Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart has been given a new entry following yesterday’s I-1366 ruling

Now that the Washington State Supreme Court has put the kibosh on Tim Eyman’s I-1366 — an incredibly-destructive, Ted Cruz-style scheme to force the Legislature to sabotage the majority vote clause of our state Constitution by holding $8 billion in funding for education and essential public services hostage — we can add it to Eyman’s Failure Chart, a list summarizing the outcome of each of the statewide measures Eyman has qualified or attempted to qualify to the ballot since 1999.

As the Failure Chart’s name implies, Tim Eyman’s record is full of failures. Since 1999, all but one of his statewide measures have met the following three fates:

  • Defeated by voters: I-745, I-892, I-985, I-1033, I-1125, I-517 (6)
  • Failed to qualify for the ballot: I-267, I-807, I-864, I-917, R-65, I-1325 (6)
  • Struck down or partially invalidated by the Washington State Supreme Court: I-695, I-722, I-747, I-776, I-960/I-1053/I-1185, I-1366 (8)

Here’s a few observations regarding the initiatives in the final category.

First, it should be noted that I-695, I-722, I-747, and I-1366 were struck down in their entirety. The other four were partially invalidated, with the three separated by slashes invalidated in one fell swoop (they’re clones of each other).

I-695 and I-747 were subsequently and foolishly reinstated by the Legislature and Governors Locke and Gregoire, although not in their entirety.

(I-747 was reinstated over this organization’s loud and vociferous objections, as is documented in the the Cascadia Advocate’s archives.)

I-722 was never reinstated, and I-1366 won’t be, either. Democrats in the Legislature were united this past session in refusing to capitulate to Eyman’s demands, and their position is not going to change. Two of the plaintiffs in the case against I-1366 were Democratic legislators: our friends Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt, who represent the 36th and 46th Districts, respectively.

The only statewide Eyman initiative that has been implemented with no legal challenge was I-900, from 2005, which concerned expanding the authority of the State Auditor to conduct performance audits.

I-900 was a flawed measure, but as it was not a direct attack on our essential public services or Constitution, it has not been challenged.

Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart shows that Tim Eyman is horrible at legislating. As we have said for years, Eyman is neither a guru nor a king of anything. And it looks like the mass media are finally, finally coming around to that realization, too.

The Seattle Times editorialized this morning:

Tim Eyman is not the state’s tax guru

Instead of continually outsourcing tax-policy changes to Eyman, which are struck down again and again, the Legislature needs to address the flaws in the tax code head-on.

The Supreme Court’s school-financing McCleary ruling — which will require billions in new education spending — should force lawmakers to come to the table. Eyman shouldn’t be invited, but the message voters keep sending through his initiatives should be heard.

What a difference a few years makes. At long last, the Times seems to have shed its bizarre Jekyll/Hyde persona and is finally printing sense in its editorial space.

We agree that it’s time for lawmakers to act boldly and courageously to reform our broken, regressive, upside down tax code, which is holding our state back and opening the door to snake oil salesman Eyman.

And by act, we mean pass legislation to raise the revenue necessary to amply provide for the education of all Washington’s youth plus fund our other neglected essential services. Act doesn’t mean talk, as in debate the problem without doing anything to solve it, or agree to study the problem with another blue ribbon commission or expert panel. The problem has been studied; we’re all too familiar with the problem at this point. What we need are solutions.

Congratulations, Friends of 88.5 FM! $7 million raised to buy KPLU from Pacific Lutheran

This is truly wonderful news:

The community group hoping to preserve 88.5 FM as an independent radio station has hit its $7 million fundraising goal a month ahead of schedule. KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn announced live on the air Thursday afternoon that nearly 18,000 donors have raised enough money to make a bid for the station.

“It’s unprecedented, I mean, we’ve been saying we have made public radio history, and we really have,” said KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn. “To raise $7 million dollars in four and a half months — that’s never been done.”

We at NPI are proud to have played our part in making this happen. For the last few months, we’ve promoted the campaign to save KPLU as an independent NPR affiliate on our front page, encouraging visitors and supporters to donate.

It’s wonderful to hear that the $7 million needed to purchase the station from Pacific Lutheran University has been raised ahead of schedule. Now, Friends of 88.5 FM can begin negotiating with university officials, who had originally planned to sell KPLU to the University of Washington to be folded into KUOW.

If Friends of 88.5 FM can agree on terms with PLU and receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission to become the new license holder, the UW has said it will withdraw its offer and allow the community group to buy the station. The station would almost certainly receive new call letters following the sale, though it would stay where it is on the radio dial.

As the Friends of 88.5 FAQ explains:

This detail will be part of the purchase agreement with PLU. The agreement between PLU and UW calls for a change in call letters, and there is an assumption that would be the case in an agreement with Friends. We plan to allow listeners to make suggestions for what those should be. If we choose your suggestion, you’ll be the first to read the call letters live on the air!

The success of the fundraising drive is welcome news for the hardworking journalists who work in 88.5’s vaunted newsroom. Their jobs have been in jeopardy ever since PLU unveiled its deal to sell KPLU to the UW. KUOW, UW’s NPR affiliate, had been planning to turn 88.5 into a jazz-only station, doing away with its current format.

It’s also welcome news for every progressive organization (this one included) gravely concerned about the damage that mostly-unchecked media consolidation has been causing to our region and our country.

Eyman’s I-1366 is buried; now the Legislature needs to get back to work on school funding

Yesterday, Washington’s Supreme Court gave Tim Eyman’s I-1366 a proper and fitting burial, ruling 9-0 that the measure was unconstitutional.

In affirming Judge William Downing’s decision striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety, the high court both did its job and rescued the Legislature from having to worry about losing $8 billion in funding for schools and other vital public services by refusing to comply with Tim Eyman’s demand for a constitutional amendment sabotaging the majority vote clause of our Constitution.

($8 billion is how much money we would have lost through 2021 had Section 2 of I-1366 gone into effect last month, slashing the sales tax, which provides most of the funding for our state’s K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.)

With I-1366 buried, the Legislature has one less problem to deal with.

It may be out of session and most of its members are focused on getting reelected, but the 2017 session is due to begin in just over seven months, and there’s plenty of advance work to be done to ensure it produces badly needed revenue reforms and a sound budget. As the Supreme Court has noted, the Legislature simply hasn’t been delivering for Washington’s kids and families, and that needs to change.

Those members who are assured of returning (unopposed legislators as well as senators who aren’t on the ballot this year) should all be investing substantive time and energy getting ready for the forthcoming long session. A top priority needs to be identifying solutions for fixing Washington’s upside-down tax code.

The Legislature ought to start by levying a capital gains tax on high earners.

Contrary to what right wing think tanks like the Washington Policy Center say, a capital gains tax can be thoughtfully crafted to reliably provide a modest amount of badly-needed revenue each biennium. Reuven Carlyle and other legislators have been working on this, and they deserve everyone’s full attention and support as they continue to work on producing a polished, refined bill for 2017. Oregon and Idaho levy capital gains taxes, and there’s no reason why we can’t as well.

