Ray Liv­ingston, wildlife con­trol oper­a­tor, TV personality

The 5th Dis­trict is wide­ly con­sid­ered to be “Safe Repub­li­can” turf. It is Wash­ing­ton’s east­ern­most con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, which rarely votes for Democ­rats or pro­gres­sive caus­es. The last Demo­c­rat to rep­re­sent the 5th was the ven­er­a­ble Speak­er Tom Foley, the only Speak­er in Unit­ed States his­to­ry to be from the State of Wash­ing­ton. Foley lost his reelec­tion bid in 1994 to Repub­li­can George Nether­cutt. Nether­cutt chal­lenged Pat­ty Mur­ray ten years lat­er and lost, end­ing his time in Con­gress. He was replaced by McMor­ris Rodgers, who in 2001 had become the House Minor­i­ty Leader in the Wash­ing­ton State House.

McMor­ris Rodgers earned 60% of the vote in her first con­gres­sion­al cam­paign, trounc­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic rival Don Bar­bi­eri. In sub­se­quent cycles, she usu­al­ly matched or exceed­ed that, though in 2018, she only man­aged to get 55% of the vote against Lisa Brown, who is now serv­ing as May­or of Spokane after she defeat­ed McMor­ris Rodgers ally Nadine Wood­ward in a hard fought election.

Three oth­er can­di­dates have filed with the Fed­er­al Elec­tions Com­mis­sion to run for Con­gress in WA-05 this cycle: Repub­li­can John Guen­ther, Demo­c­rat Carmela Con­roy, and Demo­c­rat Ann Marie Dan­imus. Guen­ther has only raised $5,872.24 so far. Con­roy has raised $72,270.49 and Dan­imus has raised $103,575.80.

If no oth­er cred­i­ble Repub­li­can files, May­cum­ber would be favored to win the seat. But it’s been two decades since WA-05 was an open seat, and it would­n’t be sur­pris­ing if one or two more cred­i­ble Repub­li­can can­di­dates were to jump in.

Monday, February 19th, 2024

Senator Maria Cantwell widens lead over Republican rival Raul Garcia to sixteen points

Democ­rats in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate face a tough map to keep con­trol of Con­gress’ upper cham­ber this autumn, with twen­ty-three seats to defend, but one state they prob­a­bly don’t have to wor­ry about hold­ing is Wash­ing­ton, where Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell’s path to reelec­tion appears to be get­ting even easier.

53% of 789 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers sur­veyed last week for NPI said they would sup­port Cantwell if the elec­tion for U.S. Sen­ate were being held now. 37% said they would sup­port Gar­cia, Cantwell’s expect­ed Repub­li­can gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent. Anoth­er 10% were not sure.

That six­teen point advan­tage is the biggest spread we’ve found for Sen­a­tor Cantwell so far this cycle, and it’s sev­en points wider than the spread between Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray and Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smi­ley that we found two years ago… a poll that the NRSC liked so much, they put out a press release tout­ing it. (I rather doubt they’ll be pro­mot­ing this finding.)

Cantwell’s only tight race thus far as a Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor was her first, when she top­pled Slade Gor­ton in 2000 in a close con­test. She was reelect­ed eas­i­ly in 2006, 2012, and 2018, all wave years for Democ­rats in Wash­ing­ton State.

In the Sen­ate, Cantwell has focused on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, reg­u­lat­ing deriv­a­tives and oth­er com­plex finan­cial instru­ments, and strength­en­ing the coun­try’s infra­struc­ture. She is a key archi­tect of the CHIPS and Sci­ence Act, and cur­rent­ly chairs the pow­er­ful Com­merce Com­mit­tee. Her office often orga­nizes events to bring togeth­er sci­en­tists, tech­nol­o­gists, and busi­ness lead­ers to dis­cuss issues like space explo­ration or arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI).

