NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Friday, November 17th, 2023

Senator Maria Cantwell leads Republican challenger Raul Garcia by thirteen points

Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Maria Cantwell holds a dou­ble dig­it lead over Repub­li­can chal­lenger Raul Gar­cia in Wash­ing­ton State’s 2024 U.S. Sen­ate race and appears to be on a smooth tra­jec­to­ry to win­ning reelec­tion next Novem­ber, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est statewide sur­vey has found.

51% of 700 like­ly Wash­ing­ton State gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers said they would sup­port Cantwell if the elec­tion for U.S. Sen­ate were being held now. 38% said they would sup­port Gar­cia, the same per­cent­age who said they’d sup­port Don­ald Trump in a rematch with Joe Biden. 11% were not sure.

Cantwell was first elect­ed to the Sen­ate in 2000 and has been Wash­ing­ton State’s junior sen­a­tor ever since, serv­ing along­side Pat­ty Mur­ray, who is now the most senior mem­ber of the entire Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus. Cantwell nar­row­ly defeat­ed Repub­li­can Slade Gor­ton and joined a cham­ber even­ly divid­ed between the two major par­ties. She has won reelec­tion with ease three times since then — in 2006, 2012, and 2018, all of which were Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave years.

Pri­or to defeat­ing Gor­ton, Cantwell was a vice pres­i­dent at Real­Net­works. She joined the com­pa­ny after los­ing her U.S. House seat in the “Repub­li­can Rev­o­lu­tion” of 1994. A fun bit of elec­toral his­to­ry: Future Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee won Cantwell’s old seat back for the Democ­rats in 1998 and held it for over a decade. Vot­ers chose Suzan Del­Bene to replace Inslee in 2012 and have con­tin­ued to reelect her; Del­Bene now chairs the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, the cam­paign arm of the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic caucus.

Raul Gar­cia is a doc­tor with exten­sive expe­ri­ence in emer­gency med­i­cine. He was born in Cuba and emi­grat­ed to Spain at the age of eleven with his fam­i­ly to escape the Com­mu­nist regime of Fidel Cas­tro. They moved to Flori­da after suc­cess­ful­ly apply­ing for asy­lum from the Unit­ed States. Gar­cia is a grad­u­ate of both the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi and the New York Col­lege of Osteo­path­ic Med­i­cine. He ran for gov­er­nor in 2020 against Jay Inslee, but was elim­i­nat­ed in the Top Two elec­tion, which Inslee and for­mer Repub­lic police chief Loren Culp won.

Gar­cia was a guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date for sev­er­al weeks ear­li­er this year, but dropped out in favor of Dave Reichert when Reichert decid­ed to run. Gar­cia prompt­ly endorsed Reichert and jumped into the U.S. Sen­ate race as Cantwell’s oppo­nent, solv­ing a prob­lem for the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, which had not at that point found a cred­i­ble chal­lenger to oppose Cantwell.

Gar­cia is endorsed by Reichert, for­mer Gov­er­nor Dan Evans (who is still a Repub­li­can despite what has hap­pened to his par­ty), for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rob McKen­na, for­mer State Sen­a­tor Dino Rossi, Pierce Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Bruce Dammeier, for­mer Sec­re­taries of State Ralph Munro and Sam Reed, and an impres­sive­ly long list of Repub­li­can state legislators.

Accord­ing to the lat­est data avail­able from the FEC, Gar­cia has raised $204,437.42 since he began cam­paign­ing in July. Cantwell, mean­while, has report­ed total receipts of $7,177,955.29 and con­tri­bu­tions of $6,521,143.09. Sen­a­tor Cantwell’s reelec­tion cam­paign is among the many finan­cial spon­sors of NPI’s research, but was not involved in the design or the field­ing of this survey.

Here is the full text of both ques­tions we asked and the answers we received:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Sen­ate were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Maria Cantwell and Repub­li­can Raul Gar­cia, who would you vote for?


  • Maria Cantwell: 51%
  • Raul Gar­cia: 38%
  • Not sure: 11%

Our sur­vey of 700 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Novem­ber 14th through Wednes­day, Novem­ber 15th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (42%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (58%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.7% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Fol­low this link for addi­tion­al method­ol­o­gy details, includ­ing demo­graph­ic data.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

Corroborating data

This is the sec­ond time this week that a pub­licly-released poll find­ing has found Sen­a­tor Cantwell com­fort­ably ahead in the 2024 U.S. Sen­ate race.

The first was on Wednes­day, when Cross­cut pub­lished Elway Research’s lat­est statewide poll. That sur­vey found Cantwell ahead of Gar­cia by twen­ty points, with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of respon­dents unde­cid­ed. Here’s the breakdown:

QUESTION: Cantwell cur­rent­ly has one declared oppo­nent. As things stand today, are you inclined to vote for…


  • Demo­c­rat Maria Cantwell: 43%
  • Repub­li­can Raul Gar­cia: 23%
  • A dif­fer­ent Demo­c­rat: 3%
  • A dif­fer­ent Repub­li­can: 6%
  • Unde­cid­ed: 25%

Elway’s sur­vey con­sists of 403 reg­is­tered vot­ers. 82 were inter­viewed on land­lines, 179 were inter­viewed on mobiles, and 133 were recruit­ed by text to take the sur­vey online. The mar­gin of error of the sur­vey is +/- 5%. The sur­vey field­ed from Octo­ber 30th — Novem­ber 3rd. Data is avail­able here.

Unlike in our poll, which was a very sim­ple head-to-head, Elway respon­dents were giv­en the addi­tion­al answer choic­es of “a dif­fer­ent Demo­c­rat” or “a dif­fer­ent Repub­li­can.” That’s not a design choice we would make in our ques­tion­naires, but as the say­ing goes, to each their own. Elway Research has a most­ly sol­id track record and we’re always hap­py to have their data avail­able to scrutinize.

We can see from the answers above that twice as many respon­dents picked “a dif­fer­ent Repub­li­can” than “a dif­fer­ent Demo­c­rat,” so the inclu­sion of those addi­tion­al options seems to have impact­ed Gar­cia more than Cantwell.

In our sur­vey, Gar­cia ben­e­fits from being the only option for Repub­li­can vot­ers, and Cantwell like­wise ben­e­fits from being the only option for Demo­c­ra­t­ic voters.

Sen­a­tor Cantwell is above fifty, which to us is the key indi­ca­tor — an incum­bent at or above fifty in an ear­ly poll is con­sid­ered to be in good shape for reelection.

And Gar­cia is right about where we’d antic­i­pate a Repub­li­can oppo­nent of Cantwell to be. The per­cent­age Gar­cia has in our sur­vey (which mir­rors Trump’s as men­tioned ear­li­er) is prob­a­bly much clos­er to the per­cent­age Gar­cia could con­ceiv­ably be expect­ed to get in next year’s gen­er­al elec­tion. It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that nei­ther polls or pun­dits can pre­dict elec­tions, but we can dis­cuss pos­si­ble out­comes using avail­able elec­toral and pub­lic opin­ion research data.

Last cycle (2021–2022) versus this cycle (2023–2024)

In the 2021–2022 cycle, our polling con­sis­tent­ly found Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray at or above fifty per­cent, with Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smi­ley usu­al­ly behind by a dou­ble-dig­it mar­gin. Our final pre­elec­tion sur­vey put Mur­ray at 52% and Smi­ley at 42%, with 6% unde­cid­ed. Mur­ray sub­se­quent­ly picked up most of the not sure vot­ers and received 57.15% of the vote. Smi­ley got 42.63%.

Here in the 2023–2024 cycle, we’ve now found Sen­a­tor Cantwell above fifty per­cent three times: in March of this year, in June of this year, and now this month. Our March and June sur­veys pit­ted Cantwell against a hypo­thet­i­cal can­di­date, for­mer Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beutler.

Her­rera Beut­ler took a pass on run­ning for Sen­ate, but she is run­ning statewide in 2024, just for a dif­fer­ent office: Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands.

Now that Cantwell has a declared oppo­nent in Raul Gar­cia, we can final­ly start doing head-to-head polling between the can­di­dates Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are like­ly to see on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot next year for this office. As in 2022, we plan to con­tin­ue tak­ing the pulse of the Wash­ing­ton elec­torate. We’ll con­tin­ue to bring you find­ings in this mar­quee U.S. sen­ate con­test at key inter­vals in 2024.

Friday, November 17th, 2023

Joe Biden has a fourteen point, eleven month out lead over Donald Trump in Washington

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden con­tin­ues to lead Don­ald Trump in a hypo­thet­i­cal (but wide­ly expect­ed) rematch among like­ly Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers with about eleven months to go until bal­lots are mailed out in the 2024 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est statewide sur­vey has found.

52% of 700 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling this week for NPI said they’d back Biden if the elec­tion were being held today, while 38% said they’d back Trump. 11% said they were not sure.

Trump has been dom­i­nant in the body of pub­lic opin­ion research that’s asked Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry vot­ers who they want to be their nom­i­nee in 2024. Oth­er can­di­dates are con­tend­ing for the nom­i­na­tion, but they’re find­ing it hard to get trac­tion. In recent weeks, Mike Pence and Tim Scott have both end­ed their cam­paigns, hav­ing found that Repub­li­can vot­ers aren’t inter­est­ed in their can­di­da­cies. Chris Christie, Ron DeSan­tis, Nik­ki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy are still run­ning, but none looks like they have the strength to beat Trump.

With Democ­rats on track to renom­i­nate Biden and Har­ris, that sets up a sequel to the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, which Democ­rats won with 306 elec­toral votes. (Don­ald Trump does not accept the result and is the first pres­i­dent in Amer­i­can his­to­ry to refuse to will­ing­ly par­tic­i­pate in the peace­ful trans­fer of power.)

Wash­ing­ton is a state that usu­al­ly elects Democ­rats and has sup­port­ed the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent for decades, so it’s no sur­prise that Biden is ahead in this poll find­ing. Nev­er­the­less, it’s good to have fresh data indi­cat­ing what the elec­toral land­scape looks like. In June, we found Biden at 53% and Trump at 36%, so their respec­tive elec­toral posi­tions in this state haven’t changed very much. A lot has hap­pened in the coun­try and the world in the last five months, but Wash­ing­ton vot­ers remain com­mit­ted to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

Here’s the exact text of the ques­tions we asked and the responses:

QUESTION: If the 2024 elec­tion for Pres­i­dent were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Joe Biden or Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump?


  • Joe Biden: 52%
  • Don­ald Trump: 38%
  • Not sure: 11%

Our sur­vey of 700 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Novem­ber 14th through Wednes­day, Novem­ber 15th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (42%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (58%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.7% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

Insights from our crosstabs

Our crosstabs con­firm that there are sig­nif­i­cant divides with­in the Wash­ing­ton elec­torate with respect to who they sup­port for President.

Biden is sup­port­ed by:

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers (87%; Trump has 5%)
  • Vot­ers with post­grad­u­ate degrees (68%; Trump has 21%)
  • The youngest vot­ers (65% of those ages 18–29; Trump has 16%)
  • Vot­ers of col­or (63%; Trump has 23%)
  • Female vot­ers (60%; Trump has 31%)
  • Vot­ers with four-year col­lege degrees (60%; Trump has 31%)
  • Old­er mil­len­ni­als / Gen X (59% of those ages 30 to 45; Trump has 29%)
  • Vot­ers with some col­lege, but did not fin­ish (48%; Trump has 39%)
  • Vot­ers ages 46 to 65 (47%; Trump has 42%)

Biden leads Trump in all regions of Wash­ing­ton State except for Repub­li­can-friend­ly East­ern or Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, where Trump has major­i­ty support.

Biden also has sup­port across income brack­ets. His sup­port among low income vot­ers is espe­cial­ly strong. Two-thirds of vot­ers mak­ing less than $30,000 sup­port Biden, as do over three-fifths of those mak­ing over $100,000 a year.

Trump is sup­port­ed by:

  • Repub­li­can vot­ers (83%; Biden has 8%)
  • Vot­ers with only a high school edu­ca­tion (49%; Biden has 39%)
  • Vot­ers with two year col­lege degrees (49%; Biden has 46%)
  • Vot­ers old­er than 65 (48%; Biden has 46%)
  • Male vot­ers (45%; Biden has 43%)

Biden-Har­ris received 57.97% of the vote in the Ever­green State in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, earn­ing all twelve of Wash­ing­ton’s elec­toral votes.

