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

Monday, March 27, 2006

Golden, Goldmark profiled in today's P-I

Democrats Debi Golden and Peter Goldmark, candidates for the 48th Legislative District and the 5th Congressional District, respectively, are each making an impressive appearance in this morning's Seattle P-I.

Peter Goldmark, a 59 year old Okanogan County rancher who recently decided to challenge Cathy McMorris in the 5th Congressional District, is glowingly profiled by Seattle P-I columnist Joel Connelly, whose column today is a must read:
The McMorris-versus- Goldmark race is not likely to be a marquee race for national Democrats this fall. And that is just fine with Goldmark. He intends to be an "independent Democrat" beholden only to the 5th District.

The rural, agricultural Democrat -- nurtured by the New Deal, public power and Grand Coulee Dam -- used to be a constructive part of Washington's political ecology, much like the moderate, urban Republican.
Connelly gives a concise and rich description of Goldmark's background, and gives us a tantalizing glimpse of what we'll likely be seeing from him on the campaign trail.

Goldmark recognizes that unseating McMorris will be an uphill fight. He knows that he must convince the voters of the 5th District that he would be a better representative. And he knows that in order to win, he will have to put some distance between himself and the state Democratic Party, which is unfavorably viewed by many voters throughout the Inland Empire.

We Democrats still have a lot to learn if we want to truly become a big tent party. One thing we have to do is embrace and support candidates like Peter Goldmark, who won't necessarily be able to check off all of the boxes on the stereotypical Democratic laundry list of issue positions.

Some Republicans have dismissed Goldmark, confidently predicting that McMorris will triumph just as she did in 2004 when she easily beat Don Barbieri.

But that's a mistake. As Brian Schweitzer and the Montana Democratic Party showed in 2004, Democrats can win in areas that had previously been consistent in electing Republicans.

If Goldmark runs a strong campaign and works hard to appeal to voters in the 5th District - making it clear that his values are their values - he can make the race very competitive. We believe that he can and will do just that, and we'll be following this race very closely over the next seven months.

Also in the P-I today is a look at the race for state Senate in the 48th Legislative District, where progressive Debi Golden and newly-minted Democrat Rodney Tom are looking to unseat Republican Luke Esser, who admits he's in for a real challenge:
"I'll be the first to confess, it's a competitive district," he said. "But I don't think it's changed radically, or much at all, in the last couple years.
Maybe it hasn't changed radically over the last two years, but over time, the 48th Legislative District has become more and more progressive, as Debi Golden points out:
"I think the district has changed," she said. "It's become much more progressive."

She said Esser is out of touch with those changes.

"He's anti-choice, anti-women basically, I don't think he's good on health care and, even though he's on the Transportation Committee, I think he's obstructionist," she said.

Eastside voters are willing to invest in their priorities such as transportation and education and they support a more liberal social agenda, she said.

"We have good solid working class neighborhoods along with the Gold Coast," Golden said. "And because we have a lot of diversity we also have a lot more tolerance for gender differences -- so yes I support the civil rights bill."

Last year Esser voted against the 9.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax and roads plan.

A few months later, 48th District voters made a strong statement in support of the tax when they shot down Initiative 912, which would have repealed that tax, by a 2-1 margin.
State GOP Chair Diane Tebelius claims that Luke Esser is a great legislator, but she's wrong. He is not. He's completely out of step with his district on important issues like transportation and gay rights.

State Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz is absolutely right: the Eastside is turning Democratic. That's why right wing ideologues like Esser, who won't support equality or investing in transportation improvements, shouldn't be representing the Eastside in Olympia.

After this November, there is a very good possibility that the 48th may be represented exclusively by Democrats: Ross Hunter and Deb Eddy as state representatives, and either Debi Golden (our favorite) or Rodney Tom as the district's senator. The two are competing against each other in the primary this September (and we do hope they both run positive, clean campaigns).

Debi Golden and Peter Goldmark are candidates in completely different races in completely different districts, but they are both representative of the potential blue tidal wave that seems poised to wash over America in the 2006 midterm elections.

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