Sen­a­tor Cantwell is known for being one of the few in the Sen­ate who real­ly under­stands tech­nol­o­gy issues, along with Ore­gon’s Ron Wyden; the duo stood strong against harm­ful bills like SOPA and PIPA ear­ly on. Fit­ting­ly, she is one of the first elect­ed offi­cials ever to have guest post­ed on NPI’s Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

Repub­li­can Raul Gar­cia, who was run­ning for gov­er­nor until he yield­ed to Dave Reichert, is like­ly to be Cantwell’s gen­er­al elec­tion opponent.

Gar­cia has the back­ing of a lot of promi­nent Repub­li­cans: leg­endary for­mer Gov­er­nor Dan Evans, Dino Rossi, Rob McKen­na, Sam Reed, Ralph Munro, and of course Reichert. Dozens of Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tors and local elect­ed offi­cials have also endorsed him. But although Gar­cia has man­aged to get the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty appa­ra­tus to coa­lesce around his cam­paign, he’s not gen­er­at­ing the sort of buzz or media inter­est that Tiffany Smi­ley did last cycle.

Nor is Gar­cia rais­ing much mon­ey. He has so far raised a mere $244,241.96, which is utter­ly dwarfed by Cantwell’s $9+ mil­lion in receipts. Repub­li­cans are not excit­ed­ly tout­ing him as the can­di­date who will end Sen­a­tor Cantwell’s run in the Sen­ate. Part­ly that’s because the par­ty seems to have oth­er pri­or­i­ties, like elect­ing Reichert or pass­ing Bri­an Hey­wood and Jim Wal­sh’s slate of initiatives.

That’s a dynam­ic Democ­rats are hap­py to accept.

Here’s the ques­tion we asked and the respons­es we received:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Sen­ate were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Maria Cantwell and Repub­li­can Raul Gar­cia, who would you vote for?


  • Maria Cantwell: 53% (+2% since November)
  • Raul Gar­cia: 37% (-1% since November)
  • Not sure: 10% (-1% since November)

Our sur­vey of 789 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 13th through Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 14th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (42%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (58%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.5% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

Insights from the crosstabs

Vot­ers who iden­ti­fy as female are par­tic­u­lar­ly enthu­si­as­tic about Cantwell’s reelec­tion — 65% of them pre­fer her, while only 26% pre­fer Garcia.

Among vot­ers of col­or, Cantwell also has an advan­tage. 63% of them pre­fer Cantwell, while only 22% would vote for Garcia.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers are almost uni­form­ly behind Cantwell. 92% of self-iden­ti­fied Democ­rats want Cantwell, while 88% of self-iden­ti­fied Repub­li­cans back Gar­cia. Inde­pen­dents, mean­while, are split between Cantwell and Garcia.

With respect to age, the youngest and old­est vot­ers in the elec­torate are Cantwell’s strongest groups, just as they are for Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

The trend so far this cycle, visualized

Below you can see all of our pre­vi­ous find­ings for this con­test plotted.

More U.S. Senate polling to come

We plan to poll this race again in the spring­time, after Fil­ing Week, and we’ll see where the con­test stands at that time.

Monday, February 19th, 2024

Presidential Greatness Project’s 2024 survey finds Lincoln is the best, Trump is the worst

Yes­ter­day, in the lead-up to Pres­i­dents Day, two pro­fes­sors of polit­i­cal sci­ence unveiled the lat­est incar­na­tion of the Pres­i­den­tial Great­ness Expert Sur­vey, which is a com­pre­hen­sive effort to rank all of the pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States.

Con­duct­ed online via Qualtrics from Novem­ber 15 to Decem­ber 31, 2023, the sur­vey, helmed by Bran­don Rot­ting­haus from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton and Justin S. Vaughn from Coastal Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty, engaged 154 experts, includ­ing mem­bers of the Pres­i­dents & Exec­u­tive Pol­i­tics Sec­tion of the Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Asso­ci­a­tion and schol­ars with recent pub­li­ca­tions in rel­e­vant aca­d­e­m­ic out­lets. With a response rate of 29.3%, the sur­vey offers insights into how experts assess the per­for­mance of U.S. pres­i­dents through­out history.