Trump’s criminal charges and legal problems haven’t hurt his standing with the Republican base, at least not yet

Back in June, I wrote:

The crosstabs from our hypo­thet­i­cal matchups sug­gest the Repub­li­can base still likes Trump, but will they like him more than DeSan­tis next spring, espe­cial­ly as Trump goes on tri­al for his crimes? We shall see, pre­sum­ing the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion is still being con­test­ed at the time we hold our pres­i­den­tial primary.

Since our June sur­vey, more indict­ments have been brought against Trump and he has begun stand­ing tri­al in New York on civ­il fraud charges. That has­n’t dimin­ished his posi­tion with the Repub­li­can base, nor has it neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed his com­pet­i­tive­ness in recent nation­al or bat­tle­ground state polls.

How­ev­er, if Trump is con­vict­ed, polling does sug­gest that would hurt him with gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers in swing states. We are unlike­ly to see much fall­out here in Wash­ing­ton State because Trump sim­ply isn’t com­pet­i­tive with Pres­i­dent Biden.

And unfor­tu­nate­ly for DeSan­tis and oth­er Trump rivals, it does­n’t look like any num­ber of con­vic­tions would cause the Repub­li­can base to break with Trump.

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

Dave Reichert slightly ahead of Bob Ferguson in 2024 WA gubernatorial race, NPI poll finds

Repub­li­can Dave Reichert has estab­lished a two per­cent­age point lead over Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son in Wash­ing­ton State’s 2024 guber­na­to­r­i­al con­test with a lit­tle less than a year to go before the dead­line arrives to sub­mit bal­lots in the upcom­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, accord­ing to the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est statewide sur­vey of like­ly voters.

46% of 700 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers sur­veyed on Tues­day and Wednes­day of this week by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling said they would vote for Reichert if the elec­tion for Gov­er­nor were being held today and the can­di­dates were just Reichert and Fer­gu­son. 44% said they would vote for Fer­gu­son, who NPI’s pre­vi­ous polling has found to be the Demo­c­ra­t­ic fron­trun­ner. 9% were not sure.

Reichert is a for­mer Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and King Coun­ty Sher­iff who pre­vi­ous­ly con­sid­ered chal­leng­ing Jay Inslee in 2016 and 2020, but ulti­mate­ly decid­ed not to run. Reichert won sev­en con­sec­u­tive elec­tions for Con­gress in the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016).

Fer­gu­son has served as Wash­ing­ton State’s Attor­ney Gen­er­al for over ten years. He took office in Jan­u­ary of 2013 after defeat­ing Rea­gan Dunn in a hard fought bat­tle to choose a suc­ces­sor to Rob McKen­na, who opt­ed to run for Gov­er­nor instead, and lost to Reichert’s col­league Jay Inslee, who at that time had also put in more than a decade of ser­vice to Wash­ing­to­ni­ans in the U.S. House.

Reichert announced sev­er­al months ago that he was reen­ter­ing the elec­toral are­na as a can­di­date for Gov­er­nor in 2024. Reichert’s deci­sion to run prompt­ed anoth­er can­di­date, fel­low Repub­li­can Raul Gar­cia, to quick­ly piv­ot and move into the Unit­ed States Sen­ate race as Maria Cantwell’s chal­lenger. Reichert is now cam­paign­ing for a spot on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot with Gar­ci­a’s support.

Reichert and Fer­gu­son are each fac­ing one rival from with­in their par­ty who has raised a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey and meets the cri­te­ria that we have pre­vi­ous­ly estab­lished for inclu­sion in our 2024 guber­na­to­r­i­al polling.

That cri­te­ria is as follows:

  • Must be an offi­cial­ly declared can­di­date for the office who has filed a C1 with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion (PDC)
  • Must have declared an affil­i­a­tion with a major par­ty (the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty or the Repub­li­can Party)
  • Must have report­ed rais­ing at least $50,000 in ear­ly mon­ey for their cur­rent guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign or have pre­vi­ous­ly raised at least $250,000 in a pri­or cam­paign for any state-lev­el office, or both

Reichert’s Repub­li­can rival is Semi Bird, an ultra MAGA for­mer Rich­land school board mem­ber who was recent­ly oust­ed from office in a recall and char­ac­ter­izes him­self as a con­sti­tu­tion­al Chris­t­ian conservative.

Fer­gu­son’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic rival is Mark Mul­let, a Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor who has rep­re­sent­ed the 5th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (sit­u­at­ed in East King Coun­ty) since Jan­u­ary of 2013, the same month Fer­gu­son became Attor­ney General.

We asked a sep­a­rate ques­tion in our sur­vey pre­ced­ing our Reichert ver­sus Fer­gu­son head to head ques­tion which includ­ed Bird and Mul­let, and we found that nei­ther of them is any­where close to the fron­trun­ners. In that four can­di­date field ques­tion, Reichert and Fer­gu­son were tied at 31% apiece, Bird had 10%, and Mul­let had just 5%. 22% of respon­dents said they were not sure.

NPI poll finding: 2024 Washington State gubernatorial race as of November 2023 (four candidate field)

Visu­al­iza­tion of the first part of NPI’s Novem­ber 2023 guber­na­to­r­i­al poll find­ing, which asked respon­dents about a field of four can­di­dates (North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute)

Since polls can’t and don’t pre­dict the future, we can’t say at this junc­ture what’s going to hap­pen in the August Top Two elec­tion next sum­mer, but we see no evi­dence that either Mul­let or Bird have a path to the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion. Reichert and Fer­gu­son col­lec­tive­ly have sup­port from over three in five voters.

Inter­est­ing­ly, Mul­let has shed two per­cent­age points since our last sur­vey in June, and that is despite Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz’s recent depar­ture from the guber­na­to­r­i­al race to run for Con­gress, which some observers spec­u­lat­ed might ben­e­fit Mul­let by leav­ing him as Fer­gu­son’s sole Demo­c­ra­t­ic rival.

This fresh sur­vey data sug­gests Franz’s exit has­n’t helped Mul­let at all. Instead of gain­ing trac­tion, Mul­let has been expe­ri­enc­ing neg­a­tive momentum.

Bird’s posi­tion, mean­while, is basi­cal­ly unchanged — he had 10% sup­port in our June sur­vey and he has 10% now. Bird appears to have some devot­ed sup­port­ers, but not enough to give Dave Reichert much heartburn.

Here is the full text of both ques­tions we asked and the answers we received:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State were being held today, and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son, Repub­li­can Semi Bird, Demo­c­rat Mark Mul­let, and Repub­li­can Dave Reichert, who would you vote for?

Half the poll sam­ple saw the ques­tion with the order of can­di­dates as shown above and half the sam­ple saw the ques­tion with the order of can­di­dates shown below. The word­ing was the same, but the order was invert­ed to make the ques­tion as neu­tral as possible. 

If the elec­tion for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State were being held today, and the can­di­dates were Repub­li­can Dave Reichert, Demo­c­rat Mark Mul­let, Repub­li­can Semi Bird, and Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son, who would you vote for?


  • Bob Fer­gu­son: 31%
  • Dave Reichert: 31%
  • Semi Bird: 10%
  • Mark Mul­let: 5%
  • Not sure: 22%

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Gov­er­nor were being held today and the can­di­dates were just Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son and Repub­li­can Dave Reichert, who would you vote for?

Half the poll sam­ple saw the ques­tion with the order of can­di­dates as shown above and half the sam­ple saw the ques­tion with the order of can­di­dates shown below. The word­ing was the same, but the order was invert­ed to make the ques­tion as neu­tral as possible. 

If the elec­tion for Gov­er­nor were being held today and the can­di­dates were just Repub­li­can Dave Reichert and Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son, who would you vote for?


  • Dave Reichert: 46%
  • Bob Fer­gu­son: 44%
  • Not sure: 9%

Our sur­vey of 700 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Novem­ber 14th through Wednes­day, Novem­ber 15th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (42%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (58%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.7% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Fol­low this link for addi­tion­al method­ol­o­gy details, includ­ing demo­graph­ic data.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

Why Reichert is ahead in the head-to-head

To under­stand why Dave Reichert has a slim lead in the head to head matchup with Bob Fer­gu­son, let’s dive into the crosstabs.

Here are the respons­es by par­ty for that question:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Gov­er­nor were being held today and the can­di­dates were just Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son and Repub­li­can Dave Reichert, who would you vote for?


  • Democ­rats
    • Dave Reichert: 17%
    • Bob Fer­gu­son: 76%
    • Not sure: 8%
  • Repub­li­cans
    • Dave Reichert: 90%
    • Bob Fer­gu­son: 7%
    • Not sure: 3%
  • Inde­pen­dents
    • Dave Reichert: 47%
    • Bob Fer­gu­son: 38%
    • Not sure: 15%

From look­ing at the answers by par­ty, we can see that Repub­li­can vot­ers are very unit­ed behind Dave Reichert, where­as Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers are less com­mit­ted to Bob Fer­gu­son. A plu­ral­i­ty of inde­pen­dent vot­ers, mean­while, favor Reichert.

Put those dynam­ics togeth­er and the result is a com­pet­i­tive race one year out.

Analysis and takeaways

Our team imag­ines that many Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers may be sur­prised by this data. Because Wash­ing­ton has a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic tilt, we don’t often find a Repub­li­can ahead of a Demo­c­rat in a statewide race in Wash­ing­ton, par­tic­u­lar­ly when that race is for a top of the tick­et office like Gov­er­nor. That makes this find­ing one of the most notable and strik­ing that we’ve ever published.

Here are some things to keep in mind while pon­der­ing these numbers.

This is an open seat. Cur­rent Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee decid­ed last spring not to seek an unprece­dent­ed fourth term as the state’s chief exec­u­tive. With Democ­rats not field­ing an incum­bent in this con­test as they were in the last two pres­i­den­tial cycles, Repub­li­cans have bet­ter chances of win­ning. It’s usu­al­ly much eas­i­er for the par­ty out of pow­er to pick up a key posi­tion like a gov­er­nor­ship when the seat is open. The Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty has a track record of pur­su­ing such oppor­tu­ni­ties. The last two times that a Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor in Wash­ing­ton did­n’t seek reelec­tion (2004 and 2012), Repub­li­cans field­ed can­di­dates who were com­pet­i­tive. Dino Rossi and Rob McKen­na did­n’t win, but they con­tend­ed well.

Even in this high­ly polar­ized era, states that are usu­al­ly bas­tions for one par­ty are capa­ble of occa­sion­al­ly elect­ing can­di­dates from the oth­er. As we just saw in Ken­tucky, it is pos­si­ble for a can­di­date belong­ing to a par­ty that usu­al­ly strug­gles to win statewide elec­tions to be com­pet­i­tive and sub­se­quent­ly win. It’s no exag­ger­a­tion to say Ken­tucky is a Repub­li­can bas­tion: this is the state that has repeat­ed­ly sent Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate. Yet Andy Beshear, a lik­able Demo­c­rat, was able to win two suc­ces­sive elec­tions as gov­er­nor — one four years ago and anoth­er this month.

Reichert is well known and has a track record of elec­toral suc­cess. Dave Reichert does­n’t have the work eth­ic of Bob Fer­gu­son, but he does have plen­ty of name ID and a his­to­ry of win­ning in a large swath of the state usu­al­ly clas­si­fied as a swing dis­trict, even in Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave years like 2006 and 2008 against a well-fund­ed chal­lenger. I men­tioned above that Reichert had won sev­en con­sec­u­tive elec­tions for Con­gress. That’s a lot. With the excep­tion of Rob McKen­na, all oth­er recent Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al hope­fuls ran with­out the ben­e­fit of that sort of exten­sive elec­toral expe­ri­ence on their resumes.