Past NPI research showed a majority of likely 2015 (odd-year!) voters support a capital gains tax. What’s more, an impressive forty-three percent of respondents in that survey said they strongly supported levying a capital gains tax.

Next, the Legislature should get rid of tax breaks that are no longer serving the public interest, and pass a new accountability law that forces corporations like Boeing to automatically pay back subsidies they received if they do not deliver on their job creation promises, or if they eliminate Washington-based jobs.

The Legislature should also start working on reforming property taxes.

Eyman’s I-747 should be repealed, and a homestead exemption instituted to ensure that middle and low income families’ tax obligations are fair.

Ultimately, a solution that makes property taxes based on wealth would be ideal, though implementation might require a constitutional amendment.

To help school districts with facility construction and modernization (needed to implement lower class sizes), the Legislature should change the Constitution to lower the threshold for passage of bonds from three-fifths (60%) to a simple majority. One proposal we’ve seen to do this would require school districts to submit bonds at general elections; districts would not have the option of sending bond propositions to voters at special elections like they do now.

If that’s something Democrats and Republicans can agree on, then let’s get it approved and placed before voters.

HUGE VICTORY: Unified State Supreme Court rules Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is unconstitutional!

This morning, in another landmark decision, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously affirmed King County Superior Court Judge William Downing’s ruling striking down Tim Eyman‘s draconian Initiative 1366 as unconstitutional in its entirety — relegating the mean-spirited, Ted Cruz-inspired hostage-taking scheme to Washington’s political graveyard forever.

This is a huge victory. As I said in our statement to the mass media, we’re absolutely elated and grateful to our Court for upholding our Constitution and putting a stop to Tim Eyman’s outrageous abuse of our initiative power.

The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen and signed by Associate Justices Charlie Wiggins, Susan Owens, Charles Johnson, Mary Fairhurst, and Debra Stephens, found that I-1366 violated the single-subject rule of our Constitution and was unconstitutional on that basis.

“We hold that the opponents to 1-1366 have taxpayer standing and this case is justiciable,” wrote Madsen. “We also hold that 1-1366 contains two operative, unrelated provisions and does not constitute valid contingent legislation. Thus, we hold that 1-1366 violates the single-subject rule and that it is void in its entirety. Because it is unnecessary to reach opponents’ additional arguments, we decline to do so. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”

Associate Justices Steven González, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, and Mary Yu filed a short concurring opinion agreeing with the majority, but arguing for a different rationale for finding I-1366 unconstitutional.

“The most direct, simple, and clear way to resolve this case is to recognize that Initiative 1366 sets Article XXIII on its head,” the three justices said.

“The initiative ignores the constitutionally required first step—the proposal of a constitutional amendment in either house. The initiative then skips the constitutionally required second step — a [two-thirds] vote in each house approving the amendment — and jumps directly to something like the third-ratification of the voters before any vote in the legislature. Only then does it jump back to the constitutionally mandated second step — a two-thirds vote of each house to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot. Initiatives are not the proper vehicle to amend the constitution. Initiative 1366 is unconstitutional.”

Maden’s single-subject analysis was guided by the Court’s previous decisions in Amalgamated Transit Union (2000) and Kiga (2001), in which the Court struck down Tim Eyman’s I-695 and I-722 as unconstitutional, respectively.

Madsen astutely noted:

In its essence, I-1366 mirrors I-695 and I-722. Section 2 of 1-1366 specifically sets the sales tax rate at 5.5 percent, just as I-695 specifically set license tab fees at $30 and I-722 provided for a one-time nullification and refund of a specific tax. Section 3 of I-1366 proposes a constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority vote or voter approval to raise all taxes and legislative approval to increase any fees. In other words, section 3 requires the creation of a permanent, systemic change in approving all future tax increases, which is similar to the voter approval for tax increases provision of I-695 and the property tax assessment provision of I-722.

There’s a reason, by the way, for these parallels: Tim Eyman doesn’t believe in the plan of government our state’s Founders gave us. He is obsessed with sabotaging the Constitution to take away the Legislature’s power to raise revenue and levy taxes. That’s what most of his initiatives have tried to do, from I-695 to I-1366. And consequently, most of them have been struck down because they attempted to nullify provisions of our Constitution… provisions like Article II, Section 22, which says that bills shall pass by majority vote.

Initiatives are like bills: they can be used to create, modify, or repeal statutes, but they cannot alter Washington’s Constitution, its highest law.

Again and again, Eyman has come up against Washington’s Constitution in his attempts to radically alter how the Evergreen State is governed. And that’s no accident. Our Founders had the foresight to craft a plan of government modeled on that of the United States that would last Washington a long time. Today’s Supreme Court decision is further proof that the system they gave us works, and works well.

It matters not to Eyman that Article VII (Revenue and Taxation) declares flatly, “The power of taxation shall never be suspended, surrendered or contracted away.”

It matters not to Eyman that Article II, Section 22 declares that bills in the Legislature shall pass only by majority vote (which means greater than fifty percent of legislators in each house: no more, and no less).

And it matters not to Eyman that Article 19, also of Article II, says, “No bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.”

As a citizen, Eyman does not have the power to propose constitutional amendments, so he is not in a position to directly attack the provisions I just mentioned that he doesn’t like. It’s why he tried to coerce lawmakers into doing his bidding with I-1366. Article XXIII of Washington’s Constitution gives only elected legislators (representatives and senators) the power to introduce amendments.

But Eyman doesn’t care. Year after year, he has convinced wealthy men to give him huge sums of money to force statewide votes on Trojan horse schemes purposely intended to wreck our government. And just about every time he’s gotten one of these past the voters, those of us committed to the protection of our Constitution have dutifully gone to court to get them thrown out.

The Supreme Court has now struck down a total of seven Eyman initiatives: I-695, I-722, I-747, I-960/I-1053/I-1185, I-1366.

More than a decade and a half have passed since Tim Eyman became a full-time initiative promoter. By now, it should be abundantly clear to everyone — Republicans, independents, and Democrats, progressives, biconceptuals, and conservatives — that Tim Eyman is not interested in working constructively with others to build a better state. He relishes being a demolition crew chief, taking a wrecking ball to the commons and putting our Constitution through the shredder. His objective is to tear down what makes Washington great.

If that weren’t bad enough, Eyman is also a serial cheater who regularly violates Washington’s public disclosure laws and lies to his own donors and followers. Many people have found out the hard way that Eyman is not to be trusted.

If you ask us, Eyman is unquestionably a candidate for the title of person who best personifies greed in Washington. Sadly, charlatans like him are an increasingly powerful force in our politics. There are a lot of disturbing parallels between Eyman and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

It’s fitting that Eyman’s associates are all Trump supporters. Doug Ericksen and Don Benton, who are among the Senate Republicans closest to Eyman, are Trump’s top surrogates in the state. Eyman’s cohort Mike Fagan was a speaker at Trump’s Spokane rally. And Eyman, who shares a middle name (Donald) with The Donald, has implied in his emails that he’s a Trump fan, too.

(Birds of a feather flock together, as they say….)