Par­tic­i­pants were tasked with rat­ing each pres­i­dent on a scale of 0 to 100, reflect­ing over­all great­ness, with 0 rep­re­sent­ing fail­ure, 50 indi­cat­ing aver­age per­for­mance, and 100 sig­ni­fy­ing great­ness. The orga­niz­ers then aver­aged the rat­ings for each pres­i­dent and ranked them from high­est aver­age to low­est. This is the third time the sur­vey has been orga­nized; the last one was in 2018.

Abra­ham Lin­coln once again emerged as the top-ranked pres­i­dent, with an aver­age rat­ing of 95.03, fol­lowed close­ly by Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt and George Wash­ing­ton. Notable changes include Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt’s ascent to the sec­ond posi­tion from last year’s third spot and Dwight Eisen­how­er’s decline to eighth place. Don­ald Trump appro­pri­ate­ly received the low­est rat­ing, with James Buchanan, Andrew John­son, Franklin Pierce, William Hen­ry Har­ri­son, and War­ren Hard­ing ranked just above him in the bot­tom tier of presidents.

Joe Biden, the coun­try’s cur­rent pres­i­dent, was includ­ed in the sur­vey and was ranked four­teenth over­all by the schol­ars who participated.

“Pro­po­nents of the Biden pres­i­den­cy have strong argu­ments in their arse­nal, but his high place­ment with­in the top 15 sug­gests a pow­er­ful anti-Trump fac­tor at work,” said Rot­ting­haus and Vaughn in a guest essay for the Los Ange­les Times. “So far, Biden’s record does not include the mil­i­tary vic­to­ries or insti­tu­tion­al expan­sion that have typ­i­cal­ly dri­ven high­er rank­ings, and a fam­i­ly scan­dal such as the one involv­ing his son Hunter nor­mal­ly dimin­ish­es a president’s ranking.

“Biden’s most impor­tant achieve­ments may be that he res­cued the pres­i­den­cy from Trump, resumed a more tra­di­tion­al style of pres­i­den­tial lead­er­ship and is gear­ing up to keep the office out of his predecessor’s hands this fall.”

There were more changes in the mid­dle than in the top or bot­tom tiers.

“What is most note­wor­thy about the remain­ing pres­i­dents con­cerns who has risen and fall­en over time,” said Rot­ting­haus and Vaughn in a statement.

“Since our ini­tial sur­vey, sev­er­al pres­i­dents have had sig­nif­i­cant changes in their rank­ings. Barack Oba­ma has risen 9 places (from #16 to #7), as has Ulysses S. Grant (from #26 to #17), while Andrew Jack­son has fall­en 12 places (from #9 to #21) and Calvin Coolidge has dropped 7 spots (from #27 to #34).”

Their full press release and rank­ings can be found below:

Pres­i­den­tial great­ness white paper

My commentary and rankings

I like the schol­ars’ cur­rent top four choic­es, and I also agree that Buchanan and Trump should rank at the bot­tom. As for the mid­dle, I’d order the pres­i­dents a bit dif­fer­ent­ly than the schol­ars did collectively.

Rank­ing all of the pres­i­dents is not a sim­ple exer­cise. To do it knowl­edge­ably, you’ve sim­ply got to know your Amer­i­can his­to­ry. But even if you do know your his­to­ry, there’s still a lot of con­sid­er­a­tions to weigh. Luck­i­ly, I had an expert I could eas­i­ly turn to for help mak­ing deci­sions. After con­sult­ing with my father, a retired teacher of Advanced Place­ment (AP) Amer­i­can his­to­ry, I came up with the fol­low­ing list. I may revise it in the future, but right now, I’m hap­py with it.

Here it is, for your enjoy­ment on this Pres­i­dents Day 2024.

The American Presidents ranked, from best to worst

Note that for each Pres­i­dent, I’ve pro­vid­ed a short com­men­tary focus­ing on what they did or did­n’t do in office. These com­men­taries focus on their tenures, rather than what they did before becom­ing Pres­i­dent or after leav­ing office. 