Reichert is cur­rent­ly run­ning with­out much bag­gage. Sev­er­al elec­tion cycles ago, Dave Reichert wise­ly decid­ed to quit while he was unde­feat­ed and get out of Con­gress. He made his exit from the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the mid­way point of Don­ald Trump’s time in the Oval Office and was spared from sub­se­quent­ly hav­ing to vote on mat­ters such as Trump’s impeach­ment, which could have jeop­ar­dized his stand­ing with the Trump-wor­ship­ing Repub­li­can base. Reichert was also out of office and out of the elec­toral are­na when the hor­rif­ic Dobbs deci­sion was hand­ed down, so many Demo­c­ra­t­ic and inde­pen­dent vot­ers like­ly aren’t aware of his stri­dent oppo­si­tion to repro­duc­tive rights.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has con­trolled the gov­er­nor’s man­sion for near­ly half a cen­tu­ry. Wash­ing­ton vot­ers have not cho­sen a Repub­li­can to be the state’s chief exec­u­tive since 1980, when John Spell­man was elect­ed. Democ­rats have been run­ning the state’s exec­u­tive branch for the entire­ty of all young Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ lives and the major­i­ty of most every­one else’s. It’s under­stand­able that some vot­ers, includ­ing vot­ers who lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic, may be enter­tain­ing the idea of giv­ing a Repub­li­can a chance to gov­ern for a change. That does­n’t mean they will actu­al­ly end up vot­ing for Dave Reichert, however.

Bob Fer­gu­son’s sup­port has been grow­ing over the course of the year. This is the third time we’ve polled the 2024 guber­na­to­r­i­al con­test. In our first sur­vey, which field­ed in March, before Jay Inslee announced his retire­ment, we found Bob Fer­gu­son with 21% sup­port in a hypo­thet­i­cal field that also includ­ed fel­low Democ­rats Hilary Franz and Dow Con­stan­tine plus Repub­li­can Bruce Dammeier. Dammeier had a plu­ral­i­ty lead in that sur­vey of 35%. In June, we found Fer­gu­son at 25% against Franz, Mul­let, and Repub­li­cans Semi Bird and Raul Gar­cia. Now, against Reichert, Mul­let, and Bird, Fer­gu­son has reached 31% sup­port. That’s a tra­jec­to­ry of progress and momen­tum. Can he keep it going?

The Top Two elec­tion is many months away. While 2024 might be right around the cor­ner, vot­ers will not be cast­ing bal­lots in the August Top Two elec­tion until next sum­mer. We have many sea­sons of cam­paign­ing ahead of us, and that cam­paign­ing is like­ly to alter the dynam­ics in this race. Impor­tant­ly, Bob Fer­gu­son has already raised a pret­ty large war chest and will have the resources to share his cam­paign’s mes­sage with Wash­ing­ton voters.

Reichert’s position looks a lot like McKenna’s, circa 2011

Young read­ers, out of state read­ers, or those who are new to Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics may not real­ize that the state has seen an elec­toral envi­ron­ment like this before.

In 2011 and for months into 2012, most polls showed Repub­li­can Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rob McKen­na ahead of future Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, includ­ing sur­veys done by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling, one of NPI’s poll­sters, which field­ed this project for us. McKen­na led in five out of six polls con­duct­ed in 2011 and anoth­er eight out of eleven con­duct­ed in the first half of 2012, accord­ing to Wikipedia con­trib­u­tors, who’ve com­piled a lot of pub­lic opin­ion research from that cycle.

“The most like­ly match up for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton next year looks like it would be a barn burn­er, with Repub­li­can Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rob McKen­na start­ing out with just a 40–38 lead over Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­man Jay Inslee,” Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling not­ed in a May 18th (2011) press release. “The main rea­son McKen­na is ahead of Inslee at this point is slight­ly high­er name recog­ni­tion. 60% of vot­ers know McKen­na well enough to have formed an opin­ion about him, while that is true for only 51% when it comes to Inslee. The two have sim­i­lar net favor­a­bil­i­ty rat­ings with Inslee at +9 (30/21) and McKen­na at +8 (34/26).”

The con­sen­sus among many jour­nal­ists and observers in the 2012 cycle was that McKen­na was the fron­trun­ner and Inslee the under­dog. And the body of pub­lic opin­ion research cer­tain­ly pro­vid­ed evi­dence for that view, at least up until the point when Inslee’s cam­paign began air­ing ads cre­at­ed by Frank Greer and GMMB that intro­duced (or rein­tro­duced) him and his fam­i­ly to Wash­ing­ton voters.

After those ads began air­ing, most polls began find­ing leads for Inslee rather than McKen­na. You can see the shift in the table below, start­ing in July of 2012.

Table from Wikipedia show­ing 2011–2012 guber­na­to­r­i­al polling 

Poll sourceDate(s)
Inslee (D)
McKen­na (R)
Not sure
Pub­lic Pol­i­cy PollingNovem­ber 1–3, 2012932± 3.2%50%48%2%
KING5/SurveyUSAOcto­ber 28–31, 2012555± 4.2%47%46%7%
KCTS 9/Washington PollOcto­ber 18–31, 2012632± 3.9%49%46%6%
Elway PollOcto­ber 18–21, 2012451± 4.5%45%47%10%
Strategies360Octo­ber 17–20, 2012500± 4.4%45%45%10%
Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling/WCVOcto­ber 15–16, 2012574± n/a%48%42%10%
KCTS 9/Washington PollOcto­ber 1–16, 2012782± 3.5%48%45%8%
Ras­mussen ReportsOcto­ber 14, 2012500± 4.5%47%45%9%
Sur­veyUSAOcto­ber 12–14, 2012543± 4.3%47%44%9%
Sur­veyUSASep­tem­ber 28–30, 2012540± 4.3%48%42%10%
Ras­mussen ReportsSep­tem­ber 26, 2012500± 4.5%46%45%9%
Pub­lic Elway PollSep­tem­ber 9–12, 2012405± 5%44%41%15%
Pub­lic Pol­i­cy PollingSep­tem­ber 7–9, 2012563± 4.2%48%42%10%
Sur­vey USASep­tem­ber 7–9, 2012524± 4.4%49%44%7%
Sur­vey USAAugust 2–3, 2012524± 4.4%48%45%7%
Elway PollJuly 18–22, 2012405± 5.0%43%36%21%
Sur­vey USAJuly 16–17, 2012630± 4.0%41%42%16%
Pub­lic Pol­i­cy PollingJune 14–17, 20121,073± 3.0%40%43%17%
Elway PollJune 13–16, 2012408± 5.0%40%42%18%
Strategies360May 22–24, 2012500± 4.4%39%43%18%
Sur­vey USAMay 8–9, 2012557± 4.2%38%40%22%
Grove InsightsMarch 26–28, 2012500± 4.4%38%34%28%
Grove InsightsFeb­ru­ary 21–23, 2012500± 4.4%38%38%24%
Pub­lic Pol­i­cy PollingFeb­ru­ary 16–19, 20121,264± 2.8%42%42%16%
Sur­vey USAFeb­ru­ary 13–15, 2012572± 4.2%39%49%12%
Elway PollFeb­ru­ary 7–9, 2012405± 5.0%36%45%19%
Sur­vey USAJan­u­ary 12–16, 2012617± 4.0%43%46%11%
Sur­vey USANovem­ber 21–23, 2011549± 4.3%38%44%17%
Wash­ing­ton PollOcto­ber 10–30, 2011938± 3.2%38%44%18%
Sur­vey USASep­tem­ber 21–22, 2011529± 4.3%38%44%18%
Sur­vey USAJune 24–26, 2011600± 4.4%47%44%9%
Pub­lic Pol­i­cy PollingMay 12–15, 20111,098± 3.0%38%40%22%
Sur­vey USAApril 27–28, 2011610± 4.0%41%48%11%

Inter­est­ing­ly, one of the ques­tions PPP asked in its May 2011 sur­vey was whether vot­ers would pre­fer Dave Reichert to Jay Inslee in a hypo­thet­i­cal matchup.

36% said they’d pre­fer Reichert if the 2012 can­di­dates for gov­er­nor were Inslee and Reichert, while 42% said Inslee. As I not­ed above, Reichert lat­er con­tem­plat­ed run­ning against Inslee in 2016 and 2020, but passed both times.

How­ev­er, now that Inslee is retir­ing, Reichert is run­ning. And like McKen­na in May of 2011, he has a two-point lead over his prob­a­ble Demo­c­ra­t­ic opponent.

But, if his­to­ry is any guide, that frag­ile lead — which is small­er than our pol­l’s mar­gin of error — could dis­ap­pear by next sum­mer, or even sooner.

A few thoughts on each candidate’s path to victory

Dave Reichert is slight­ly ahead now accord­ing to our polling, but his path to vic­to­ry is tougher due to Wash­ing­ton’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic lean. Reichert needs to keep his Repub­li­can base behind him, keep inde­pen­dents dialed in, and ensure some Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers feel com­fort­able enough cross­ing over to back him. Reichert has sig­naled that pub­lic safe­ty will be a key theme of his cam­paign along with tax cuts and dereg­u­la­tion — two long­time right wing cam­paign staples.

Bob Fer­gu­son can win by reel­ing in most of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers who are con­sid­er­ing split­ting their tick­ets and improv­ing his stand­ing with inde­pen­dents. If his cam­paign makes a con­cert­ed effort to pro­pose plans which address the anx­i­eties that vot­ers have about Wash­ing­ton’s future, like loom­ing school clo­sures and staff lay­offs in dis­tricts across the state, that could help him con­nect with vot­ers. Fer­gu­son has an oppor­tu­ni­ty in this next phase of the cam­paign to demon­strate that he’ll be an edu­ca­tion-focused gov­er­nor. It’s an issue Reichert has­n’t focused on much but it’s real­ly, real­ly impor­tant to Washingtonians.

Closing thoughts

At NPI, we believe that polling can be an incred­i­bly use­ful tool for under­stand­ing pub­lic opin­ion. But polling has its lim­i­ta­tions and it’s impor­tant to be aware of them. As I men­tioned above, polls can’t and don’t pre­dict future elec­tion results. They are snap­shots in time, as the say­ing goes. Our team tries to point this out as often as pos­si­ble because it unfor­tu­nate­ly just does­n’t get said enough.

In 2024, we will be back with more guber­na­to­r­i­al polling at key junc­tures dur­ing the year, and we look for­ward to bring­ing you more data.

When shar­ing this poll find­ing with oth­ers, please encour­age peo­ple to read the accom­pa­ny­ing analy­sis pro­vid­ed here in this post. Our team believes that poll find­ings real­ly ben­e­fit from con­text, which is why we always pro­vide analy­sis along with the text of our ques­tions and the responses.

And last­ly, if you appre­ci­ate NPI’s research and find it help­ful, we hope you’ll con­sid­er sup­port­ing us by donat­ing or becom­ing a mem­ber.

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

U.S. House passes another stopgap spending bill to avert shutdown, thanks to Democrats

The Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives today vot­ed to keep the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open for sev­er­al more months after new Speak­er Mike John­son orches­trat­ed a vote on a stop­gap spend­ing bill not weighed down with an ultra MAGA wish­list of pol­i­cy rid­ers that the Sen­ate and Pres­i­dent Biden would oppose.

Though they were pre­vi­ous­ly not enthu­si­as­tic about John­son’s plan to avert a shut­down, Democ­rats pro­vid­ed most of the votes for the leg­is­la­tion, with the Repub­li­can cau­cus sig­nif­i­cant­ly split, just as it was back in Sep­tem­ber when ex-Speak­er Kevin McCarthy made a sim­i­lar move at the eleventh hour in order to avert a shut­down that would be polit­i­cal­ly cost­ly to Republicans.

The House vote on H.R. 6363, the Fur­ther Con­tin­u­ing Appro­pri­a­tions and Oth­er Exten­sions Act, 2024, was 336 to 95, with 3 not vot­ing.

127 Repub­li­cans vot­ed yea along with 209 Democrats.

93 Repub­li­cans vot­ed nay along with two Democ­rats. The Democ­rats vot­ing nay were Jake Auch­in­closs of Mass­a­chu­setts and Mike Quigley of Illinois.

