NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Nathan Schlicher concedes to Jan Angel in the 26th LD following latest ballot tally

After updat­ed returns from Pierce and Kit­sap coun­ties showed Repub­li­can Jan Angel con­tin­u­ing to gain ground for the sec­ond straight day in the fierce­ly-con­test­ed con­test for State Sen­ate in the 26th LD, Nathan Schlicher’s cam­paign announced that Schlich­er had called Angel ear­li­er this evening to con­cede.

“I’m proud of our team, but I think it’s safe to say we won’t be clos­ing the gap,” Schlich­er told the Kit­sap Sun’s Steven Gard­ner.

That’s a pru­dent con­clu­sion giv­en that each new batch of bal­lots count­ed to date have giv­en Angel a wider lead. On Elec­tion Night, Schlich­er was few­er than eight hun­dred votes behind Angel, but as of tonight, he’s 1,543 votes behind.

In Angel, Schlich­er drew the tough­est of oppo­nents. Angel was pre­vi­ous­ly a Kit­sap Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er who was elect­ed to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2008, a year in which Democ­rats did rea­son­ably well, although not as well in state leg­isla­tive races as 2006. She was eas­i­ly reelect­ed in 2010 and 2012.

Hav­ing rep­re­sent­ed Kit­sap Coun­ty and then the 26th LD for years, Angel had strong name recog­ni­tion and a base of sup­port to draw on in and around the Port Orchard area. Democ­rats have tra­di­tion­al­ly count­ed on the Kit­sap por­tion of the 26th LD to sup­ply votes, so Angel’s strength there made her even more of a for­mi­da­ble oppo­nent. Schlich­er was real­ly an incum­bent in name only — Angel was the de fac­to incum­bent in the race because she had already run and won three times.

Schlich­er, hav­ing nev­er run for office before, had to intro­duce him­self to vot­ers, and so found him­self in the posi­tion of being the under­dog despite being the de jure incum­bent. He cam­paigned hard and secured the endorse­ments of The Seat­tle Times, The News Tri­bune, and the Penin­su­la Gate­way, but is com­ing up short. He is doing bet­ter than he did in the win­now­ing elec­tion, but Angel still has a major­i­ty of the vote, and will be the like­ly vic­tor when the elec­tion is cer­ti­fied.

Angel’s appar­ent tri­umph puts Repub­li­cans one seat away from being in out­right con­trol of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, and strength­ens Mark Schoesler’s hand going into 2014. (Schoesler is the Sen­ate Repub­li­can leader. Rod­ney Tom is nom­i­nal­ly the major­i­ty leader of what he and the Repub­li­cans call the “Major­i­ty Coali­tion Cau­cus”. In real­i­ty, Tom is the leader of him­self and Tim Shel­don, in an alliance with Mark Schoesler and the Repub­li­cans.)

The con­test between Schlich­er and Angel was the only leg­isla­tive race this year that pit­ted a Demo­c­rat against a Repub­li­can; there were two oth­er spe­cial elec­tions for Sen­ate in east­ern Wash­ing­ton that were all Repub­li­can affairs.

Democ­rats spent heav­i­ly to help Schlich­er and defeat Angel, while Repub­li­cans spent heav­i­ly to defeat Schlich­er and help Angel. In the end, Democ­rats were ham­pered by Schlicher’s lack of name recog­ni­tion and the usu­al dif­fi­cul­ty of try­ing to get Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers to turn out in an odd-num­bered year. (Demo­c­ra­t­ic turnout is tra­di­tion­al­ly high­er in even-num­bered years, par­tic­u­lar­ly pres­i­den­tial years).

We can see the dif­fer­ence in turnout when we com­pare this year’s num­bers to last years. Cur­rent results show that 39,033 votes have been tal­lied, 20,288 for Angel and 18,745 for Schlich­er. Last year, on the third day of bal­lot count­ing, the Sec­re­tary of State’s office report­ed that 52,297 peo­ple had vot­ed in the elec­tion for State House, Posi­tion 1 in the 26th LD between Jan Angel and Demo­c­rat Karin Ashabran­er. A sim­i­lar num­ber of bal­lots had been split at that point between Demo­c­rat Lar­ry Seaquist and Repub­li­can Doug Richards: 52,027.

That’s a dif­fer­ence of more than thir­teen thou­sand peo­ple.

What’s more, Angel’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent Karin Ashabran­er (who did not give Angel much of a chal­lenge and ulti­mate­ly lost by near­ly a twen­ty point spread) had already received 21,327 votes by the third day of count­ing last year. That’s 2,582 more votes than Schlich­er cur­rent­ly has, and 1,039 more than Angel cur­rent­ly has.

Angel would still have been tough to beat in an even-num­bered year. But I have no doubt Schlich­er would have ben­e­fit­ed from high­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic turnout and Demo­c­ra­t­ic coat­tails had he faced Angel for Sen­ate in 2012. Schlich­er had to run on his own, for the first time, in an off-year elec­tion. There were big inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures on his behalf, but there were also big inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures against him. In the end, van­quish­ing Angel proved to be a hur­dle too high.

I per­son­al­ly hope Schlich­er con­sid­ers run­ning again, either against Angel for Sen­ate next year, or against Angel’s suc­ces­sor for House. He is authen­tic, thought­ful, and knowl­edge­able. The Leg­is­la­ture could use his voice. I glad­ly cam­paigned and can­vassed for him this autumn and I would do it again.

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One Comment

  1. I typ­i­cal­ly vote Demo­c­ra­t­ic, how­ev­er, my aim is to vote for the best can­di­date.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, I met both Schlich­er and Angel in per­son short­ly after I moved to Gig Har­bor and with­in 10 days of one anoth­er. The expe­ri­ence in those two meet­ings tipped the scale deci­sive­ly toward Jan Angel.

    No one is more sur­prised than I am that I vot­ed Repub­li­can, but no con­test.

    # by Deborah :: November 9th, 2013 at 2:28 PM