With voting in Washington’s August Top Two election now beginning, the state’s largest daily newspaper has published the remainder of its endorsements in this cycle’s major races. In what may come as a pleasant surprise to the majority of its readers, The Seattle Times is recommending a Democratic-only slate of candidates in each of the marquee contests that’s on the 2022 ballot.
For United States Senate, the Times is backing Patty Murray. For United States House, in the 8th Congressional District, the Times has embraced Kim Schrier’s bid for a third term. And for Secretary of State, the Times is calling on voters to retain Steve Hobbs to finish the term begun by Republican Kim Wyman.
“Voters should enthusiastically return Murray to the Senate,” the board said. “As her stature has grown, she is able to wield influence for Washington not seen since the days of the late Sens. Henry M. Jackson and Warren Magnuson.”
“If elections are a job review,” the board added, “Murray can be well-judged by what she has delivered to the state, and the values and experience she brings to the national debate. Washingtonians should reelect Murray.”
Of Hobbs, the board said: “In his months in the office, Hobbs has proved adept at addressing its wide range of needs. His agenda includes a statewide text-message system to alert voters of rejected ballots, constructing a long-planned state library and archives building in Tumwater, and making the office’s corporations division more accessible for businesses across the state with new satellite offices.”
“He has earned faith he will see these plans through.”
“Hobbs’ sterling credentials, demonstrated independence, constituent-focused service and proven abilities makes him the best choice for Secretary of State,” the board concluded after mentioning Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson’s candidacy. (Anderson is challenging Hobbs as an independent.)
“Schrier should continue to represent the 8th District. In this difficult year for Democrats, her focus on constituent services and finding practical solutions are needed here, but especially so in the other Washington as well.”
In the final paragraphs of the Schrier recommendation, the board laudably recognized its history of backing Republicans like Dino Rossi and Rob McKenna for high office and explained why they aren’t doing that this year.
“Republican control of the House would likely embolden the worst instincts of the current GOP leadership,” the board noted. “Expect congressional hearings on Hunter Biden, the exit from Afghanistan, alleged election fraud and a host of other issues that don’t make the life of a single American any better. Expect legislation to ban abortion across the nation, state protections be damned.”
“This editorial board has a record of endorsing Republican candidates, and has done so in several state legislative races this year,” the editorial went on to say. “But the language and priorities of national GOP leaders prompt an imperative this November: Keep Democrats in charge of Congress.”
“Vote for Kim Schrier.”
The Times has also endorsed Schrier’s Democratic colleagues Pramila Jayapal, Marilyn Strickland, Adam Smith, and Derek Kilmer. Endorsements of Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen have not yet been published but could be forthcoming.
In previous midterm cycles, as the board freely admitted, the Seattle Times Company has tried to get voters to elect Republicans. In 2006, for example, the board backed Mike McGavick, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Dave Reichert over Maria Cantwell, Peter Goldmark, and Darcy Burner. It recommended that Dino Rossi and Rob McKenna be elected governor in 2008 and 2012.
“While Schrier wants to fight, Rossi promises not to,” the Times inexplicably wrote four years ago. “He wants to go to D.C. and put his budget expertise to use. Given his two past statewide elections and national reputation in GOP circles, there’s a better chance he will advance more quickly onto committees and positions where he can make a difference than Schrier would if elected.”
Given the Democratic Party’s prospects in the 2018 midterms, it was actually Schrier who was best situated to advance more quickly onto committees and positions where a difference could be made. Not Rossi.
It’s only because voters ignored the Times’ 2018 advice and sent Schrier to Congress that she was able to start delivering the representation for the district that the board is now so happy with. Pleased with her record as a first termer, the Times endorsed her in the 2020 presidential election over Republican Jesse Jensen, who is one of three Republicans challenging her now.
In endorsing Schrier for a third term, the board wrote: “Schrier deserves reelection for representing her district well, putting political partisanship aside and helping people navigate federal bureaucracies.”
Most of the Times’ legislative endorsements thus far have also been for Democrats, including in the 30th Legislative District, where Republicans are hoping to pick up seats. The Times did endorse a Republican in one of the contests in the battleground 47th Legislative District — Carmen Goers — but has otherwise mostly recommended Democratic candidates.
Seattle Times owner Frank Blethen, a vocal opponent of the estate tax, is said in past years to have insisted on endorsing Republican candidates for important statewide and federal offices. So far this year, that hasn’t happened, suggesting that perhaps Blethen is now more concerned about the survival of American democracy and the future of the free press than tax cuts — as he should be.