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.

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Only three statewide initiatives likely to show up on Washington’s November 2014 ballot

As of next Sat­ur­day, we will be one month ahead of the August Top Two elec­tion and four months ahead of the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion, which this year fall on the fifth days of each month. Because July 5th is a Sat­ur­day, and because July 4th is a hol­i­day, that means the dead­line for sub­mit­ting sig­na­tures for an ini­tia­tive to the peo­ple is July 3rd — one week from today, at 5 PM sharp.

So far, accord­ing to the Sec­re­tary of State’s office, only two cam­paigns have made appoint­ments to turn in sig­na­tures. The I‑1351 cam­paign, spear­head­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, plans to turn in sig­na­tures for their Class Size Counts ini­tia­tive on Wednes­day, July 2nd at 10:30 AM. The I‑1329 cam­paign, backed by WAmend, is plan­ning to come in on Thurs­day, July 3rd at 2 PM.

The Sec­re­tary of State’s office lists five oth­er ini­tia­tives as in the sig­na­ture gath­er­ing stage, includ­ing Tim Eyman’s I‑1325, which NPI strong­ly opposes.

Eyman launched I‑1325 back in Jan­u­ary and has been attempt­ing to gath­er sig­na­tures for over five months. In years past, he has made an appoint­ment to turn in sig­na­tures by now, but he has­n’t done so this time, pre­sum­ably because he is well short of the num­ber he needs to qual­i­fy I‑1325.

Eyman’s fail­ure to make an appoint­ment is anoth­er indi­ca­tion that I‑1325 is on the verge of fail­ing. On Tues­day, NPI’s Per­ma­nent Defense released its assess­ment of the I‑1325 sig­na­ture dri­ve, after hav­ing made a sig­nif­i­cant effort to track it for many months. The assess­ment con­clud­ed that Eyman’s fail­ure to find a wealthy bene­fac­tor to pour mon­ey into his cof­fers had doomed I‑1325.

Eyman has been reliant on paid sig­na­ture gath­er­ing crews to get onto the bal­lot for near­ly his entire career in pol­i­tics. His ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry sim­ply can’t oper­ate with­out big bucks. Eyman goes to great lengths to pre­tend that that he is the leader of some big con­ser­v­a­tive grass­roots net­work, but the real­i­ty is, he’d have been out of busi­ness long ago were it not for rich back­ers like Michael Dun­mire, Kem­per Free­man, Jr., British Petro­le­um (BP), Cono­coPhillips, and Tesoro.

I‑1325’s demise would be a big deal; it would guar­an­tee an Eyman-free Novem­ber for the first time in eight years, which would be a very good thing for Wash­ing­ton. Amus­ing­ly, in 2006, Eyman had the mon­ey to buy his way onto the bal­lot, but his cam­paign came up short due to his own incompetence.

There’s only been one oth­er year in which Eyman did­n’t make the bal­lot because he did­n’t have a wealthy bene­fac­tor. That was 2003, when he tried to qual­i­fy I‑807, the first of his I‑601 clones. 2003 was also the year that NPI was founded.

With no Eyman ini­tia­tive and no statewide race for elect­ed office, the 2014 bal­lot will look very dif­fer­ent than that of past elec­tion cycles.

There are already two ini­tia­tives head­ed for the Novem­ber bal­lot, and both per­tain to guns: I‑591 and I‑594. NPI oppos­es the for­mer and sup­ports the latter.

The two ini­tia­tives are basi­cal­ly the inverse of each oth­er. I‑594, backed by the Wash­ing­ton Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty, would require back­ground checks for pri­vate gun sales, includ­ing guns sold at gun shows and over the Inter­net. I‑591 would pre­vent back­ground checks from being expand­ed beyond what fed­er­al law requires, thus keep­ing the gun show and Inter­net loop­holes in place.

The Class Size Counts cam­paign is like­ly to make the bal­lot as well; it’s well orga­nized and we hear it is with­in reach of its sig­na­ture gath­er­ing goals. Though the back­ers of I‑1329 have made an appoint­ment to turn in sig­na­tures, as of last week, they had not yet gath­ered half of what they need to make the ballot.

It had seemed ear­li­er this month that a fourth ini­tia­tive, I‑1356, would also be head­ed to the bal­lot. Backed by the Fred Hutchi­son Can­cer Research Cen­ter, the Seat­tle Can­cer Care Alliance, and Seat­tle Chil­dren’s, I‑1356 would have raised tobac­co tax­es and sold bonds to finance can­cer research.

State Trea­sur­er Jim McIn­tire expressed seri­ous con­cerns with the ini­tia­tive, and the spon­sor­ing orga­ni­za­tions ulti­mate­ly decid­ed to pull the plug, despite hav­ing spent hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on sig­na­ture gathering.

The demise of I‑1356, I‑1351, and I‑1325 means that we’ll like­ly be see­ing just three ini­tia­tives on our bal­lot: one relat­ed to class size and two to guns. No ref­er­en­da or con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments will appear on the bal­lot. Aside from the debate over back­ground checks on gun sales, the focus is like­ly to be on the state Sen­ate races. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is mount­ing a major effort to retake the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, which Rod­ney Tom and Tim Shel­don hand­ed to the Repub­li­cans fol­low­ing the 2012 pres­i­den­tial election.

The Democ­rats need to win two of the com­pet­i­tive Sen­ate races to claim an out­right major­i­ty. Tim Shel­don is seek­ing reelec­tion, but Rod­ney Tom has bowed out in NPI’s home dis­trict. As we have pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, his seat is almost cer­tain to be won by Demo­c­ra­t­ic ris­ing star Cyrus Habib. Habib faces only token opposition.

Democ­rats are going after sev­er­al Repub­li­can incum­bents with strong can­di­dates: Matt Isen­how­er is chal­leng­ing Andy Hill in the 45th, Tami Green is going after Steve O’Ban in the 28th, and Rich Cow­an is run­ning against Michael Baum­gart­ner in the 5th. Else­where, Judy Arbo­gast is chal­leng­ing Jan Angel in the 26th, Irene Bowl­ing is step­ping up against Shel­don in the 35th, and Seth Fleet­wood is try­ing to knock out Doug Erick­sen in the 42nd. Repub­li­cans, mean­while, are hop­ing to cap­ture the 30th with Mark Milos­cia, while Democ­rats are try­ing to retain it with Shari Song.

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  1. […] — It would be very nice indeed to have an Eyman ini­tia­tive free year at the polls. […]

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