Democ­rats Nan­cy Pelosi and Kevin Mullin of Cal­i­for­nia missed the vote, as did Repub­li­can Mike Ezell of Mississippi.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea to keep the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Sali­nas (OR), Mary Pel­to­la (AK); Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers and Dan New­house (WA), Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer (OR), Mike Simp­son (ID)

Vot­ing Nay to shut down the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher (ID), Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke (MT)

Of the PNW del­e­ga­tion, only the three most ultra MAGA Repub­li­cans from Mon­tana and Ida­ho vot­ed to shut down the fed­er­al government.

The bil­l’s offi­cial sum­ma­ry, pro­vid­ed by the non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sion­al Research Ser­vice, known as CRS for short, is as follows:

This bill pro­vides con­tin­u­ing FY2024 appro­pri­a­tions for fed­er­al agen­cies and extends sev­er­al expir­ing pro­grams and authorities.

It is known as a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion (CR) and pre­vents a gov­ern­ment shut­down that would oth­er­wise occur if the FY2024 appro­pri­a­tions bills have not been enact­ed when the exist­ing CR expires on Novem­ber 17, 2023.

The CR gen­er­al­ly funds most pro­grams and activ­i­ties at the FY 2023 lev­els with sev­er­al excep­tions that pro­vide fund­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty and addi­tion­al appro­pri­a­tions for var­i­ous programs.

The CR pro­vides fund­ing through Jan­u­ary 19, 2024, for agen­cies and pro­grams that were fund­ed in the fol­low­ing four FY 2023 appro­pri­a­tions acts:

  • the Agri­cul­ture, Rur­al Devel­op­ment, Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023;
  • the Ener­gy and Water Devel­op­ment and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023;
  • the Mil­i­tary Con­struc­tion, Vet­er­ans Affairs, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023; and
  • the Trans­porta­tion, Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023.

For most oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies and pro­grams, the CR pro­vides fund­ing through Feb­ru­ary 2, 2024.

The CR also extends sev­er­al pro­grams and author­i­ties, including

  • pro­grams autho­rized by the Agri­cul­ture Improve­ment Act of 2018 (com­mon­ly known as the 2018 farm bill),
  • sev­er­al pub­lic health pro­grams and authorities,
  • the U.S. Parole Com­mis­sion, and
  • the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty’s Coun­ter­ing Weapons of Mass Destruc­tion Office.

“The pas­sage of today’s con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion puts House Repub­li­cans in the best posi­tion to fight for con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy vic­to­ries,” argued Speak­er Mike John­son in a state­ment. “The inno­v­a­tive two-step approach takes Washington’s pre­ferred Christ­mas omnibus mon­stros­i­ty off the table, shifts the gov­ern­ment fund­ing par­a­digm mov­ing for­ward, and enhances our abil­i­ty to rein in the Biden administration’s failed poli­cies and gov­ern­ment spend­ing. We also are bet­ter posi­tioned in the upcom­ing sup­ple­men­tal debate to demand Bor­der Secu­ri­ty, ensure over­sight of Ukraine aid, and sup­port our cher­ished ally, Israel.”

As John­son’s state­ment alludes to, the con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion does­n’t include aid for Ukraine or Israel, which are pri­or­i­ties for the Biden-Har­ris administration.

But it does stave off a gov­ern­ment shut­down for a while.

“From the very begin­ning of the Con­gress, House Democ­rats have made clear that we will always put peo­ple over pol­i­tics and try to find com­mon ground with our Repub­li­can col­leagues wher­ev­er pos­si­ble, while push­ing back against Repub­li­can extrem­ism when­ev­er nec­es­sary,” said House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Hakeem Jef­fries, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Whip Kather­ine Clark, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu in a joint state­ment.

“That is the frame­work through which we will eval­u­ate all issues before us this Con­gress. We have con­sis­tent­ly made clear that a gov­ern­ment shut­down would hurt the econ­o­my, our nation­al secu­ri­ty and every­day Amer­i­cans dur­ing a very frag­ile time and must be avoid­ed,” the quar­tet added.

“To that end, House Democ­rats have repeat­ed­ly artic­u­lat­ed that any con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion must be set at the fis­cal year 2023 spend­ing lev­el, be devoid of harm­ful cuts and free of extreme right-wing pol­i­cy rid­ers. The con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion before the House today meets that cri­te­ria and we will sup­port it.”

“Mov­ing for­ward, it is impor­tant that Con­gress comes togeth­er to advance the sup­ple­men­tal nation­al secu­ri­ty and domes­tic pol­i­cy fund­ing request­ed by Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. In addi­tion, it is time for House Repub­li­cans to final­ly work with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus and the Sen­ate on all twelve appro­pri­a­tions bills in a man­ner con­sis­tent with the Bipar­ti­san Fis­cal Respon­si­bil­i­ty Act.”

“We must com­plete the work of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” they concluded.

The Sen­ate is expect­ed to con­cur and send the leg­is­la­tion to Pres­i­dent Biden.

If you’re won­der­ing whether the extreme right is unhap­py with their new Speak­er over this, the answer is yes. But hav­ing just oust­ed McCarthy, which caused weeks of paral­y­sis, and hav­ing now had no suc­cess advanc­ing their shut­down agen­da as a result of that maneu­ver, they’re not plot­ting John­son’s downfall.

At least not yet.

“Many House con­ser­v­a­tives are fum­ing that John­son — the most ide­o­log­i­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive speak­er in decades — refused to take a hard line in his first attempt nego­ti­at­ing with Democ­rats and instead leaned on them for help,” Politi­co report­ed. “In the end, more Democ­rats vot­ed for the mea­sure than Repub­li­cans, in near­ly iden­ti­cal num­bers to the Sep­tem­ber stop­gap mea­sure that trig­gered McCarthy’s fir­ing. Some tore into his strat­e­gy in a closed-door meet­ing Tues­day, argu­ing that his plan, which would allow fund­ing lev­els set under Nan­cy Pelosi to per­sist for months, is tan­ta­mount to surrender.”

Only an unhinged extrem­ist would argue that sim­ply keep­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open for a few more weeks at pre­vi­ous­ly adopt­ed fund­ing lev­els is “tan­ta­mount to sur­ren­der.” But it’s 2023 and this is sad­ly the envi­ron­ment Con­gress is attempt­ing to func­tion in. It’s dis­ap­point­ing and pathetic.

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

Let’s Go Washington affiliate claims it’ll soon begin submitting signatures for its initiatives

A right wing group orga­nized and fund­ed by right wing mil­lion­aire Bri­an Hey­wood and front­ed by recent­ly elect­ed Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Jim Walsh plans to begin sub­mit­ting sig­na­tures for a slate of ini­tia­tives to the 2024 Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture lat­er this month and will turn in even more next month as the end of year qual­i­fi­ca­tion dead­line approach­es, accord­ing to one of its affil­i­ate groups, which goes by the name Change Washington.

“Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton will be turn­ing in enough sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy one of its 6 ini­tia­tives in late Novem­ber,” Change Wash­ing­ton announced to its fol­low­ers yes­ter­day. “Five more to go before the end of the year. There is a good chance all 6 will qual­i­fy. Need your help today! Click below and sign the petitions.”

A fol­low­er call­ing them­selves Man­dra sub­se­quent­ly com­ment­ed: “I signed them all” and then asked “Which one made it through already?” 

Change Wash­ing­ton replied: “It is believed that the ini­tia­tive to repeal Inslee’s 48 cents a gal­lon gas tax will have enough sig­na­tures in cou­ple of weeks.” 

That’s a ref­er­ence to I‑2117, Jim Walsh and Bri­an Hey­wood’s ini­tia­tive to repeal the Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act, which was adopt­ed in 2017.

Peti­tion­ers for Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton have been instruct­ed to put I‑2117 first when pre­sent­ing vot­ers with a stack of peti­tions to sign, so it isn’t sur­pris­ing to hear that I‑2117 could be the first mea­sure Hey­wood and Walsh sub­mit sig­na­tures for.

The Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton web­site now has a sig­na­ture ther­mome­ter which dis­plays a claimed count of sig­na­tures and a goal. The ther­mome­ter, a recent addi­tion, was last updat­ed today, as you can see from this screenshot:

Signature thermometer for Let's Go Washington

Sig­na­ture ther­mome­ter for Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton, as of Novem­ber 14th (screen­shot)

The sup­posed cur­rent total is 2,107,222 sig­na­tures and the goal (for all six ini­tia­tives that Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton wants to qual­i­fy) is 2,520,000 signatures.

The six mea­sures seek to:

  • repeal the state’s new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy
  • nix the Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act
  • sab­o­tage the state’s long term care system
  • pro­hib­it the levy­ing of any income taxes
  • allow the police to resume dan­ger­ous high speed pursuits
  • and estab­lish a “parental noti­fi­ca­tion” sys­tem in pub­lic education

It has­n’t been a smooth sig­na­ture drive.

Last month, NPI report­ed on some of the inter­nal tur­moil that has been afflict­ing the six mea­sure cam­paign, includ­ing the alleged ouster of con­vict­ed forg­er Brent John­son, whose firm Your Choice Peti­tions, LLC was giv­en the “exclu­sive” con­tract for paid sig­na­ture gath­er­ing ser­vices after an in-house attempt by Hey­wood and oper­a­tive Sharon Hanek to pay peti­tion­ers on an hourly basis did­n’t work.

Nev­er­the­less, Hey­wood has plowed ahead. He has donat­ed and loaned Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton a small for­tune for this project, total­ing an eye-pop­ping $5,241,888.21. A few oth­er donors have recent­ly stepped up, includ­ing the BIAW and a JPMor­gan wealth man­ag­er named Phil Scott, but Hey­wood remains the source of the lion’s share of fund­ing. Hey­wood’s $5.2+ mil­lion rep­re­sents 87.56% of the con­tri­bu­tions to Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton, which now stand at $5,986,544.98.

Most of that $5.2 mil­lion — $3,720,000 to be spe­cif­ic — came to Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton in the form of sev­en loans of dif­fer­ent amounts — some sev­en fig­ures, some six fig­ures, and one in the five figures.

Hey­wood is evi­dent­ly hop­ing to be repaid at some point down the road, judg­ing by his deci­sion to make these loans instead of sim­ply con­tribut­ing the funds.

At present, the com­mit­tee has no means with which to repay the loans. Its C4 for Octo­ber 2023 says cash on hand is now just $102,142.24. That’s not a whole lot of cash for a cam­paign at a crit­i­cal moment in a mul­ti-ini­tia­tive sig­na­ture drive.

Although Wash­ing­ton vot­ers haven’t seen any statewide ini­tia­tives for sev­er­al years, they used to be a com­mon sight at the top of the bal­lot, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing the two decade stretch when Tim Eyman’s ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry was active.

These days, Eyman is no longer try­ing to get his own schemes fund­ed. Instead, he’s embraced a new role as a cog in Hey­wood’s machine.

While Hey­wood may be the bankroll, State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Jim Walsh is the spon­sor of all six ini­tia­tives and will prob­a­bly be doing plen­ty of pub­lic speak­ing in sup­port of them — if they qualify.

That remains an if.

Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton is try­ing to make look like it’s all down­hill from where they are now, but if an abnor­mal­ly large chunk of their sig­na­tures hap­pen to be invalid, dupli­cate, or fraud­u­lent — which seems like a pos­si­bil­i­ty giv­en who they hired to gath­er sig­na­tures — then they are not as close to the fin­ish line as they’re por­tray­ing them­selves to be. Hey­wood and com­pa­ny have just a month and a half left to sort out any prob­lems hin­der­ing them before the clock runs out. The sig­na­ture sub­mis­sion dead­line is 5 PM Pacif­ic on Decem­ber 29th, 2023.

Each ini­tia­tive needs the valid sig­na­tures of at least 324,516 reg­is­tered vot­ers. The Sec­re­tary of State rec­om­mends that spon­sors sub­mit at least 405,000 sig­na­tures to allow for invalid sig­na­tures. Inclu­sive of the rec­om­mend­ed cush­ion, that means Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton needs 2,430,000 sig­na­tures. A sin­gle reg­is­tered vot­er could legal­ly pro­vide up to six sig­na­tures for Hey­wood and Wal­sh’s slate if those sig­na­tures were each affixed to a peti­tion belong­ing to a dif­fer­ent initiative.

There are three ways in which the House and Sen­ate can respond to the ini­tia­tives if any qual­i­fy, all set forth by the Constitution.