While today’s ruling striking down I-1366 is a wonderful victory, we know that it’s unlikely to deter Eyman. If he can persuade his benefactors to give him more money, he’ll be back with another scheme. But we also believe that with every defeat, Eyman gets a little weaker and loses a little more credibility. The nexus of people around him seems to keep getting smaller and smaller.

That is a very good thing. The people of Washington can count on us to continue our work maintaining a first line of defense against Eyman’s awful initiatives and his toxic politics. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Eyman may be relentless, but we are even more relentless. The very first thing I said here on the Cascadia Advocate last November when early returns showed I-1366 passing was, it’s time to go back to court to bury this piece of garbage. That is just what we have done, thanks to the great work of Paul Lawrence and his team at Pacifica Law Group.

Thank you to everyone who has kept NPI and Permanent Defense going in the fight to protect the state we love from Tim Eyman’s initiative factory. We proudly and joyfully share today’s victory for Washington’s future with you.

Hillary Clinton wins Washington’s (nonbinding) Democratic presidential primary

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has swept to victory in Washington’s 2016 Democratic presidential primary, which the party won’t be using to allocate any delegates to the 2016 DNC in Philadelphia, early results show.

With 661,403 ballots cast and counted so far, Clinton has a healthy 47,973 vote lead over Bernie Sanders, and is ahead in the state’s most populous counties, including the Big Three (King, Pierce, and Snohomish).

However, Jefferson, San Juan, and Whitman counties — which tend to vote against Tim Eyman’s destructive initiatives more reliably than any county except for King — were backing Sanders. So were voters in Whatcom and Thurston counties.

Sanders also had leads in a number of eastern Washington counties that don’t usually support Democratic candidates at any level.

Because the Washington State Democratic Party’s Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan provides for national convention delegates to be allocated to candidates through caucuses, tonight’s primary results are essentially a straw poll with a massive number of participants. In other words, they’re symbolic.

Sanders completely routed Clinton in the March 26th Democratic presidential precinct caucuses and subsequent April 17th legislative district caucuses, where the delegates to the congressional district level were chosen.

The just-held congressional district caucuses on Saturday, May 21st produced a statewide allocation of seventy-four national delegates for Sanders, and twenty-seven for Clinton. This allocation will be used at the State Convention next month when the at-large and PLEO (Party Leader and Elected Official) delegates — which represent about a third of the total of pledged delegates — are chosen.

State law requires elections officials to hold a presidential primary every four years, but in practice, it has been held every eight years (when there is no incumbent President seeking reelection). The Legislature opted to fund the election in its biennial budget last year, and accordingly, it was duly held.

As elections officials stressed in the voter’s pamphlet and elsewhere, what the parties do with the results is up to them. The parties have a First Amendment right to freely assemble, and it’s up to their governing bodies to decide what rules and procedures to use in the nominating of candidates.

The Washington State Democratic Party has a long tradition of allocating its national convention delegates through the caucus and convention cycle. The Party’s State Central Committee (which I am a member of) voted overwhelmingly to stick with that tradition last year when it drew up its DNC-approved 2016 Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan (DSAAP).

However, 2016 may be the last cycle with a caucus-only DSAAP. An increasing number of Democratic activists have come to the conclusion that it would be worthwhile to incorporate a primary into the DSAAP, while retaining the caucuses for the purposes of delegate selection. This is the approach that I myself favor.

With a binding primary, we’d get more participation than with the caucuses.

Utilizing a primary to allocate all the national convention delegates would allow people who want to have a say in the nominating process to participate without having to show up at a caucus. Party leaders would then be free to organize caucuses and conventions for a smaller number of participants who actually want to be there. Those interested in coming together in person to build a platform, run for delegate, pass resolutions, and meet Democratic activists from their area would continue to be able to do all those things in a hybrid primary+caucus system.

There’s no way of knowing how the results would have turned out had today’s primary been a binding election, with delegate allocation on the line.

As NPI’s President Robert Cruickshank has pointed out, neither of the Democratic presidential campaigns ran any GOTV (get-out-the-vote) operations in advance of the primary. Still, it’s worth noting that Washington’s four million plus voters were mailed ballots, and more than a quarter of them sent them back. There are still a lot of votes left to count, too, so the turnout will continue to go up.

How does this compare to caucus turnout? Well, the state party says around 230,000 people participated in this year’s Democratic presidential precinct caucuses. So the universe of voters participating in the nonbinding, symbolic Democratic primary (so far) is about three time bigger.

When making comparisons, it’s important to remember that the universe of Democratic voters in Washington is only a subset of the overall electorate. I keep seeing reporters and commentators measure Democratic caucus turnout against the total number of registered voters. When you do that, it yields a figure of around 6%. But this figure is totally meaningless, because not every Washington voter is a Democratic voter interested in helping choose the party’s nominees.

Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that one in every four registered voters identifies with the Democratic Party. There are currently 4,087,920 voters on our state’s rolls at present, so that’s a universe of 1,021,980 Democratic voters. By doing some simple arithmetic, we can see that 230,000 of 1,021,980 is 22.5%. That’s a much more respectable turnout figure than 6%.

Of course, we can’t know for sure exactly how many of the state’s voters consider themselves Democratic, since we don’t have party registration in Washington. We can only guess and use survey data to make our guesses educated. Complicating matters, we know whatever the number is, it’s a fluctuating figure.

In presidential years, the number of voters who tell pollsters they’re Democratic voters is markedly higher than in midterm or local election years.

In 2012, for instance, Public Policy Polling conducted surveys in which 36% of respondents identified themselves as Democrats.

If we go by that four year old figure and assume that 36% of Washington voters are Democratic voters, then our universe is 1,471,651 voters. 230,000 of 1,471,651.2 is approximately 15.6%, which is still a lot higher than 6%.

I’m impressed that although the mass media has been advising voters for weeks that the Washington Democratic presidential primary was only symbolic (and the Republican contest over), more than a quarter of the state’s registered voters sent back their ballots anyway. And a majority of the returned ballots are Democratic, befitting of Washington’s status as a blue state.

The last time Washington held a presidential primary was eight years ago, in 2008, during the marquee matchup between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Then, as now, the primary was held after the precinct caucuses had been held. (Both events were in February, as opposed to March and May).

Obama easily defeated Clinton in the caucuses, then went on to win the non-binding, “straw poll” primary by a much narrower margin.

Obama received 354,112 votes (51.22% of the total), while Clinton got 315,744 (45.67%). A total of 691,381 votes were cast in that election, compared to 661,403 this year. 111,200 ballots are on hand that have yet to be processed by county elections officials, according to the Secretary of State.

Assuming around half of those are Democratic ballots, we are already on track to surpass the 2008 Democratic turnout. That’s noteworthy, especially considering that 2016 Democratic precinct caucus turnout didn’t quite match the high-water mark set in February 2008 when Obama and Clinton were squaring off.

It should also be noted that the 2008 primary took place much earlier in the nominating season (February 19, 2008 — before many states had voted), while the 2016 primary is taking place rather late in the season (May 24th, 2016 — with most states having already voted).