  1. Abra­ham Lin­coln — Eman­ci­pat­ed Black Amer­i­cans in bondage and saved the Union by defeat­ing the Con­fed­er­ate rebel­lion with a “Team of Rivals” cab­i­net that brought togeth­er Democ­rats and Republicans.
  2. Franklin D. Roo­sevelt — Res­cued the nation from the Great Depres­sion, cre­at­ed Social Secu­ri­ty, helped allies fight­ing fas­cism, and led Amer­i­ca to vic­to­ry through much of World War II in mul­ti­ple theaters.
  3. George Wash­ing­ton — Over­saw the suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment of the first pres­i­den­tial admin­is­tra­tion in his­to­ry and set a long-fol­lowed two-term prece­dent while ably man­ag­ing the new coun­try’s for­eign relations.
  4. Theodore Roo­sevelt — Pro­tect­ed many majes­tic and wild places for future gen­er­a­tions, nego­ti­at­ed an end to Rus­so-Japan­ese war, broke up bad trusts, and sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved the safe­ty of food and medicine.
  5. Lyn­don B. John­son — Strength­ened Amer­i­ca with Medicare, the Civ­il Rights Act, Vot­ing Rights Act, and the Great Soci­ety, but sad­ly also deep­ened Amer­i­ca’s destruc­tive entan­gle­ment in Vietnam.
  6. Har­ry S. Tru­man — Led the coun­try out of World War II and worked to turn ene­mies into allies with the Mar­shall Plan, while also stand­ing up to com­mu­nism around the world with the Berlin Air­lift and defense of Korea.
  7. Thomas Jef­fer­son — Pro­hib­it­ed the slave trade, fought the Bar­bary pirates, peace­ful­ly acquired the Louisiana Ter­ri­to­ry and sent Lewis and Clark to explore it, but also imple­ment­ed the cost­ly Embar­go Act.
  8. John F. Kennedy — Estab­lished the Peace Corps and the suc­cess­ful Apol­lo moon land­ing pro­gram, avert­ed cat­a­stro­phe by peace­ful­ly resolv­ing the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis, signed the first nuclear weapons treaty.
  9. Dwight D. Eisen­how­er — Nego­ti­at­ed an armistice in Korea that remains in effect today, enforced court orders to inte­grate schools, devel­oped the Inter­state High­way sys­tem, but covert­ly orches­trat­ed sev­er­al coups abroad.
  10. Joe Biden — Over­saw Amer­i­ca’s recov­ery from COVID-19, worked with Con­gress to invest tril­lions of dol­lars into crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, cli­mate action, and health­care; diver­si­fied the fed­er­al judiciary.
  11. Barack Oba­ma — Got Amer­i­ca back on its feet after the Great Reces­sion had knocked the coun­try down, signed the land­mark Patient Pro­tec­tion Act, nego­ti­at­ed New START treaty, Paris cli­mate accords, and JCPOA with Iran.
  12. William Howard Taft — Secured pas­sage of a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment to ensure the future of the fed­er­al income tax, set­tled dis­putes with France and the U.K. through arbi­tra­tion, con­tin­ued Roo­sevelt’s antitrust campaign.
  13. Woodrow Wil­son — Signed Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion and Clay­ton Antitrust Act; reluc­tant­ly led Amer­i­ca into World War I on the side of the vic­to­ri­ous Allies, but failed to per­suade Con­gress to join League of Nations.
  14. Bill Clin­ton — Advanced peace in North­ern Ire­land and the Mid­dle East, signed Brady Bill, and expand­ed EITC, but unwise­ly tri­an­gu­lat­ed on many issues, includ­ing trade, crime, LGBTQ+ rights, and finan­cial deregulation.
  15. John Adams — Known for being the first to peace­ful­ly trans­fer pow­er after los­ing the pres­i­den­cy, he signed the Alien and Sedi­tion Acts, fought an unde­clared war with France, and worked to build a strong U.S. Navy.