Option num­ber one is to adopt the ini­tia­tives. The House and Sen­ate are both Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled and these ini­tia­tives for the most part repeal bills the Leg­is­la­ture has recent­ly passed, so this option will not be considered.

Option num­ber two is to reject or ignore the ini­tia­tives, in which case they would be auto­mat­i­cal­ly for­ward­ed to the 2024 gen­er­al elec­tion ballot.

Option num­ber three is to sub­mit alter­na­tives along­side the mea­sures spon­sored by Walsh. If the House and Sen­ate were to do this for any of the six ini­tia­tives, vot­ers would be asked to choose between a Walsh scheme and the Leg­is­la­ture’s com­pet­ing pro­pos­al address­ing that same topic.

NPI oppos­es all six of these destruc­tive right wing ini­tia­tives and will be work­ing to secure their defeat if any should man­age to qualify.

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Book Review: Collision of Power examines the Bezos/Trump years at The Washington Post

The first ten amend­ments to the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion were added because of wide­spread con­cern that the coun­try’s plan of gov­ern­ment as rat­i­fied in 1787, lacked safe­guards to pro­tect against abuse of gov­ern­ment power.

The first of these amend­ments, adopt­ed in 1789, added five basic “free­doms” deemed essen­tial to the preser­va­tion of indi­vid­ual rights.

One of these was free­dom of “the press.”

For Mar­tin “Mar­ty” Baron, author of Col­li­sion of Pow­er, for­mer edi­tor of the Wash­ing­ton Post and before that The Boston Globe, it is essen­tial that “the press” act as a major bul­wark against gov­ern­ment-facil­i­tat­ed tyranny.

With­out inde­pen­dent news­pa­pers the gov­ern­ment could quick­ly dis­solve the rights guar­an­teed to all Amer­i­cans by the Bill of Rights.

Baron trusts that a well-informed pub­lic, pre­sent­ed with objec­tive, fair, hon­est, and bal­anced inves­tiga­tive report­ing is essen­tial (and, per­haps, suf­fi­cient) to defend democ­ra­cy against tyranny.

Trust­ing a well-informed pub­lic to make its own deci­sions is the newspaper’s way of pre­serv­ing per­son­al rights. If the pub­lic has the infor­ma­tion it needs, Baron writes, then its deci­sions (what­ev­er they may be) are democratic.

Pro­vid­ing bal­anced and fair infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic is, as Baron explains, no sim­ple task. The Post, for instance, was an inde­pen­dent news­pa­per that was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly a busi­ness enter­prise of con­sid­er­able size, owned by Jeff Bezos of Ama­zon. As such, it must pay its bills and show a prof­it to con­tin­ue to exist.

Per­haps the most imme­di­ate chal­lenge under Baron’s tenure was how to increase a read­er­ship which had been in seri­ous decline (neces­si­tat­ing the sale of the paper to a wealthy buy­er like Bezos).

To do this required hir­ing inves­tiga­tive reporters and edi­tors who could then write sto­ries that would gen­er­ate increased read­er interest.

Collision of Power cover

Col­li­sion of Pow­er: Trump, Bezos, and The Wash­ing­ton Post by Mar­tin Baron (Hard­cov­er, Flat­iron Books)

It also required a tech­no­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion in the prod­uct itself: from print­ed phys­i­cal news­pa­pers sold per copy, to online dig­i­tal news­pa­pers sold with sub­scrip­tions and pro­tect­ed by a paywall.

In addi­tion, tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tions dur­ing Baron’s edi­tor­ship raised new prob­lems for reporters want­i­ng to write hon­est and objec­tive accounts.

Inten­tion and time (and there­fore mon­ey) were need­ed to track down unsub­stan­ti­at­ed online leaks; whis­tle blow­er reports, stolen secret doc­u­ments, pos­si­bly false or mis­lead­ing reports from oth­er media sources, and “news” cre­at­ed by for­eign governments.

The Post’s cov­er­age of Russia’s inter­ven­tions to sup­port Don­ald Trump in the 2016 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion illus­trate the tech­no­log­i­cal and legal dif­fi­cul­ties the Post faced as a news­pa­per wish­ing to offer its read­ers a fair and objec­tive “truth”.

Don­ald Trump him­self became a third cat­e­go­ry of chal­lenges (in addi­tion to tech­no­log­i­cal changes and busi­ness demands) that Baron and the Wash­ing­ton Post staff faced in their efforts to keep the news­pa­per read­ing pub­lic well informed. Baron writes that Pres­i­dent Trump’s use of pres­i­den­tial pow­er turned the gov­ern­ment into “a weapon of intim­i­da­tion against the free press.”

Col­li­sion of Pow­er includes numer­ous exam­ples of this, many of them now quite famil­iar. What was unfa­mil­iar and entire­ly new, accord­ing to Baron, was the “weaponiza­tion” of the gov­ern­ment under Trump to under­mine the val­ue of a “free press.”

There was, as well, anoth­er, fourth obsta­cle Baron and the Post strug­gled with in its defense of First Amend­ment rights. Baron believed firm­ly that for the pub­lic to be well informed, a news­pa­per must offer its read­ers “objec­tive,” “fair,” and “hon­est” report­ing. Sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of the book are devot­ed to this issue.

It is, I believe, a top­ic well worth fur­ther attention.

What did it mean for the Wash­ing­ton Post to be “fair” in its reporting?

Dur­ing his tenure as edi­tor Baron strong­ly opposed (often younger) reporters’ will­ing­ness to allow their own expe­ri­ences and views into their reporting.

Baron’s tra­di­tion­al approach required equal atten­tion to the major voic­es in any con­tro­ver­sy – most often defined as the two dom­i­nant sides.

One result of this tra­di­tion­al “fair” report­ing was that Pres­i­dent Trump’s views, even when deter­mined by Post fact check­ers to be false or mis­lead­ing, were giv­en equal atten­tion to those of his oppo­nents. This put the Post in the posi­tion of report­ing mis­lead­ing and false state­ments as the day’s news. If read­ers were to make their deci­sions based on the avail­able “news” as report­ed in the Post (and, of course, oth­er news­pa­pers which fol­lowed the same “fair” tra­di­tion), then the Post was under­min­ing its own role as a cre­ator of an informed public.

What would it mean for the Wash­ing­ton Post to be “objec­tive” in its reporting?

To be objec­tive assumes that there is one way of view­ing real­i­ty all hon­est and fair folks would agree is “accu­rate.” My read­ing of Col­li­sion of Pow­er sug­gests that, while it’s an implic­it belief for Mar­ty Baron, his own expe­ri­ence indi­cates objec­tiv­i­ty, as he under­stands it, is not possible.

For exam­ple, he decries his reporters demand for across the board pay increas­es – espe­cial­ly, they say, giv­en the enor­mous wealth of the Post’s own­er, Jeff Bezos, of Ama­zon. This is wrong, Baron writes. Just because the own­er is rich doesn’t make the busi­ness a char­i­ty case. Even more impor­tant­ly for Baron, pay rais­es should be based on mer­it, nev­er equal­ly for all. Baron is clear that he is right, and the staff incor­rect. Even more to the point, Edi­tor Baron, and the Post’s staff, both “know” that they are assess­ing the sit­u­a­tion “fair­ly” and “hon­est­ly.”

Sim­i­lar­ly, on anoth­er occa­sion, when the Post’s man­age­ment is con­front­ed by black reporters and oth­ers of col­or over ques­tions of race and equi­ty at the news­pa­per, Baron’s “defense” of the paper’s efforts is pub­licly derid­ed and scoffed at by reporters and oth­er staff. Again, there is no cross over between Baron’s “fair and hon­est” assess­ment, and that of oth­ers at the Wash­ing­ton Post.

These two exam­ples show why “hon­esty” and “fair­ness” are not always suf­fi­cient to enable “objec­tive” report­ing. Baron is “just,” “fair,” and “hon­est” in his appraisal of what is hap­pen­ing. But then, so are those oth­ers who con­clude that the Post is not treat­ing staff fair­ly and equally.

Integri­ty and hon­esty are cru­cial for the Post to ful­fill its role as a First Amend­ment defend­er of democ­ra­cy. Belief in one own’s objec­tiv­i­ty, how­ev­er, can lead to a self-right­eous con­clu­sion that your own vision is clear and fair—but oth­ers are not (unless they agree with the speaker).

Read Col­li­sion of Pow­er if you find your­self fas­ci­nat­ed by an insider’s account of the strug­gles, and achieve­ments, of a lead­ing U.S. news­pa­per dur­ing a time of great tech­no­log­i­cal, busi­ness, and polit­i­cal upheavals.

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Tammy Morales overtakes Tanya Woo in Seattle City Council District #2

A sec­ond Seat­tle City Coun­cil incum­bent has erased a sig­nif­i­cant Elec­tion Night deficit and tak­en the lead from their chal­lenger in as many days.

As of today’s count — the fourth over­all in this 2023 gen­er­al elec­tion — Coun­cilmem­ber Tam­my Morales is ahead of rival Tanya Woo and on track to win. Like her col­league Dan Strauss in Dis­trict #6, Morales was able to pull ahead thanks to late bal­lots that strong­ly favored her.

Seattle City Council #2 results: Fourth day of counting

Tammy J MoralesTam­my J Morales

Oth­er | 12,712 votes

Tanya WooTanya Woo

Oth­er | 12,395 votes


Morales was first elect­ed to the Seat­tle City Coun­cil in 2019. Four years pri­or, she had chal­lenged Bruce Har­rell for Coun­cil in Dis­trict #2, los­ing by only a few hun­dred votes. In 2019, Har­rell opt­ed not to seek reelec­tion and Morales became his suc­ces­sor in a land­slide, defeat­ing Mark Solomon with 60.47% of the vote.

“I’ve been in Seat­tle for over twen­ty years, work­ing and advo­cat­ing for Seattle’s com­mu­ni­ties of col­or,” Morales writes on her 2023 cam­paign web­site. “Pri­or to being elect­ed to City Coun­cil in 2019, I worked for an afford­able hous­ing lender, as a com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er, and a food jus­tice advocate.”

“I am trained as a com­mu­ni­ty and region­al plan­ner — hav­ing spent my career work­ing with front­line com­mu­ni­ties to bring about food secu­ri­ty and to stop dis­place­ment in low-income neigh­bor­hoods. Cur­rent­ly, I chair the Neigh­bor­hoods, Edu­ca­tion, Civ­il Rights, and Cul­ture Com­mit­tee where we work to help fam­i­lies who are strug­gling in our city and cre­ate an econ­o­my that works for everyone.”

Morales was endorsed for reelec­tion by The Stranger and The Urbanist.

“Morales votes the right way on every issue,” gushed The Stranger in its endorse­ment state­ment. “Cops? She won’t give them more mon­ey. Renters? She goes to bat for them. Sweeps? She decries them. Hous­ing? She wants to decom­mod­i­fy it. When a con­tentious vote comes before the coun­cil, she rarely gets a fran­tic call from our City Hall reporter to ask which way she’s going to go.”

“Four years ago, we endorsed Tam­my Morales because of her clear sup­port for invest­ments in tran­sit and afford­able hous­ing, com­mit­ment to our most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, and pro­gres­sive vision,” The Urban­ist wrote. “We have not been dis­ap­point­ed. Morales has proven her­self to be an out­stand­ing coun­cilmem­ber for urban­ists. She has been a cham­pi­on for safe streets and pedes­tri­an safe­ty, was an ear­ly sup­port­er of social hous­ing, and laid out her sup­port for Com­pre­hen­sive Plan Alter­na­tive 6 in an op-ed in the Seat­tle Times.

The Seat­tle Times, for its part, backed Woo.

“Morales, the cur­rent coun­cil mem­ber for the dis­trict, is fre­quent­ly crit­i­cized by small busi­ness own­ers in Lit­tle Saigon, Sodo and oth­er neigh­bor­hoods for not seem­ing to care about endem­ic prop­er­ty crime and van­dal­ism,” the Seat­tle Times edi­to­r­i­al board wrote in its endorse­ment of Woo, char­ac­ter­iz­ing her as “best able to rep­re­sent all of South Seattle’s dif­fer­ent voices.”