There may be a correlation between this year’s higher turnout and Washington’s switch to vote-by-mail. For the 2008 elections, voters in urban counties like King and Pierce were not mailed ballots unless they had registered to vote absentee. Since then, however, county elections officials have done away with polling places and everyone gets a ballot in the mail with three weeks to fill it out and return it.

That said, vote-by-mail hasn’t been a guarantor of robust turnout. Last year, Washington experienced its worst-ever general election turnout since voter registration began in the 1930s. Millions of ballots were mailed out, but most were not returned to a drop box or through the Postal Service.

The turnout we’re seeing certainly suggests many voters were enthusiastic about participating in the state’s presidential primary, even if they knew the Democratic Party wasn’t going to utilize the results.

The campaigns may not have done any GOTV, but the disparity between the caucus results and the primary results is still striking.

Though the primary returns won’t influence the delegate allocation, Hillary Clinton supporters can still take solace in knowing that a great many of their friends and neighbors are for Clinton. She’s likely to be the Democratic nominee in July, and she will need Washington in her column to win the presidency this November.

Bernie Sanders wins Oregon’s Democratic primary, completes sweep of Pacific NW

Initial results in Oregon’s 2016 primary election are in, and they show that Bernie Sanders has won the Beaver State as expected, although not by a huge margin.

Of Oregon’s 2,293,928 voters, 954,125 cast ballots, for a total turnout of 41%.

In Oregon, voters register by party, so we can also compare turnout among voters identifying with a party. Slightly more than half of the state’s Democratic voters turned out, which is a reasonably impressive figure for a primary. On the Republican side, turnout was 47.5%. 478,713 Democratic voters cast ballots, compared to 326,226 Republican voters.

Results on the Democratic side for President were as follows:

Candidate Votes Percentage
Hillary Clinton 200,449 45.56%
Bernie Sanders 231,696 52.67%
Write-in Votes 7,786 1.77%
Totals: 439,931 100%

On the Republican side, Donald Trump easily cruised to victory, winning 65.19% of the vote. John Kasich, who suspended his campaign during the mail-in voting period, came in second place with 16.25%. Ted Cruz was third with 15.79%. No other candidates appeared on the ballot for the Republicans.

In other races:

  • Oregon’s senior U.S. Senator Ron Wyden easily won his party’s nomination, capturing 83.76% of the vote. He’ll face Independent Steven Reynolds and Republican Mark Callahan in November.
  • Each of Oregon’s incumbent U.S. Representatives won their party nominations as well. Of the incumbents, Kurt Schrader had the smallest margin of victory, possibly owing to some of the not-progressive votes he’s taken lately in Congress. Here the matchups for the fall:
    • OR-01: Suzanne Bonamici (D) v. Brian J Heinrich (R)
    • OR-02: Greg Walden (R) v. James Carey (D)
    • OR-03: Earl Blumenauer (D) v. David Walker (I)
    • OR-04: Peter A DeFazio (D) v. Art Robinson (R)
    • OR-05: Kurt Schrader (D) v. Colm Willis (R)
  • For Governor, Oregon’s Democratic voters backed Kate Brown, who garnered a commanding 84% of the vote. Republican voters picked Bud Pierce, who dominated a weak field with 46.62% of the vote.
  • In the Secretary of State’s race, Democratic voters nominated Brad Avakian, who triumphed over Richard Devlin and Val Hoyle. Avakian won with 39.12% of the vote compared to Hoyle’s 33.87% and Devlin’s 26.25%. Republicans overwhelmingly nominated Dennis Richardson.
  • There was no drama in the Treasurer’s race, as only one candidate appeared on each ballot. Democrat Tobias Reed will face Republican Jeff Gudman. The Attorney General’s race was also a yawnfest. Democratic incumbent Ellen Rosenblum ran unopposed in the primary. She’ll face Republican Daniel Zene Crowe, who also ran unopposed.
  • Generally speaking, there wasn’t much excitement in the legislative races. However, the 40th District had an interesting contest on the Democratic side for State Representative. Mark Meek captured the nomination with 42.30% of the vote, trailed by Terry Gibson at 29.37% and Steven Cade at 27.84%. There was an even closer race in the 43rd for State Representative. Roberta Phillip-Robbins narrowly beat out Tawna Sanchez for the Democratic nomination. She had 49.51% to Sanchez’s 47.69%.

Complete state-level results can be viewed here.

In Portland, Oregon’s largest city, there were some lopsided results:

  • Ted Wheeler has won the crowded primary for Mayor of Portland. With 66,271 votes, he’s well ahead of everybody else.
  • For Commissioner Position 1, voters backed Amanda Fritz. For Position 4, they backed Steve Novick.

Results for Multnomah County can be viewed here.

Oregon is the third and final state in the inner Pacific Northwest to hold a nominating event on the Democratic side.

Washington Democrats held caucuses on March 26th, while Idaho Democrats caucused several days prior on March 22nd. Alaska and Hawaii Democrats also joined Washington Democrats in holding caucuses on March 26th.

Montana will be the last state in the Pacific Northwest to weigh in. Its primary will take place at the end of the season, on June 7th, along with California, New Jersey, South Dakota, and New Mexico. North Dakota Democrats will also caucus that day.

The District of Columbia will hold its primary on June 14th, 2016, at the very end of the nominating calendar. At that point, all U.S. jurisdictions will have held nominating events, and the season will have drawn to a close.

Bernie Sanders wins in West Virginia; celebrates with victory speech in Oregon

Defying the naysayers who have suggested he’s out of fuel and momentum, Bernie Sanders scored another late-in-the-season victory tonight by scoring what could be a double-digit victory in West Virginia’s Democratic primary.

With 65.7% of precincts reporting, Sanders had around 51% of the vote (an outright majority), with Clinton well behind at 36.5%. A few gadflies accompanied Martin O’Malley in the single digits.

West Virginia Democratic Presidential Primary Results
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Candidate Percentage Votes
Bernie Sanders 51% 86,406
Hillary Clinton 36.5% 61,780
Paul Farrell 8.7% 14,783
Keith Judd 1.8% 3,103
Martin O’Malley (inactive) 1.5% 2,622
Rocky De La Fuente 0.4% 755

Speaking at a rally in Salem, Oregon, Sanders cheered the result and declared that he is in it to win it, even though the math is hard. “We can do arithmetic,” he said, in a swipe at the pundits who have suggested he’s ignoring the data that shows Clinton is on her way to clinching the nomination.

Meanwhile, his campaign tweeted, “Thank you to the people of West Virginia for the tremendous victory they gave us today.”

Attendees at the Sanders rally roared their approval when Sanders declared that fearmonger and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump must be defeated in the November 2016 general election. Sanders touted polls showing that he does better against Trump in head-to-head matchups, as he often does on the stump.

Clinton’s campaign has so far opted not to comment on the results, instead choosing to tweet out a picture of Hillary Clinton with a group of moms.

Sanders’ endurance is giving some of Clinton’s establishment backers heartburn.

Former DNC Chairman Don Fowler groused to Politico, “The defeat in Indiana I was just horrified at, frankly… The longer Bernie stays in, and the longer he is not mathematically out of the process, the weaker we’re going to seem to be.”

