Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dead heat in WA-08! (King County)

The King County Elections website just posted some updated numbers from yesterday's primary election. The most exciting result - unofficial though it is so far - is that Darcy Burner is running just a few hundred votes behind the incumbent Dave Reichert in King County. Here are the results so far.

Note that since this is the primary, there are several other names on the ballot:

James E. Vaughn (Prefers Democratic Party) 2152 3.16%
Dave Reichert (Prefers Republican Party) 31966 46.88%
Keith Arnold (Prefers Democratic Party) 886 1.30%
Darcy Burner (Prefers Democratic Party) 31566 46.29%

UPDATE: See the raw results yourself.

Reichert is still favored in Pierce, which means his overall lead across the district is larger than what it is in King County.

There are several stunning and exciting things about the King County numbers. First, it's remarkable that Darcy is in a statistical dead-heat with the incumbent, in the primary. All too often, primaries are low turnout affairs, with civic-minded conservatives turning out in larger numbers than progressives.

This year's primary in particular has seen pretty disappointing turnout considering what's at stake in November.

We knew she could (and would) make a strong showing, but still major kudos are in order for Darcy, her campaign team, and every volunteer who called voters, knocked on doors, or helped people to the polls yesterday.

Second, Reichert is garnering comfortably less than fifty percent of the vote. Historically speaking, election cycles in which a sitting congressman can't break fifty percent in the primary nearly always result in that member of Congress losing their office in the general election.

Third, since this is a top-two system, it is clear that Darcy will be the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party. No great surprise.

But look at those percentage numbers again. It is a reasonably safe bet that many, (if not most) of the voters for those other "Prefers Democratic" candidates will come home for Darcy in the general, giving her a shade over 50% to Reichert's 47%. Being as there are no other "Prefers Republican" candidates on the primary ballot, Reichert's potential for improvement in November seems limited at best.

And lastly, one comment about the top-two format.

Much as I think it's a poor excuse for the election reform we really need, it does do one thing for us: it pits Darcy and Dave head-to-head on the same ballot, like they will be in November.

This is pretty unique, and it means that Darcy's strong showing sends a clear signal to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee: don't waste your precious dollars in WA-08 again. It's no secret that the Republicans are defending an awful lot of really weak seats this November, and they'll be lucky if they can keep the bleeding to less than a dozen or so seats.

To do so, they'll be looking long and hard at where to put the comparatively few dollars they have at their disposal.

If the certified results at the end of this primary verify what we're seeing with today's interim results, the message to the RNC will be unmistakable: their six million dollars of 2006 cycle funding bought them two years of rubber-stamp votes for Bush's policies, but they'd be fools to waste another dollar here in 2008.


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