Not many bal­lots remain to be count­ed in the 2nd or any oth­er Seat­tle city coun­cil dis­trict, so Morales’ new lead should remain intact.

Count­ing will con­tin­ue next week. The Novem­ber 2023 gen­er­al elec­tion is due to be cer­ti­fied by coun­ty can­vass­ing boards on Novem­ber 28th.

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Hilary Franz exits gubernatorial contest to run for Congress in WA-06, with Kilmer’s support

Hilary Franz con­firmed today that she’s pulling the plug on her six-month old guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign in favor of launch­ing a bid for Con­gress. The two-term Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands is now run­ning to suc­ceed out­go­ing Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer in the 6th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict with his sup­port and that of a num­ber of oth­er local lead­ers in Pierce and Kit­sap counties.

“I’ve talked to vot­ers in every cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton and heard the same con­cerns – ris­ing prices for neces­si­ties like hous­ing push­ing fam­i­lies out of the mid­dle class, pro­tect­ing repro­duc­tive free­dom and women’s rights, safe­guard­ing our democ­ra­cy, sup­port­ing our vet­er­ans and mil­i­tary fam­i­lies, and the cli­mate cri­sis bear­ing down on us,” Franz said in a pre­pared state­ment. “The chal­lenges we face extend beyond the bor­ders of Wash­ing­ton, and so must our solutions.”

“I am run­ning for Con­gress to bring my vision for bold, trans­for­ma­tive action to our nation’s cap­i­tal and keep fight­ing for fam­i­lies across our region.”

Franz’s updat­ed web­site,, has the same hero image of Franz and near­ly the same cam­paign logo as before, but it now reads “Hilary Franz for Con­gress” instead of “Hilary Franz for Governor.”

Hilary Franz for Congress

Hilary Franz’s new cam­paign logo

Franz’s endorse­ments at launch include:

  • U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer, WA-06
  • May­or of Taco­ma Vic­to­ria Woodards
  • Kit­sap Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Chris­tine Rolfes
  • Taco­ma Port Com­mis­sion­er Kristin Ang
  • Taco­ma City Coun­cilmem­ber Olgy Diaz
  • Pouls­bo May­or Becky Erickson
  • Aberdeen May­or Pete Schave
  • Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Chap­man, 24th Leg­isla­tive District
  • Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Ryan Mello
  • Pouls­bo City Coun­cilmem­ber Ed Stern

As of press time, Franz’s cam­paign paper­work had not yet land­ed at the Fed­er­al Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (NPI staff searched the to check). It assured­ly will soon. Franz is already accept­ing dona­tions for her con­gres­sion­al bid with ActBlue.

Franz began her pub­lic ser­vice on the Bain­bridge Island City Coun­cil many years ago and has roots in the dis­trict. (Bain­bridge, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s beloved home, was once part of Wash­ing­ton’s 1st, but nowa­days it’s in the 6th.)

Franz has a home in Mag­no­lia, a neigh­bor­hood in Seat­tle, and had been reg­is­tered to vote there, but says she now resides in Grays Har­bor County.

That’s one of the rur­al coastal coun­ties that has his­tor­i­cal­ly backed Democ­rats, but has begun vot­ing for Repub­li­cans in recent years. It includes com­mu­ni­ties like Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cos­mopo­lis, Ocean Shores, and Westport.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor Emi­ly Ran­dall is also con­tem­plat­ing a run. Ran­dall just got reelect­ed to a four year term last year and could cam­paign for the U.S. House with­out giv­ing up her seat in the state Senate.

On the Repub­li­can side, State Sen­a­tor Drew MacEwen is inter­est­ed. He’s in the same boat as Ran­dall, hav­ing just been elect­ed to a four-year term, and can run for the House with­out jeop­ar­diz­ing his seat in the Legislature.

Franz’s deci­sion to get out of the guber­na­to­r­i­al race and run for Con­gress win­nows the Demo­c­ra­t­ic field down to two can­di­dates: Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son (the fron­trun­ner) and State Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let. Mul­let is giv­ing up his Sen­ate seat to run because it comes up in pres­i­den­tial years.

It remains to be seen where Franz’s guber­na­to­r­i­al endorsers will land. It’s not incon­ceiv­able that Fer­gu­son and Mul­let will split them. But a lot of key names have already lined up behind Fer­gu­son, pass­ing over Mul­let. Even before this week’s devel­op­ments, Fer­gu­son had received the sup­port of Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine, and U.S. Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell.

Franz now has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­sue Fer­gu­son endorsers for her con­gres­sion­al cam­paign, adding to the sup­port she’s already announced, which notably includes Kilmer. If she and Fer­gu­son are suc­cess­ful in the Top Two, they will be on the 2024 tick­et togeth­er, just as they were in 2020 and 2016 when they ran for down­bal­lot posi­tions in Wash­ing­ton’s exec­u­tive department.

Repub­li­cans have their own set of rival guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­dates who are rais­ing seri­ous mon­ey and col­lect­ing endorse­ments: Semi Bird and Dave Reichert.

Bird, an unapolo­getic ultra MAGA can­di­date, was recent­ly recalled from his perch on the Rich­land School Board. Reichert is a for­mer con­gress­man who con­sid­ered run­ning for gov­er­nor against Jay Inslee in 2016 and 2020, but passed both times.

If Franz (or Ran­dall) win and no oth­er incum­bent mem­bers of Con­gress lose in 2024, Wash­ing­ton’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion would become three-fourths female as of the begin­ning of the next Con­gress. Take a look (exist­ing mem­bers of Con­gress who iden­ti­fy as female are list­ed in bold­face along with Franz/Randall):

  1. Suzan Del­Bene
  2. Rick Larsen
  3. Marie Glue­senkamp Perez
  4. Dan New­house
  5. Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers
  6. Derek Kilmer > Hilary Franz or Emi­ly Randall
  7. Prami­la Jayapal
  8. Kim Schri­er
  9. Adam Smith
  10. Mar­i­lyn Strickland
  11. Maria Cantwell
  12. Pat­ty Murray

The 6th had a Cook Par­ti­san Vot­ing Index of D+6, mean­ing the dis­trict recent­ly per­formed an aver­age of six points more Demo­c­ra­t­ic than the nation as a whole.

The 6th was for many years rep­re­sent­ed by the leg­endary Norm Dicks before he retired. Repub­li­cans notably failed to pick it up in the “Repub­li­can Rev­o­lu­tion” of 1994 or in 2010, and it isn’t a dis­trict that we think will be a good pick­up oppor­tu­ni­ty for them. It includes many places that reli­ably vote for Democ­rats in top of the tick­et races, includ­ing Kit­sap Coun­ty and por­tions of Pierce County.

While State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Jim Walsh might see an oppor­tu­ni­ty in Kilmer’s retire­ment to tar­get the dis­trict, nation­al Repub­li­cans are like­ly to remain more inter­est­ed in WA-03, which is now rep­re­sent­ed by Marie Glue­senkamp Perez.

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Representative Derek Kilmer says this term will be his last as a member of Congress

Six-term Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer, D‑Washington, announced in a let­ter Thurs­day that he will not seek reelec­tion to Con­gress next year, cit­ing the need for new chal­lenges in his life and more time with the fam­i­ly he loves.

“I’m a pret­ty young guy with more chap­ters in my life,” Kilmer, forty-nine, wrote. “My plan is to ensure those chap­ters enable me to con­tin­ue to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence. And I’d sure like to make a bit more time for those I love.”

Kilmer was elect­ed in 2012 to suc­ceed retir­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Norm Dicks, who had first been elect­ed to the House in 1976, when Kilmer was but two years old.

Wash­ing­ton’s Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz is expect­ed by peo­ple in the know to leave her cam­paign for gov­er­nor, per­haps with­in hours, and announce that she is run­ning for Kilmer’s seat. Twelve years ago, when Dicks retired, an imme­di­ate announce­ment from Kilmer pre­empt­ed the field.

Dur­ing his time in Con­gress, Kilmer has served on the House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee. He chaired, for four years, the Select Com­mit­tee on the Mod­ern­iza­tion of Con­gress, a bipar­ti­san pan­el which deliv­ered 200 rec­om­men­da­tions on how to improve the creaky, often-dys­func­tion­al “people’s House.”

“The Mod­ern­iza­tion Com­mit­tee showed that Con­gress can do things bet­ter when folks check their par­ti­san agen­das at the door and just focus on work­ing togeth­er,” Kilmer wrote.

U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer (Offi­cial portrait)

While a ris­ing fig­ure in Con­gress, Kilmer kept a hand-on approach to the 6th Dis­trict, which includes both the Kit­sap and Olympic Penin­su­la. The dis­trict includes rust-belt mill towns, a great nation­al park, a major U.S. Navy ship­yard, and – in Hood Canal and Puget Sound – sen­si­tive marine waters in need of cleanup.

Kilmer nev­er put on airs. His offi­cial biog­ra­phy men­tioned Port Ange­les High School, down­played Prince­ton, and did not ref­er­ence his doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford in Eng­land. He prepped for Con­gress with eight years in the Wash­ing­ton Leg­is­la­ture, serv­ing as State Sen­a­tor for a swing dis­trict on the Kit­sap Peninsula.

“It’s been my hon­or rep­re­sent­ing my home­town of Port Ange­les and the entire Olympic Penin­su­la,” he wrote.

“My upbring­ing – see­ing the chal­lenges fac­ing our region – moti­vat­ed my ser­vice. It’s why the core mis­sion of my office has been to cre­ate more oppor­tu­ni­ties for more peo­ple in more places.”

The 6th Dis­trict cov­ers a lot of ground, as did Kilmer.

In a newslet­ter ear­li­er this year, he described the heavy dawn-past-dusk sched­ules to be endured, both in the dis­trict and in D.C.

He acknowl­edged on Thurs­day that it’s tak­en its toll. “As nour­ish­ing as this job has been, it has come at pro­found cost to my fam­i­ly,” he allowed.

“Every the­atri­cal per­for­mance, musi­cal recital I missed, every fam­i­ly din­ner I was not there for. The dis­tance I felt from my fam­i­ly for months after Jan­u­ary 6th.”

More time-with-my-fam­i­ly is a fre­quent rea­son for leav­ing pol­i­tics, fre­quent­ly used by those in dan­ger of los­ing their seats seats.

Kilmer has rep­re­sent­ed a dis­trict labeled “safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic” that Pres­i­dent Biden car­ried in 2020 by a sev­en­teen-point margin.

With Kilmer, the oblig­a­tion seems genuine.

He has for years writ­ten let­ters to his two off­spring, Sophie and Aven, on his duties, ini­tial­ly chat­ty and late­ly of grow­ing expla­na­tion into the impor­tance of his work. “I tried to com­mu­ni­cate to them that every day, in every way, I was try­ing to make things bet­ter for their gen­er­a­tion – and for their country.”

Kilmer has also chaired – and co-chaired with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene, D‑Washington – the New Demo­c­rat Coali­tion, a bloc of Demo­c­ra­t­ic prag­ma­tists in Con­gress. The NDs include most of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­ers from so-called swing dis­tricts. In his let­ter, Kilmer tout­ed the group: “The New Democ­rats are the best kept secret in pol­i­tics – a group of prag­mat­ic, prob­lem-solv­ing Democ­rats who chase impact rather than head­lines. Sim­ply put, they’ve focused on get­ting things done for the Amer­i­can peo­ple. Our pol­i­tics could use more of that.”

Kilmer has one major task left relat­ing to his district.

He craft­ed, spon­sored, and has twice pushed through the House a Wild Olympics bill, pre­serv­ing as wilder­ness an addi­tion­al 126,000 acres of fed­er­al land in the Olympic Nation­al For­est, sur­round­ing the Olympic Nation­al Park.

The leg­is­la­tion has stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Kilmer held hear­ings around the Olympic Penin­su­la before writ­ing the bill, which would also pro­tect more than a dozen streams under the fed­er­al Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The result has been leg­is­la­tion sup­port­ed by con­ser­va­tion groups, busi­ness­es large and small, as well as the eight native tribes of the Peninsula.

With Dicks and now Kilmer, Wash­ing­ton’s 6th Dis­trict has been splen­did­ly rep­re­sent­ed in Con­gress for near­ly fifty years.