Fowler should quit worrying and enjoy the ride. A competitive Democratic contest that runs all the way through nominating season is good for partybuilding. It gives people in all fifty states plus the territories a reason to turn out and participate. And it’s good for whoever becomes the nominee because it ensures they have a reason to be out campaigning and working to earn votes.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton herself went the distance with Barack Obama, and refused to drop out until Obama had the nomination sewn up. She announced that she would suspend her campaign on June 7th, 2008. The Democratic Party subsequently unified around Barack Obama, who went on to win a sweeping victory in the November 2008 general election.

Clinton did not do Obama a disservice by staying in the race all the way through nominating season in 2008. Likewise, Bernie Sanders is not hurting Clinton by keeping his campaign active this year. The time for unity is approaching, but in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with letting the people vote.

The next states to hold contests will be Kentucky and Oregon. Oregon will be the last of the states in the Pacific Northwest to hold a nominating event on the Democratic side. (Washington, Alaska, and Idaho held caucuses in March.)

Donald Trump clinches the Republican nomination as John Kasich quits campaign

Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump clinched the Republican Party’s presidential nomination on Wednesday as his last remaining rival, Ohio Governor John Kasich, dropped out of the race, having concluded that there was no path to victory at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Kasich began his press conference by waxing nostalgic about his campaign, thanking his wife, his children, his campaign manager, advisers, and volunteers, as well as recollecting memories from the campaign trail.

“We were never, ever daunted,” Kasich said, hailing his staff’s efforts. “We just got up every day and did the best we can.”

He then proceeded to lavish praise on his constituents in Ohio before fondly recalling a few more memories from the campaign trail (in South Dakota, in New Hampshire, in New York, in Michigan) and criticizing the mass media for not understanding him or his reasons for running for President.

“As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith that the Lord will show me the way forward,” he said before concluding his remarks and walking away.

Kasich’s exit leaves Donald Trump as the last candidate standing in what was originally a crowded, seventeen person field contending for the nomination. Now the anti-Trump forces within the Republican Party are without a candidate. They have failed in their mission. Their party is now Trump’s party.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, in the wake of the Indiana Republican primary, Ted Cruz also quit the race, leading Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus to tweet that Trump was “the presumptive nominee”.

The timing of Cruz and Kasich’s announcements could not have come at a worse time for the Washington State Republican Party. The end of the Republican presidential contest comes just as ballots are being mailed out for Washington State’s May 24th presidential primary. WSRP Chair Susan Hutchison and her surrogates had been looking forward for months to a competitive primary.

Now, there won’t be one. People can still cast their ballots, of course, but the national media spotlight isn’t going to be coming to Washington in advance of May 24th. Ted Cruz and John Kasich won’t be coming here to raise money, campaign, or rally supporters. Trump doesn’t need to show up in Washington or Oregon, either… he’s now the presumptive nominee and the last candidate left standing.

With the Republican nomination now pretty much a foregone conclusion, many of the voters the WSRP had been hoping would turn out to participate in the Republican primary may simply neglect to return their ballots.

On the Democratic side, there are still two candidates, but Washington Democrats opted last year to use caucuses to allocate all of their national convention delegates, so Washington’s 2016 presidential primary will wind up being a completely meaningless, eleven and a half million dollar straw poll.

To all of the conservative intellectuals and principled right wing activists who had joined forces to oppose Trump, this is a pretty awful moment. They had vowed never to allow their party to nominate Donald Trump, but they failed. The 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland is going to be a Trumpfest.

Republicans who oppose Trump are left with two unpalatable, distasteful choices: join the bandwagon, or withhold their support from their own party’s presumptive nominee. Some view Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils, and seem prepared to vote for her in the event of a Trump/Clinton matchup.

For Washington Republicans, Trump’s presence on the top of the ticket this autumn could be disastrous. Republicans, desperately hungry for power, hope to win majorities in both houses of the Legislature this year. All of their candidates will now have to run in the shadow of Donald Trump, who will increasingly define the Republican brand and what it means to be a Republican.

2016 may well be a Democratic wave election with significant downballot effects. It could also be something else… we can’t be sure what the future holds.

Research shows that pretty much everything Trump stands for is distasteful to a majority of Washingtonians. When it comes to presidential contests, Washington is firmly in the Democratic column. It hasn’t awarded its electoral votes to a Republican in over thirty years. George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney all lost Washington to their Democratic opponents. And in recent cycles, Democrats have cleaned up in statewide races.

The only Republican left in the executive department is Secretary of State Kim Wyman, and Democrats are seeking to replace her with Tina Podlodowski this autumn. Podlodowski’s candidacy has been extremely well received in the Democratic Party, and she’s getting early endorsements from all over. Republicans view Podlodowski as a huge threat and are trying to raise $1 million for Wyman to defend the last statewide office they hold on the Left Coast.

Ted Cruz ends presidential campaign after losing to Donald Trump in Indiana

Reactionary right wing Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has ended his presidential campaign following his loss in the Indiana Republican primary to fiery real estate mogul Donald Trump, who will now almost certainly be the Republican nominee.

“What you have done, the movement you have started is extraordinary,” Cruz told somber supporters towards the end of a long concession speech.

“I love each and every one of you. From the beginning I have said i would continue on as long as there was a path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed. Together, we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got. The voters chose another path.”

“With a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign,” Cruz said.

Responding to Cruz’s announcement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus acknowledged that Trump was now the “presumptive nominee.

Cruz’s decision to end his campaign means he will not be showing up in Washington State for the events that he had planned for next week, including a fundraisier at a private home on the Eastside co-hosted by Dino Rossi.

The only other credible candidate left standing is Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has a minuscule number of delegates and is running on fumes.

Cruz’s decision to withdraw from the race is a severe blow to Susan Hutchison and the Washington State Republican Party, for it means the forthcoming Washington Republican primary is unlikely to be competitive. Ballots for that election are just about to go into the mail. The deadline to return them will be Tuesday, May 24th.

It’s possible the anti-Trump factions of the party will now rally around Kasich. But that is unlikely to make Kasich competitive. Cruz had much built a deeper base of support, aided by figures like Glenn Beck and, more recently, former rival Carly Fiorina. If anyone was to come from behind and overtake Trump, it was going to be Cruz, who had outlasted a bevy of rivals, from Jeb Bush and Chris Christie to Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, who ended their campaigns back in the winter.

Only a few hours ago, The Seattle Times published a story by political reporter Jim Brunner announcing that Cruz planned a major tour of Washington State and hyping the forthcoming Republican primary. The lede to that story was as follows:

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz plans a campaign swing across Washington state this week, scheduling rallies Wednesday in Spokane and Thursday in Bothell and Vancouver.

The Texas senator trails front-runner Donald Trump in the race for the GOP presidential nomination — and may face even longer odds if Trump wins a key Indiana primary Tuesday.

But Cruz has a strong organization in Washington and is looking for a win here in the May 24 primary, with 44 delegates at stake. Primary ballots go out this week.

The story went on to summarize Cruz’s planned Washington events:

On Thursday morning, Cruz plans a rally at Cedar Park Christian School in Bothell , 16300 112th Ave N.E., according to campaign sources. Tickets for the free event were being advertised on Eventbrite, an online ticketing service. He’ll hold a rally later that day in Vancouver, Wash.