  16. Jim­my Carter — Cham­pi­oned con­ser­va­tion and solar ener­gy, advanced peace through the Camp David Accords, and returned the Pana­ma Canal, but strug­gled to con­front “stagfla­tion” and end the Iran hostage crisis.
  17. James Madi­son — Took the Unit­ed States into an unnec­es­sary war with the Unit­ed King­dom (the War of 1812) but did pre­side over a very effec­tive post­war peri­od of leg­is­lat­ing in coop­er­a­tion with the 14th Congress.
  18. James Mon­roe — Per­haps best known for the Mon­roe Doc­trine, he acquired Flori­da, pur­sued the demil­i­ta­riza­tion of the U.S.-Canadian bor­der, nego­ti­at­ed the Rus­so-Amer­i­can treaty of 1924, and dealt with a panic.
  19. Ulysses S. Grant — He effec­tive­ly defend­ed the civ­il rights of freed Black Amer­i­cans dur­ing Recon­struc­tion, sign­ing a bill cre­at­ing the Jus­tice Depart­ment and fight­ing the Ku Klux Klan, but strug­gled with corruption.
  20. Grover Cleve­land — The only Amer­i­can so far to serve non-con­sec­u­tive terms as Pres­i­dent, he fos­tered Navy mod­ern­iza­tion while butting heads with Con­gress and fail­ing to pro­tect work­ers dur­ing a time of labor strife.
  21. William McKin­ley — A pro­po­nent of the gold stan­dard and a busi­ness sym­pa­thiz­er, he took Amer­i­ca into a short war with Spain and pro­mot­ed tar­iffs to pro­tect domes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing pri­or to his assassination.
  22. James K. Polk — Known for doing what he said he’d do, he took the coun­try in and out of war with Mex­i­co, cre­at­ed the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or, and nego­ti­at­ed a set­tle­ment over Ore­gon coun­try with the U.K.
  23. Chester A. Arthur — Signed the Chi­nese Exclu­sion Act after veto­ing its ini­tial incar­na­tion, but also cham­pi­oned civ­il ser­vice reform through the Pendle­ton Civ­il Ser­vice Reform Act of 1883 and the rebirth of the Navy.
  24. Ben­jamin Har­ri­son — Presided over the admis­sion of six west­ern states, includ­ing Wash­ing­ton, signed the Sher­man Antitrust Act, and imple­ment­ed the McKin­ley Tar­iff, but strug­gled to empow­er Black Americans.
  25. John Quin­cy Adams — Elect­ed by the U.S. House after the Elec­toral Col­lege dead­locked, he could­n’t get much done dur­ing his sin­gle term, but he sup­port­ed wom­en’s and indige­nous rights and opposed slavery.
  26. Ger­ald R. Ford — Unwise­ly par­doned Richard Nixon and inef­fec­tive­ly tried to com­bat ris­ing infla­tion with gim­micks instead of good poli­cies, but he did sup­port the Equal Rights Amend­ment and advance arms con­trol dialogue.
  27. George H.W. Bush — Pro­vid­ed steady lead­er­ship when the Berlin Wall fell and signed the Amer­i­cans With Dis­abil­i­ties Act, but also invad­ed Pana­ma, inter­vened in the Gulf War, and strug­gled to address a recession.
  28. James A. Garfield — Purged cor­rup­tion in the Post Office and pro­posed major civ­il ser­vice reforms that Con­gress adopt­ed in 1883 but failed to address ris­ing eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty and inequity before his assassination.
  29. Ruther­ford B. Hayes — End­ed Recon­struc­tion as a con­di­tion of a deal that made him Pres­i­dent and deployed the U.S Army to break a rail­road strike while also harm­ing trib­al nations with forced assim­i­la­tion policies.
  30. Andrew Jack­son — Unjust­ly dis­placed thou­sands of Native Amer­i­cans from their ances­tral homes and trig­gered a pan­ic by killing the Bank of the Unit­ed States while facil­i­tat­ing the enfran­chise­ment of “the com­mon man.”