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Dan Strauss overtakes Pete Hanning in Seattle City Council District #6

There’s been a lead change in the con­test for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #6.

With today’s count, incum­bent Dan Strauss has over­tak­en his chal­lenger, Pete Han­ning, and looks set to return to the Seat­tle City Coun­cil for anoth­er term. Strauss was behind on Elec­tion Night and again yes­ter­day, but was expect­ed to move into first place by the end of the week with the tab­u­la­tion of late ballots.

He’s now done that, and tomor­row, he’ll almost cer­tain­ly pad his new lead.

Seattle City Council #6 results: Third day of counting

Dan StraussDan Strauss

Oth­er | 14,754 votes

Pete HanningPete Han­ning

Oth­er | 14,529 votes


Pri­or to becom­ing a Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber in 2020 (he was elect­ed in 2019), Strauss served as a senior pol­i­cy advi­sor for for­mer Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Sal­ly Bagshaw, and as a leg­isla­tive assis­tant to now retired Sen­a­tor David Frockt.

“In Olympia as a leg­isla­tive aide, Strauss spear­head­ed the first ver­sion of Washington’s Extreme Risk Pro­tec­tion Order, a law designed to tem­porar­i­ly restrict access to firearms from peo­ple who demon­strate a threat to them­selves or oth­ers,” his offi­cial Coun­cil biog­ra­phy notes. “When the Leg­is­la­ture failed to pass respon­si­ble gun leg­is­la­tion, he went to work for the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty on the Extreme Risk Pro­tec­tion Orders Ini­tia­tive (I‑1491), which he helped get passed in 2016 with over 70 per­cent of the vote.”

His cam­paign web­site notes: “Dan loves liv­ing in Bal­lard because there is nowhere else that is blocks to both the salt­wa­ter and fresh­wa­ter, and on mul­ti­ple bus routes. In his free time, Dan enjoys moun­taineer­ing, build­ing hik­ing trails, and kayak­ing around Seat­tle. He has raced 3 times in the SEVENTY48, an unsup­port­ed human pow­er race from Taco­ma to Port Townsend cov­er­ing 70 miles.”

“Last year he cut 5 hours off his time and com­plet­ed the 70 miles in 24 hours, 15 min­utes.  You can most often find him walk­ing around Green Lake, on Bal­lard Avenue, in Dis­cov­ery Park, or launch­ing his kayak at Elks Lodge #827.”

Strauss was endorsed in his bid for a sec­ond term by The Stranger and The Urban­ist. The Seat­tle Times, how­ev­er, declined to endorse Strauss for reelec­tion, back­ing Han­ning instead. The Times cit­ed Strauss’ record on pub­lic safe­ty and his fail­ure to sub­ject May­or Bruce Har­rel­l’s pro­posed tree ordi­nance to robust leg­isla­tive and pub­lic scruti­ny, which could have result­ed in a pro­pos­al that reflect­ed com­mu­ni­ty input rather than what the Mas­ter Builders wanted.

“Despite a plea from the city’s own Urban For­est Com­mis­sion to post­pone the May 23 vote on an ordi­nance that the com­mis­sion said vio­lat­ed city code and did not fol­low the Seat­tle Race and Social Jus­tice Initiative’s Racial Equi­ty Toolk­it process, Strauss forged ahead. Seat­tle will undoubt­ed­ly be less green because of it,” the Times edi­to­ri­al­ized in its endorse­ment of Han­ning.

Han­ning, a small busi­ness own­er, leads the Fre­mont Cham­ber of Commerce.

“I’ve been civi­cal­ly engaged through­out my career, with a focus on improv­ing pub­lic safe­ty and sup­port­ing small busi­ness­es. I’ve served on many boards, includ­ing the Fre­mont Neigh­bor­hood Coun­cil, the North Precinct Advi­so­ry Coun­cil, the Fre­mont Cham­ber of Com­merce, the Seat­tle Restau­rant Alliance, and the Wash­ing­ton Restaurant/Hospitality Asso­ci­a­tion. I helped form the Seat­tle Restau­rant Alliance and the Seat­tle Nightlife & Music Asso­ci­a­tion,” Han­ning’s cam­paign biog­ra­phy says.

The Urban­ist backed Strauss, char­ac­ter­iz­ing him as the bet­ter choice while fault­ing him for some of his votes and lim­it­ed effectiveness.

“We’re hop­ing for more from the land use com­mit­tee chair; the City Coun­cil sore­ly needs a strong leader in this role as it works to pass a ‘Major Update’ to its Com­pre­hen­sive Plan by the end of 2024. While we appre­ci­ate Strauss’s ded­i­ca­tion to traf­fic safe­ty and lib­er­al­iz­ing street cafe rules, the few changes he has worked to imple­ment have been rel­a­tive­ly minor.”

The Stranger’s endorse­ment of Strauss was even more reluc­tant.

“With all the con­sti­tu­tion of a pile of sug­ar-free Jel­lo, Strauss spent his first few years on coun­cil fol­low­ing the lead of oth­er pro­gres­sive politi­cians. But as his re-elec­tion approached, he piv­ot­ed hard­er and hard­er to the right. He held his tongue on most con­tentious votes, such as the council’s drug war reboot, but then he inevitably sided with the worst peo­ple on the dais,” the alt-week­ly editorialized.

Nev­er­the­less, Strauss made it onto The Stranger’s “Cheat Sheet.”

And, as of tonight, he’s the only incum­bent from any of the sev­en city coun­cil dis­tricts poised to return to the coun­cil. Lisa Her­bold, Kshama Sawant, Alex Ped­er­sen, and Deb­o­ra Juarez are all retir­ing, while incum­bents Tam­my Morales and Andrew Lewis, who decid­ed to run again, remain behind.

There’s a chance Morales pulls it out in Dis­trict #2 — the out­come could be very close. Lewis’ prospects in Dis­trict #7 are grimmer.

We’ll con­tin­ue to keep an eye on these con­tests as the count­ing continues.

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Goodbye, Joe Manchin

Sen­a­tor Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia announced today that he decid­ed against seek­ing reelec­tion in 2024 and will leave the cham­ber at the end of his term.

“After months of delib­er­a­tion and long con­ver­sa­tions with my fam­i­ly, I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accom­plished what I set out to do for West Vir­ginia. I have made one of the tough­est deci­sions of my life and decid­ed that I will not be run­ning for re-elec­tion to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, but what I will be doing is trav­el­ing the coun­try and speak­ing out to see if there is an inter­est in cre­at­ing a move­ment to mobi­lize the mid­dle and bring Amer­i­cans togeth­er,” Manchin said in a state­ment post­ed to his U.S. Sen­ate web­site.

The state­ment was accom­pa­nied by a video also announc­ing the deci­sion.

Manchin calls him­self a Demo­c­rat, but a lot of Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists view him as an old school right winger who hap­pens to cau­cus with Democ­rats. On seem­ing­ly a bil­lion dif­fer­ent occa­sions, Manchin has worked to sab­o­tage Pres­i­dent Biden’s agen­da and thwart pro­gres­sive caus­es, from repro­duc­tive rights to vot­ing rights and cli­mate jus­tice. Along with Kyrsten Sine­ma, Manchin notably oppos­es get­ting rid of the fil­i­buster so that the Sen­ate can oper­ate democratically.

It is because of Manchin that the Child Tax Cred­it expired, which is hurt­ing Pres­i­dent Biden’s efforts to fight pover­ty and lift up low­er income families.

Manchin also infu­ri­at­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists and state leg­is­la­tors across the coun­try, along with many of his own col­leagues, when he stood in the way of Build Back Bet­ter’s pas­sage in the Sen­ate last Congress.

The White House nego­ti­at­ed with him to secure his vote for the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act after Build Back Bet­ter was shelved. Manchin has seem­ing­ly regret­ted that deal, com­plain­ing pub­licly that the admin­is­tra­tion is imple­ment­ing the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act in ways he does­n’t support.

(Cue the sound of a thou­sand tiny violins.)

Manchin has, how­ev­er, gen­er­al­ly been will­ing to sup­port Pres­i­dent Biden’s nom­i­nees, which has been cru­cial because Democ­rats have a very slim major­i­ty and some­times haven’t been able to spare a sin­gle vote to win on the floor.

Manchin is con­sid­er­ing run­ning as an inde­pen­dent can­di­date against Biden for Pres­i­dent. Despite that, the White House put out a state­ment react­ing to the retire­ment news, offer­ing well wish­es and heap­ing praise on Manchin.

Said the President:

“For more than forty years — as a state leg­is­la­tor, a Sec­re­tary of State, a Gov­er­nor, and a Sen­a­tor — Joe Manchin has ded­i­cat­ed him­self to serv­ing the peo­ple of his beloved West Vir­ginia. Dur­ing my time as Vice Pres­i­dent and now as Pres­i­dent, Joe and I have worked togeth­er to get things done for hard­work­ing families.”

“From the Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Law – which is upgrad­ing America’s aging infra­struc­ture, to the PACT Act – which is mak­ing sure our vet­er­ans get the care they deserve, to the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act – which is strength­en­ing our ener­gy secu­ri­ty and low­er­ing pre­scrip­tion drug costs for our seniors, to the most mean­ing­ful gun safe­ty leg­is­la­tion in three decades, we’ve made real progress. I was also proud when Joe vot­ed to make his­to­ry and con­firm Ketan­ji Brown Jack­son as the first Black woman to serve on the Unit­ed States Supreme Court.”

“Joe, Gayle, and the entire Manchin fam­i­ly should feel proud of the Senator’s ser­vice to West Vir­ginia and to our coun­try. I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our work togeth­er to get things done for the Amer­i­can people.”

That is a tru­ly kind and gen­er­ous state­ment that pur­pose­ful­ly omits most of what I’ve said here in this post. Will Manchin respond by work­ing to under­mine Biden’s reelec­tion, as he has hint­ed repeat­ed­ly he just might do?

Manchin, sev­en­ty-six, is not much younger than either Biden or Don­ald Trump. He has been in the Sen­ate since 2010. Before that, he was the Gov­er­nor and Sec­re­tary of State of West Vir­ginia. He entered pol­i­tics at a time when West Vir­ginia was a rock sol­id Demo­c­ra­t­ic bas­tion. Those days are now over and Manchin is the only Demo­c­rat serv­ing in fed­er­al or statewide office.

Manchin last won reelec­tion in 2018, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave year. His chances of win­ning in 2024 weren’t good. His suc­ces­sor Jim Jus­tice (the cur­rent Repub­li­can gov­er­nor of West Vir­ginia) is run­ning against him, and he like­ly would have had to share a bal­lot with Don­ald Trump (who many of his con­stituents love).

Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship had urged him to run again, but his deci­sion to stand down is for the best. Manch­in’s depar­ture from the Sen­ate, along with Sine­ma’s, will result in a more unit­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus that does­n’t have mem­bers work­ing from with­in to pre­vent long over­due changes to the Sen­ate’s anti­quat­ed rules.

It will also prompt Sen­ate Democ­rats to look else­where for oppor­tu­ni­ties to pre­serve their major­i­ty, rather than com­mit­ting huge sums of mon­ey to defend a dis­loy­al incum­bent in a state with an elec­torate that adores Don­ald Trump.

The par­ty will be most­ly on defense in 2024.

Democ­rats have sev­er­al sen­a­tors run­ning in states that pre­vi­ous­ly vot­ed for Trump, like Sher­rod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Mon­tana, where­as Repub­li­cans have very few vul­ner­a­ble incum­bents. That makes the map dif­fi­cult and the math tough. Democ­rats can’t afford to lose any of their incum­bents or sur­ren­der any open seats to Repub­li­cans. They must win across the board in the remain­ing com­pet­i­tive races or the major­i­ty will be gone.

How­ev­er, Democ­rats demon­strat­ed last year they could win across the board even in a midterm cycle that was sup­posed to be a “red wave”. Pun­dits sug­gest­ed they might strug­gle, but for the first time in a cen­tu­ry, no incum­bent sen­a­tor lost. The Democ­rats were able to reelect all their mem­bers in a tough environment.

They are not to be count­ed out.