Cruz’s Washington trip will start with a rally 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Spokane Convention Center, his campaign announced in a news release.

Later that night, Cruz is scheduled to attend a private fundraiser at a home in Redmond. Tickets for that event cost $1,000 a person, or $2,700 to get into a VIP reception with the candidate.

Now that Cruz is out, all those events have been canceled.

Once Cruz had announced his decision to end his campaign, the article above was swiftly replaced by the Times with a new story at the same URL featuring reaction from Cruz’s Washington State campaign chairman (who professed himself shocked) and Tim Eyman ally Doug Ericksen, an enthusiastic Donald Trump booster. The original story is gone from the Times’ website, as if it never existed.

Earlier in the nominating season, pundits speculated that Washington might be the kind of state that could give John Kasich a boost, if he could survive that long.

But our guess is that when the results are posted on May 24th, Donald Trump will have won Washington’s Republican primary in a rout, vanquishing his rivals in much the same way that he has in other states across the country.

That’s certainly what the Washington State Democratic Party expects.

“The Republican party is now officially the party of Trump,” said Jaxon Ravens, State Democratic Party Chair. “Republicans chose as their standard bearer a reality television show host who regularly makes hateful and dangerous remarks about women, Hispanics, and Muslims. Donald Trump may be a good reflection of the Republican party’s values, but his views are deeply inconsistent with Washington state’s values of compassion, empathy, diversity, and inclusion.”

“There’s no doubt that Trump’s presence on the top of the ticket will poison the already weak Republican brand in Washington state,” he concluded.

Kudos to the Seattle City Council for voting down street vacation for Chris Hansen

Yesterday, in a landmark five to four vote, the Seattle City Council turned down a request by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen to vacate part of Occidental Avenue South in the city’s South Downtown (SoDo) neighborhood.

Hansen, who has been engaged in a multi-year quest to return an NBA franchise to Seattle, had petitioned the city to transfer the aforementioned public right of way to his arena enterprise he could unify multiple pieces of property he owns in order to proceed with plans for constructing a new sports palace south of Safeco Field.

But a majority of the Council (Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold, Kshama Sawant, Debora Juarez, and Lorena González) wisely voted against giving Hansen the street.

Bagshaw and Herbold had made their feelings on the matter clear well in advance, but Sawant, Juarez, and González waited until Monday to say how they would vote. González summed up her decision by declaring, “I believe it’s in the city’s best interest to protect the jobs we know we have rather than sell the street for hypothetical jobs that are contingent on a hypothetical team.”

The Council is to be commended for turning down Hansen’s petition. It’s not easy to say no to a wealthy individual with a league of vocal allies, including influential personalities on sports talk radio. But it had to be done, for Chris Hansen’s agenda is simply not in the city or the region’s best interest.

Hansen, an out of state billionaire, sees SoDo as the perfect place to build a new entertainment district anchored by a flashy sports palace. He’s convinced a lot of people desperate to see the Sonics return that his plans are well thought out and wouldn’t adversely impact the nearby seaport or our maritime sector.

But just about everyone who actually has a stake in the maritime sector has rejected Hansen’s vision for SoDo, including the Port and the ILWU.

We all know — or should know — that talk is cheap. Especially considering his track record, Hansen’s promises and assurances aren’t worth much.

The truth is, Hansen doesn’t have an NBA team secured, which his master agreement with the city and the county says he needs in order to begin construction on an arena. Nor is the prospect of a team on the horizon. Top NBA brass recently reiterated they’re not ready to even talk about expansion yet.

Since Hansen has no team and is unlikely to have one before his original master agreement expires, it would have been foolish and premature to continue down the path of clearing the decks for a third arena smack in the middle of SoDo.

Councilmember Debora Juarez astutely observed before the vote that a basketball arena can potentially be built in a number of different places, but a deep water port cannot. And she is absolutely correct.

If the people and elected leadership of Seattle desire to lure the NBA back here by partnering with a potential owner on an arena project — a goal NPI is happy to support — then the city needs to collaboratively and thoughtfully weigh all the options. That includes a potential refurbishment of KeyArena, where the Sonics played for many, many years before Clay Bennett and his Raiders stole them away.

This organization would like to see the NBA award a new Sonics franchise to Seattle, but not at the cost of jeopardizing our maritime and industrial sectors.

Our maritime jobs are some of the best-paying jobs that we have. Our brothers and sisters in the ILWU and other unions have been fighting to protect these jobs for a long time — often without recognition or appreciation. Our seaport is a working waterfront; it is one of the engines of our region’s economy.

“The maritime companies are real, contributing to the economy, paying wages,” Jon Talton noted in a column today. “The NBA and NHL teams are not real (yet). If these leagues want to be part of Seattle, they will make an effort. We don’t have to beg like some needy burg in nowhere.” He’s right.

It is important to remember that before Seattle was a high-tech hub, it was a seaport city, and it remains one today.

Seattle’s working waterfront and status as a gateway to the Pacific is so central to its identity, in fact, that the city’s Wikipedia page begins as follows:

Seattle (i/siˈætəl/) is a West Coast seaport city and the seat of King County. With an estimated 662,400 residents as of 2015,[2] Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

There is no reason why Seattle cannot both protect its maritime sector and win a new NBA franchise to replace the team that now plays in Oklahoma City.

These have only been perceived as conflicting goals in recent years because of Chris Hansen’s plans for SoDo. Regrettably, the City of Seattle and King County gave tacit blessing to these plans when they signed the aforementioned Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hansen several years ago. That was a bad move.

At the time, Hansen was maneuvering to acquire a team in the same fashion that the Raiders got a team for Oklahoma City: by stealing one away from another town. Hansen entered into an agreement to buy the Sacramento Kings from their owners, but that agreement fell apart when the NBA refused to sign off on relocation. The Kings stayed in Sacramento and Hansen’s gambit failed, leaving him empty-handed.

It should be evident now that Chris Hansen is the wrong person to lead the effort to bring the NBA back to Seattle. Time and again, he has exhibited poor judgment, from selecting the wrong site for an arena to attempting to land an NBA franchise by poaching another city’s team instead of lobbying the NBA for a new franchise to violating California’s public disclosure laws when he didn’t get his way.

(Not to mention that time he neglected to pay the City of Seattle in a timely fashion for the work city staff were performing on his arena project.)

This region needs a prospective owner who is committed to the region’s vitality and well-being, including its maritime jobs. It needs somebody who can work effectively with the NBA, its current thirty owners, and league Commissioner Adam Silver.

The ideal partner would be an individual or group of individuals with means who are laser-focused on getting the NBA to commit to beginning the process of expansion, and open-minded as to where the reincarnated Sonics should play. That’s the key. There is no arena project without a team. And it must be a team that Seattle can legitimately call its own — not a team spirited away from somewhere else.

Again, it would be wrong to rob another city of its franchise. We should not want any other community of fans to go through what we went through in 2008.