  31. Mar­tin Van Buren — Strug­gled to address the Pan­ic of 1837 that was caused by his pre­de­ces­sor’s poli­cies and con­tin­ued oppress­ing Native Amer­i­cans through con­flicts like the Sec­ond Semi­nole War.
  32. Zachary Tay­lor — Died in office hav­ing failed to com­plete a sin­gle term or achieve any major progress for the coun­try, though he did secure rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Clay­ton-Bul­w­er Treaty with the Unit­ed Kingdom.
  33. John Tyler — Though he alien­at­ed his par­ty and became polit­i­cal­ly home­less after tak­ing over from William Hen­ry Har­ri­son, he worked to stop ocean­ic African slave traf­fick­ing under the Web­ster-Ash­bur­ton Treaty.
  34. Ronald Rea­gan — Respon­si­ble for Iran-con­tra scan­dal, imple­ment­ed harm­ful eco­nom­ic dereg­u­la­tion, inef­fec­tive­ly respond­ed to AIDS epi­dem­ic, but did even­tu­al­ly find an arms con­trol part­ner in Mikhail Gorbachev.
  35. William Hen­ry Har­ri­son — He hard­ly did any­thing because he was only Pres­i­dent for a few weeks, so some schol­ars might argue he should­n’t be ranked at all, but includ­ing him for com­plete­ness makes sense.
  36. Calvin Coolidge — Sup­port­ed wom­en’s suf­frage and racial equal­i­ty, but his harm­ful “lais­sez-faire” eco­nom­ic poli­cies set the stage for one of the worst eco­nom­ic calamites in mod­ern times: the Great Depression.
  37. Her­bert Hoover — Coolidge’s suc­ces­sor, deserved­ly known for an inef­fec­tive, uncar­ing response to the Depres­sion, includ­ing the refusal to pro­vide ear­ly cash redemp­tion of vet­er­ans’ ser­vice bonus certificates.
  38. Andrew John­son — Lin­col­n’s suc­ces­sor botched Recon­struc­tion and end­ed up feud­ing with his own par­ty in Con­gress, becom­ing the first pres­i­dent to find him­self impeached by the House of Representatives.
  39. Mil­lard Fill­more — Sup­port­ed the dis­as­trous Com­pro­mise of 1850, includ­ing the Fugi­tive Slave Act, and empha­sized anti-immi­gra­tion and anti-Catholic poli­cies after tak­ing over from Zachary Taylor.
  40. War­ren G. Hard­ing — Made bad per­son­nel deci­sions that result­ed in cor­rup­tion and scan­dals like Teapot Dome, refused to join the League of Nations, and imple­ment­ed an inef­fec­tive dis­ar­ma­ment agreement.
  41. Richard Nixon — Sev­er­al very pro­gres­sive pol­i­cy achieve­ments for a Repub­li­can pres­i­dent, but he per­pe­trat­ed atroc­i­ties abroad with Kissinger in South­east Asia and dam­aged the pres­i­den­cy with scan­dals like Watergate.
  42. George W. Bush — Ignored intel­li­gence sug­gest­ing al Qae­da would strike the U.S., launched unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, cut tax­es for the wealthy, and did not effec­tive­ly respond when the Great Reces­sion hit.
  43. Franklin Pierce — Opposed the abo­li­tion­ist move­ment, nixed the Mis­souri Com­pro­mise through the Kansas-Nebras­ka Act, enforced the immoral Fugi­tive Slave Act, and lost so much sup­port that he was­n’t renominated.
  44. James Buchanan — Backed the Supreme Court’s hor­rif­ic Dred Scott deci­sion as well as South­ern schem­ing to admit Kansas into the Union as a slave state and failed to con­front the Con­fed­er­ate insurrection.
  45. Don­ald Trump — Failed to effec­tive­ly respond to the onset of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, ran a hor­rif­i­cal­ly cor­rupt regime that flout­ed ethics laws and vio­lat­ed polit­i­cal norms, and irre­spon­si­bly cut tax­es for the wealthy.