It truly saddened me back in 2013 to see ardent Sonics fans rooting for Chris Hansen to succeed in uprooting the Kings from Sacramento and bringing them here. That would not have been the return of the Sonics; it would have been the theft of the Kings. How can any Sonics fan complain about what happened here in 2008, and then turn around and excuse Hansen’s actions?

In addition to finding a new partner and letting the MOU with Hansen’s enterprise expire, we need to seriously study the feasibility of refurbishing KeyArena.

I would be very happy to see the Sonics resume play there. It would complete the feeling of a proper homecoming. Neighborhood businesses would surely be happy to see the Sonics back. KeyArena, remember, used to be the Sonics’ house. It was their home court, which they shared with the Storm, Seattle’s WNBA franchise, and the Thunderbirds, who now play in Kent at the ShoWare Center.

I can appreciate that for those who jumped onto Chris Hansen’s bandwagon, yesterday’s vote by the Seattle City Council comes as a disappointment.

But those folks really, really need to look at the big picture. Approval of the street vacation would have been a boon to Hansen, certainly, but not necessarily to the city’s prospects of scoring a team to replace the Sonics of old.

When it comes to expansion/relocation, the league’s executives and owners are in the driver’s seat. They call the shots. Not the Seattle City Council or the Mayor of Seattle. Not the King County Council or the King County Executive. If the NBA doesn’t want to work with Hansen, it doesn’t have to. It can just blow him off, which is essentially what it has been doing ever since it nixed his bid to buy the Kings.

We can’t get the Sonics back unless the NBA says yes to giving us a franchise. If the NBA doesn’t want to collaborate with Hansen (and they’ve signaled repeatedly that they don’t), then Hansen is actually an impediment to the Sonics’ return.

The sooner Chris Hansen is out of the picture, the sooner we can choose a new partner to lead the effort to secure an NBA franchise for our region.

Liveblogging the ninth 2016 Democratic presidential debate from the great Northwest

Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the ninth Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 cycle. I will be watching and sharing impressions of the debate as it progresses. This debate is being held in Brooklyn, New York and is being broadcast by CNN. You can livestream the debate from CNN’s website.

There are two candidates left seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Tonight’s debate will be the first debate in about a month.

The moderators are Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash.

We will begin our live coverage at 6 PM, when the candidates take the stage.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM: We’re off and running, and it didn’t take long at all for this debate to get feisty.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM: Dana Bash wants to know… why doesn’t Clinton release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs and put the issue to rest?

Clinton is really, really struggling with her answer to this. She keeps trying to change the subject, and it isn’t working.

Bernie Sanders says he’s going to release his tax returns from 2014 tomorrow.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM: Wolf Blitzer throws a hostile question Bernie Sanders’ way, asking how Sanders could promote American business around the world, given his “contempt for large U.S. corporations”. Sanders rejects the premise of the question, noting that not all companies disrespect their workers.

Asked how he would bring jobs back to the U.S. without causing the cost of goods to increase, Sanders spoke of rebuilding America’s manufacturing sector and raising the minimum wage. Clinton says she has a plan to do just that.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM: Staying on the topic of raising the minimum wage, Wolf Blitzer asks: “If a Democratic Congress put a $15-an-hour minimum wage bill on your desk, would you sign it?” Clinton says she absolutely would.

Sanders, reacting with surprise, began giving his response, while Clinton tried to interrupt. The candidates are really talking over each other here.

Given a chance to explain her more nuanced position, Clinton says she supported the fight for $15 in cities like Los Angeles and Seattle.

“I have taken my cue from senators like Patty Murray,” she added, name-checking Washington’s senior senator.

“Of course, if we have a Democratic Congress, we will go to $15.”

“Patty Murray has introduced legislation to increase the minimum wage to $12, that’s good. I’ve introduced legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15; that’s better,” Sanders said in response.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM: We’ve moved on to the topic of gun safety and gun responsibility. Bernie Sanders is defending his record on this subject, saying in 1988 he lost his congressional bid in part because he supported banning assault weapons. Clinton scoffed at that, and repeated her claims that Sanders was in the wrong for voting against the Brady Bill five times, and wrong for supporting legislation that gave the gun lobby immunity from lawsuits.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM: Now talking about the 1994 crime bill. Was it a net positive, or in retrospect, what was it mistake?

Clinton says she’s sorry for the adverse consequences the legislation has had, but pointedly noted it was her husband who signed the bill.

Sanders reminded viewers that the 1994 crime bill included the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and banned assault weapons… so it wasn’t all bad.

“We’ve got to have the guts to rethink the War on Drugs,” Sanders added.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM: Sanders was just asked a follow-up question about ending mass incarceration; he said his plan is to bring progressives and conservatives together in the states to reduce the nation’s overall prison population.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM: We’re back and talking about the climate crisis. Sanders is aggressively going after Clinton over fracking.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM: Defending her advocacy of fracking, Clinton calls natural gas “a bridge” to the future (meaning, a transitory energy source that’s better than coal or oil but not as good as wind and solar.)

UPDATE, 7:03 PM: “Little steps are not enough,” Sanders declared in response. “We’ve got to tell the fossil fuel industry: their short term profits are not more important than the health of this planet.”

He asks Clinton if she’d support a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM: Pressed on whether his energy proposal would “drive this country back to coal and undermine his fight against global warming”, Sanders talked about the need to ambitiously build rooftop solar, weatherize buildings, and protect jobs as the country transitions to a renewable energy future.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM: We’re talking about U.S. support for NATO now. Sanders says European countries should be paying more of the defense budget. Clinton agrees, and says there are obligations that are not being met, and those requirements need to be enforced. Clinton goes on to call NATO the most successful military alliance in history, and it would be strengthened, not dissolved.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM: For the first time in these Democratic debates, we’re having a lengthy, in-depth discussion about Israel and Palestine. Bernie Sanders, who says he’s “100% pro-Israel”, also maintains that the Palestinian people need to be treated with respect and dignity, or there will not be peace.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM: Bernie Sanders has given some of the best answers of the night in response to these questions about Israel and Palestine. He’s correct: There are most certainly two sides to this conflict. Israel may have the right to defend itself, but we should not have a one-sided approach to addressing this conflict.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM: Now back from the break.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer immediately trotted out another hostile “gotcha” question for Sanders about the costs of his proposals. Sanders disputed the data used as the premise of the question, and pointed out that many other developed countries provide access to healthcare and a tuition-free college education to their people.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM: We’ve now moved on to talking about Social Security. Wolf Blitzer asks Clinton (yes or no), would you scrap the cap?

Clinton did not immediately say yes, but gave a more lengthy answer detailing her support for asking wealthy families to pay more into Social Security.

“I think we are in vigorous agreement here,” Clinton told Sanders, at one point during the testy back and forth between the two.

Clinton did contribute one very important point to the discussion: no matter who gets the nomination, they’re going to need a cooperative Democratic Congress to work with in order to accomplish key priorities like expanding Social Security or making college more affordable or tuition-free.

UPDATE, 7:48 PM: Clinton just called out the moderators of this and eight previous debates for failing to ask any questions about reproductive rights. The audience responded with rousing applause.

UPDATE, 7:52 PM: The candidates are now talking about Democratic politics and the future of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders touted polls showing that he does better than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump; Clinton pointed out she’s received more votes so far this nominating season.

Sanders fielded a hostile question from CNN about his participation in Democratic Party politics, noting that he has helped raise money for the DSCC, to help Democrats get elected to the United State Senate.

Rosemary McAuliffe announces her retirement from the Washington State Senate

Longtime education champion Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1st District: Bothell, Kirkland, Clearview) announced today in a press release that she has decided not to seek reelection in 2016, ending a decades-long career in the Legislature that began with her victory in the “Year of the Woman” in 1992.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the 1st Legislative District for twenty-three years. While I have decided to finish out this year and not seek re-election, I will without a doubt continue to be involved in my communities.” said McAuliffe, adding: “I appreciate the support of my community. It is now time to come home and be with friends and family, and with my husband Jim. I am excited about future plans, whatever they may be. It has truly been an honor to serve.”

McAuliffe’s colleagues lauded her service.

“Just saw the news that my friend and colleague Rosemary McAuliffe is retiring,” said Senator Marko Liias of the 21st District. “She has always had a heart for kids, and she has never forgotten that we need excellent teachers to get them the education they deserve. Thanks for a long record of great work.”

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with Senator Rosemary McAuliffe for our shared constituents in the 1st Legislative District, most recently to protect the Wayne Golf Course for habitat and open space in perpetuity,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “She’s been a longtime champion for kids and education; her leadership and advocacy for our constituents will be missed.”

McAuliffe’s seatmate, Representative Luis Moscoso, announced he will run to take McAuliffe’s place in the Washington State Senate — with her blessing. Here’s his letter to Democratic activists in the 1st District:

Dear Friends:

I want you to be the first to know that I’ll be announcing my candidacy for the Senate tomorrow. I am pleased to have the endorsements of Senator McAuliffe and my seat mate Derek Stanford. Thank you both for believing in me.

I look forward to working with all of you in a my campaign. This will be a historic venture and I will need all your help to succeed. I want to be sure to carry forward the work Senator McAuliffe has so ably done for the 1st LD this past quarter century.

Much of the legislation I’m already deeply involved in; like the Washington Voting Rights Act, Public Safety and Prison Reform, and a myriad of transportation concerns, will be major campaign issues for us here in the 1st LD.

Our Democratic values and principles will be tested in this Presidential election year. And I know we can prevail with your help. Thanks again for all your support these past 6 years in the House as well as the encouragement you’ve given me since 2001 when you first elected me as Snohomish County Male Delegate from the LD.

¡Si se puede!

~ Luis

Moscoso will be giving up his House seat to run for the Senate, which means there’s an opening for an aspiring leader at the local level to move on up as well.

The 1st is a fairly Democratic district, and elected Moscoso handily in a tough year for Democrats… so he ought to be able to hold McAuliffe’s seat, and the party should be able to hold on to his House seat as well.

We at NPI thank Senator McAuliffe for her many years of dedicated public service. She’s been in the Legislature for over two decades, and was a Northshore School Board member before that. She has always been a dependable advocate for students, parents, and teachers, working to support Washington’s youth and the hardworking professionals committed to their well-being. She leaves behind a positive legacy in the statehouse.  We wish her all the best.

Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz easily win Wisconsin presidential primaries, results show

Voters in Wisconsin tonight boosted the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz by backing them over Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, preliminary results out of the Badger State show.

Wisconsin Democratic Primary, April 5th, 2016
59.9% Reporting as of 7:10 PM Pacific

Candidate Votes Percentage
Bernie Sanders 354,549 55.8%
Hillary Clinton 278,840 43.9%
Martin O’Malley 961 0.2%
Uninstructed 854 0.1%

“Wisconsin, today you sent a strong message: when we stand together there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Thank you!” tweeted the Sanders campaign.

“The corporate media and establishment keep counting us out, but we keep winning by large margins,” it added in a later tweet.

Hillary Clinton was gracious in defeat.

“Congrats to @BernieSanders on winning Wisconsin. To all the voters and volunteers who poured your hearts into this campaign: Forward! -H,” she tweeted.

Clinton may be losing statewide, but she is narrowly ahead in Milwaukee County.

Milwaukee County Results
President of the United States
Hillary Clinton . . . . . . . . 83,329 50.96
Martin O’Malley . . . . . . . . 183 .11
Bernie Sanders. . . . . . . . . 79,764 48.78
Uninstructed Delegation. . . . . . 167 .10
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 91 .06
Over Votes . . . . . . . . . 0
Under Votes . . . . . . . . . 831

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, it’s not close.

Wisconsin Republican Primary, April 5th, 2016
59.9% Reporting as of 7:10 PM Pacific

Candidate Votes Percentage
Ted Cruz 357,472 50.1%
Donald Trump 234,987 33.0%
John Kasich 103,144 14.5%

Mass media have already projected that Sanders and Cruz are the victors in Wisconsin. Clinton will still wind up with delegates, since the Democrats allocate delegates proportionally in every state. For Republicans, Wisconsin is a winner takes most state, which means Cruz will get the bulk of the state’s delegates (but not all).

Peter Goldmark announces his retirement as Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands

Washington State’s incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands has just announced via Facebook that he’s decided to step down and will not seek a third term in 2016.

Peter J. Goldmark, sixty-nine, has served as the state’s independently elected chief of the Department of Natural Resources since January 2009. He was originally elected in 2008, defeating incumbent Republican Doug Sutherland. He was reelected in 2012, defeating Republican challenger Clint Didier.

In a statement, Goldmark said:

After talking with my family, I have now decided not to seek a third term as Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands. These last eight years have been the highlight of my nearly 40 years of public service. Thank you to the many friends throughout the state who support and guide me. The dedicated staff at DNR are an inspiration every working day. And my gratitude goes to the people of Washington, who have twice given me the honor of choosing me to serve. I look forward to continuing that service until January 2017.

Goldmark, who owns a ranch in Okanogan County and ran against Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress in 2008, is the only current member of the executive department who hails from Eastern Washington. (The other eight members — Jay Inslee, Brad Owen, Bob Ferguson, Kim Wyman, Troy Kelley, Jim McIntire, Randy Dorn, and Mike Kreidler — are from Western Washington).

Two individuals besides Goldmark have filed so far to run for Commissioner of Public Lands in 2016. They are Karen Porterfield, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Dave Reichert in 2012, and Steven M. Nielson of Port Orchard, who identifies as a Libertarian. Porterfield has raised $7,300 to date, according to Public Disclosure Commission data. Nielson has not reported raising any money so far.

Goldmark’s announcement is likely to prompt additional candidates to seek the job of Commissioner of Public Lands. It’s not often the position comes open.

Also retiring from their positions in the executive department this year are Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, Treasurer Jim McIntire, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. Troy Kelley hasn’t said he’s retiring, but we can’t imagine he’s going to seek reelection.

If Kelley doesn’t file for reelection, it will guarantee that a majority of the positions in Washington’s executive department will be turning over as of next January.

We at NPI thank Peter Goldmark for his many years of service to our state as Commissioner and wish him the best in retirement.

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