The schol­ars were just a lit­tle too char­i­ta­ble to Richard Nixon and way too char­i­ta­ble to George W. Bush, and I don’t think either Har­ri­son deserves to be ranked below Hard­ing, Fill­more, Hoover, Coolidge, or Nixon. But for the most part, their rank­ings are quite defen­si­ble. These sorts of eval­u­a­tions are inher­ent­ly opin­ion­at­ed, but this sur­vey pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty for build­ing consensus.

Amer­i­ca has had a lot of what I con­sid­er to be mediocre pres­i­dents, which in my esti­ma­tion out­num­ber both the real­ly good and real­ly bad ones.

Our cur­rent pres­i­dent, Joe Biden, gets a lot of neg­a­tive and unflat­ter­ing media cov­er­age, and faces an oppo­si­tion (espe­cial­ly a Repub­li­can Par­ty no longer com­mit­ted to repub­li­can­ism) that is less loy­al to democ­ra­cy than any oth­er in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­to­ry, but he has nev­er­the­less achieved a lot. His pres­i­den­cy is still ongo­ing, so a prop­er appraisal of his lega­cy is not yet possible.

If Biden can pre­vent Trump’s return and con­tin­ue strength­en­ing the coun­try despite all that he faces, future his­to­ri­ans may rank him as one of the great­est pres­i­dents, along­side Lin­coln, FDR, Wash­ing­ton, and Ted­dy Roosevelt.

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Joe Biden’s 2024 lead over Donald Trump in Washington State rebounds to sixteen points

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden has slight­ly widened his lead over pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump in the Ever­green State with eight months to go until bal­lots get mailed out to in-state vot­ers, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est sur­vey of the like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton elec­torate has found.

54% of 789 like­ly vot­ers sur­veyed Feb­ru­ary 13th-14th, 2024 by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute said they would vote for Biden if the elec­tion were being held today, while 38% said they would vote for Trump. Anoth­er 8% were not sure. It’s Biden’s best per­cent­age so far this cycle in our Wash­ing­ton State polling — bet­ter than the 53% he got last June, and bet­ter than the 52% Biden got in Novem­ber in head-to-head matchups with Trump.

The Ever­green State has been a Demo­c­ra­t­ic bas­tion for a rather long time. It last vot­ed for a Repub­li­can for Pres­i­dent in the 1980s, when Ronald Rea­gan was the Grand Old Par­ty’s nom­i­nee. Since then, it has vot­ed for Democ­rats, often by fair­ly lop­sided mar­gins. Michael Dukakis, Bill Clin­ton, Al Gore, John Ker­ry, Barack Oba­ma, and Hillary Clin­ton all won Wash­ing­ton State, as did the Biden-Har­ris tick­et four years ago. And no cred­i­ble polit­i­cal observ­er expects that to change.

Wash­ing­ton may not be a bat­tle­ground state, but that has nev­er stopped us from ask­ing peo­ple who they’re sup­port­ing for Pres­i­dent. It’s use­ful, fas­ci­nat­ing data to have, and we’re glad to be able to share it pub­licly with you, our readers.

Here’s the exact text of the ques­tions we asked and the responses:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Joe Biden or Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump?


  • Joe Biden: 54%
  • Don­ald Trump: 38%
  • Not sure: 8%

Our sur­vey of 789 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 13th through Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 14th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (42%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (58%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.5% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

Insights from our crosstabs

Because we ask our respon­dents who they sup­port­ed in the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, we always have 2020 pres­i­den­tial vote crosstabs avail­able to look at. As you might expect, pret­ty much every­one who vot­ed for Biden last time is pre­pared to do so again, and the same is true for Trump voters.

How­ev­er, we noticed that in this sur­vey, there are more Biden vot­ers will­ing to stick with Biden than Trump vot­ers will­ing to stick with Trump, and that Trump has an advan­tage among those who vot­ed for some­one else or did not vote.

Take a look:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Joe Biden or Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump?


  • 2020 Biden voters 
    • Joe Biden: 92%
    • Don­ald Trump: 2%
    • Not sure: 6%
  • 2020 Trump voters 
    • Joe Biden: 4%
    • Don­ald Trump: 90%
    • Not sure: 6%
  • Some­one else / did not vote 
    • Joe Biden: 16%
    • Don­ald Trump: 46%
    • Not sure: 38%

With respect to par­ty, Democ­rats are more unit­ed behind Biden than Repub­li­cans are for Trump. 93% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers are back­ing Biden, where­as only 89% of Repub­li­can vot­ers are. Self-iden­ti­fied inde­pen­dents are about even­ly split: 41% for Biden, 42% for Trump, and 17% are not sure.

And, in more good news for Biden, Wash­ing­ton’s youngest vot­ers still sup­port his reelec­tion by about a 2:1 mar­gin, despite his han­dling of the con­flict between Israel and Hamas in the Mid­dle East. 66% of respon­dents ages eigh­teen to twen­ty-nine are for Biden and 34% are for Trump, with none unde­cid­ed — the only age group that did­n’t have a “not sure” response in this poll.

Biden does about as well with seniors: 62% of those above the age of six­ty-five are in Biden’s camp and only 32% pre­fer Trump. Trump’s strongest age group are Gen Xers and younger boomers, but even a plu­ral­i­ty of them pre­fer Biden.

In a sig­nif­i­cant diver­gence from our last sur­vey, we also found Pres­i­dent Biden with a lead among vot­ers with only a high school education.

In our Novem­ber poll, Trump had a ten point advan­tage, with 49% sup­port among that group. But in this poll, he’s at 45% and Biden has a plu­ral­i­ty lead of 48%, with 7% unde­cid­ed. Biden also has a nar­row lead over Trump among vot­ers who’ve tak­en some col­lege cours­es but did not fin­ish (47% to 45%) and those with two-year degrees (48% to 42%). Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Biden’s sup­port is in the six­ties with vot­ers who have four-year degrees (62% to Trump’s 30%) and among vot­ers with post­grad­u­ate degrees (69% to Trump’s 22%).

As before, Biden leads in all geo­graph­ic regions of Wash­ing­ton State except for East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, where Trump has major­i­ty support.

Biden also has a lead with vot­ers in every income brack­et in our survey.

Trump’s strength with Republican voters nationally could be helping President Biden and Democrats locally

Don­ald Trump has won nom­i­nat­ing con­tests in each of the states that has held a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry or cau­cus thus far, and now appears head­ed for a third con­sec­u­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion this sum­mer. But his strength with Repub­li­can vot­ers seems to be work­ing to Pres­i­dent Biden’s advan­tage, at least here in Wash­ing­ton State, as his over­all sup­port is going up and he’s doing much bet­ter with a key con­stituen­cy — vot­ers with only a high school education.

Many in state Repub­li­can cir­cles des­per­ate­ly want to define the upcom­ing pres­i­den­tial and guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tions on their terms, and they’re hop­ing a slate of six ini­tia­tives fund­ed by megadonor Bri­an Hey­wood will help them do it.

But with Trump promis­ing to be a dic­ta­tor on day one and encour­ag­ing Rus­sia to do what­ev­er it wants to Amer­i­ca’s NATO allies, the 2024 elec­tion is pret­ty much guar­an­teed to be anoth­er bat­tle for the soul of the nation. Repub­li­cans appear stuck with Trump, and NPI has over half a decade of state and local polling that makes it abun­dant­ly clear Trump and his pol­i­tics are utter­ly abhor­rent to a major­i­ty of vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State. Trump’s pres­ence atop the tick­et is like­ly to be a seri­ous prob­lem for Repub­li­cans run­ning down­bal­lot this year.

When spring rolls around, we’ll check in again and see where the race stands. Between now and then, we’ll get some data from Wash­ing­ton’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry — a unique event in state pol­i­tics that only hap­pens every four years — and that will give us more num­bers to exam­ine as the con­ven­tions approach.

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