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

2023 statewide voter turnout could end up as the worst ever in Washington history

Are we about to set yet anoth­er new record for the worst gen­er­al elec­tion vot­er turnout in Wash­ing­ton State his­to­ry? It unfor­tu­nate­ly looks like the answer is like­ly to be yes, based on an analy­sis by our team at NPI of the lat­est bal­lot return sta­tis­tics pub­lished by the Sec­re­tary of State’s office yes­ter­day evening.

With Elec­tion Day hav­ing come and gone, the Sec­re­tary of State’s data shows that 32.62% of bal­lots have been returned as of one day after the elec­tion. That’s not even a third of the elec­torate. And only 24.71% of the bal­lots sent to Wash­ing­ton’s more than 4.8 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers have been counted.

The turnout per­cent­age is going to rise, because more bal­lots returned through the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice are mak­ing their way to coun­ty elec­tions offices across Wash­ing­ton. But there’s a real risk we set a new low record for turnout. Elec­tion Day par­tic­i­pa­tion appears to have been unusu­al­ly low this year.

At this point in 2019, the last com­pa­ra­ble elec­tion four years ago, which had the eighth worst turnout in state his­to­ry, the per­cent­age of returned bal­lots was 40.95%, as you can see from the Sec­re­tary of State’s help­ful com­par­a­tive chart in Pow­er Bi, an inter­ac­tive tool they use for pre­sent­ing bal­lot return statistics:

Ballot return statistics for the 2023 general election compared to 2019

Bal­lot return sta­tis­tics for the 2023 gen­er­al elec­tion com­pared to 2019 (Power­Bi visu­al­iza­tion by the Sec­re­tary of State’s office, cap­tured Novem­ber 8th, 2023)

We’re way, way behind 2019, so there’s no doubt this turnout will be one of the worst in state his­to­ry. 2023 will eas­i­ly rank above 2019 and 2013 on the worst turnouts of all time list, and prob­a­bly 2021 too. Can it also sur­pass 2015, which had the sec­ond worst turnout, and 2017, which had the worst ever?

Sad­ly, we believe it can.

To get a bet­ter sense of the tra­jec­to­ry we are on and how it com­pares to six years ago, we went into our archives and exam­ined all of our snap­shots of data pub­lished by the Sec­re­tary of State from 2017.

You can see below the turnout per­cent­ages through each day of count­ing in the table below. These are the per­cent­ages of tal­lied — not returned — bal­lots. The esti­mat­ed num­ber of bal­lots remain­ing to be processed is also shown.

We are two days into the 2023 count; here are the num­bers for this year:

On the first day of count­ing in 2017, 22.29% of reg­is­tered vot­ers had had their bal­lots count­ed. This year, only 21.35% had. On the sec­ond day of count­ing in 2017, par­tic­i­pa­tion rose to 25.91%; this year, on the sec­ond day of count­ing, it was 24.71%. An esti­mat­ed 302,626 bal­lots remain to be processed.

If they all were to get count­ed, that would take turnout up to about 30.97%.

That’s not the end of the sto­ry, though.

Remem­ber, the Sec­re­tary of State is report­ing that 32.62% of bal­lots have been returned as of yes­ter­day. Not all returned bal­lots get count­ed because some have issues — like the sig­na­ture does­n’t match. Present­ly, in this elec­tion, there are 13,711 chal­lenged bal­lots. 8,850 have a sig­na­ture mis­match, 4,795 are unsigned, and twen­ty-five have no sig­na­ture on file (which is odd).

30.87% of bal­lots have been accept­ed; while 1.19% have been challenged.

Today and tomor­row, the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice is expect­ed to deliv­er the bulk of the remain­ing bal­lots that were mailed by in-state vot­ers in this elec­tion before the Tues­day dead­line arrived. Then, deliv­er­ies will slow to a trickle.

For turnout to sur­pass 2017, we’d need about 1.79 mil­lion vot­ers to par­tic­i­pate at a min­i­mum. We have 4,830,175 reg­is­tered vot­ers in this elec­tion and 37.11% of that elec­torate would be about 1,792,477. Again, 1,193,489 bal­lots have been count­ed and there are an esti­mat­ed 302,626 bal­lots on hand for processing.

If all are count­ed, we get up to 1,496,115 reg­is­tered vot­ers voting.

Are there anoth­er three hun­dred thou­sand or so bal­lots out there mak­ing their way to coun­ty elec­tions offi­cials that aren’t includ­ed in the return fig­ure yet?

It seems unlikely.

Here are the Day Two esti­mat­ed bal­lots to be processed num­bers for all recent odd-year elec­tions. You can see that in both 2021 and 2019, there were a lot more bal­lots await­ing pro­cess­ing on the sec­ond day than this year.

  • 2023 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 302,626
  • 2021 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 512,130
  • 2019 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 623,814
  • 2017 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 258,894
  • 2015 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 283,001
  • 2013 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 422,157

And here are some recent even years for addi­tion­al comparison:

  • 2022 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 745,330
  • 2020 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 409,826
  • 2018 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 723,438
  • 2016 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 791,555
  • 2014 Day 2 Esti­mat­ed Bal­lots to Process: 501,376

Bal­lot pro­cess­ing oper­a­tions in sev­er­al major coun­ties were sig­nif­i­cant­ly dis­rupt­ed yes­ter­day after an unknown bad actor or actors sent envelopes con­tain­ing bak­ing soda and traces of fen­tanyl to coun­ty elec­tions offices. The sub­se­quent facil­i­ty evac­u­a­tions and law enforce­ment inves­ti­ga­tions slowed down oper­a­tions in King, Pierce, Spokane, and Skag­it coun­ties. Spokane opt­ed not to run a tabulation.

By the end of tomor­row, we should have much more data to work with that will bet­ter illu­mi­nate our tra­jec­to­ry. We’ll keep a close eye on the turnout data and bring you fur­ther updates and analy­sis through­out the vote count­ing period.

What can be done about this?

At NPI, we’ve been sound­ing the alarm for years about elec­tion fatigue. It is a real and grow­ing prob­lem in Wash­ing­ton and else­where in the Unit­ed States. We’ve done great work here and in Ore­gon to make vot­ing easy, and that work has helped increase turnout in even-num­bered years. But in odd-num­bered years, most vot­ers are not turn­ing out. The trend looks real­ly, real­ly bad.

If we want Wash­ing­ton State’s local offi­cials to be cho­sen by the many rather than a few, then we need to act. Most coun­ties are already hold­ing their reg­u­lar elec­tions in even years, but cities can­not. A state law dat­ing back to the 1960s cur­rent­ly locks all Wash­ing­ton munic­i­pal­i­ties into odd years — they have no choice but to hold their reg­u­lar elec­tions for may­or, city attor­ney, city coun­cil, and oth­er offices in years when the elec­torate is small­er, old­er, rich­er, and whiter.

NPI has devel­oped leg­is­la­tion to allow cities and towns to regain the free­dom to choose their elec­tion tim­ing. Sen­ate Bill 5723, prime spon­sored by our cham­pi­on Sen­a­tor Javier Valdez, is cur­rent­ly parked in Sen­ate Rules. It will be our top pri­or­i­ty for the 2024 leg­isla­tive ses­sion. If you are inter­est­ed in help­ing get it passed, please reach out. You can text us at 425–310-2785.

More back­ground about the bill is avail­able at and our friends at Sight­line have just pub­lished a huge­ly use­ful deep dive that looks at the vot­er turnout penal­ty Wash­ing­ton cities and towns are pay­ing due to being forced to hold their elec­tions in odd-num­bered years. Be sure to check that out here.

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

Donald Trump stages another hate-filled rally in Florida while five wannabe heirs to the Republican nomination trade jabs nearby

When I was in col­lege, sev­er­al of us gath­ered one night around a rec room table to play a war game on the theme of the World War II D‑Day land­ing in France.

It was a beery occa­sion in which one play­er cheat­ed and moved the pow­er­ful Panz­er Lehr chip clos­er to the Allied beaches.

He was caught. The oppos­ing play­er became gen­uine­ly, momen­tar­i­ly angry, until a bystander joked that it was a game and the Allies had bro­ken through Ger­man lines to the point where the Fuhrer was con­tem­plat­ing suicide.

The dor­mi­to­ry scene was reen­act­ed on stage tonight as five Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates met on stage in Mia­mi for a mean­ing­less clash.

All the debaters trail far behind fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump, who skipped the event and held a ral­ly not far away.

The con­test became fierce, how­ev­er, because the stakes were so low.

The top­ic was Tik­Tok and whether the Chi­nese-owned social media net­work is being used to spread ene­my pro­pa­gan­da and cap­ture America’s youth.

Yep, Repub­li­cans do debate this top­ic, with no more vig­or­ous Tik­Toc crit­ic than ex-South Car­oli­na Gov­er­nor Nik­ki Haley.

Rival Vivek Ramaswamy said he’s used Tik­Tok to con­vey his cam­paign and made a sneer­ing ref­er­ence to Haley: “She made fun of me for actu­al­ly join­ing Tik­Tok while her own daugh­ter was actu­al­ly using the app for a long time.”

“Leave my daugh­ter out of your voice,” Haley snapped in a moth­er griz­zly response, then mut­tered, “You’re just scum.”

Haley avoid­ed him on stage after the debate. She’s been climb­ing in the polls and has caught Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis is a cou­ple of ear­ly states. But each is about forty points behind the fre­quent­ly-indict­ed fron­trun­ner Trump.

The also-rans have been left to strug­gle for talk­ing points and com­pete for atten­tion. They faced off under dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances tonight, in that Democ­rats had just used the cause of repro­duc­tive rights to sweep the board in a local elec­tion year. The Repub­li­cans’ evan­gel­i­cal base is fierce­ly anti-abor­tion, while sev­en states – includ­ing red states Ohio, Ken­tucky and Kansas – have vot­ed to pro­tect access to abor­tion care since the Dobbs deci­sion was hand­ed down.

Haley showed signs of rec­og­niz­ing Repub­li­cans’ unpop­u­lar posi­tion, and alien­ation of sub­ur­ban women. “I don’t judge any­one for being pro-choice and I don’t want them judg­ing me for being pro-life,” she said. “Stop the judg­ment. We don’t need to divide Amer­i­cans over this issue anymore.”

Sen­a­tor Tim Scott (R‑South Car­oli­na) and ex-Gov­er­nor Chris Christie (for­mer­ly R‑New Jer­sey) clashed on the issue. Scott was adamant that there should be a nation­al ban on abor­tion after fif­teen weeks of pregnancy.

Christie remind­ed him that lawyers seek­ing to over­turn Roe v. Wade had argued that the legal­i­ty of access to abor­tion should be left up to the states.

Haley added that no nation­al abor­tion ban could ever pass the U.S. Sen­ate. Ramaswamy ram­bled on about “the sex­u­al respon­si­bil­i­ty of men” and forc­ing guys to assume respon­si­bil­i­ty for preg­nan­cies as an alter­na­tive to termination.

Abor­tion wasn’t the only unpop­u­lar Repub­li­can posi­tion debat­ed on stage.

Chris Christie made the case for rais­ing the retire­ment age under Social Secu­ri­ty. He didn’t say by how much, but cit­ed his thir­ty-year-old son as one who should bear the bur­den: “If he can’t adjust to a few year increase in Social Secu­ri­ty retire­ment age over the next forty years, I’ve got big­ger prob­lems with him than his Social Secu­ri­ty payments.”

Haley, as well, was look­ing at her off­spring work­ing longer in the future.

“Those who have been promised should keep it (Social Secu­ri­ty),” she said, “but for like my kids in their twen­ties, you go and you say, ‘We’re going to change the rules.’ You change the retire­ment age for them.”

DeSan­tis is gov­er­nor of a state with huge num­bers of retired cit­i­zens (and vot­ers). “As gov­er­nor of Flori­da I know a few peo­ple on Social Secu­ri­ty,” he said – as close as DeSan­tis will ever come to mirth.

“It’s one thing to just pay it on life expectan­cy but we have had a sig­nif­i­cant decline in life expectan­cy in this century.”

In oth­er words, he wouldn’t raise the age of eligibility.

Sup­port for Israel in its war with Hamas has become a holy grail with Repub­li­cans, along with a tool to bash “The Squad” – young pro­gres­sive women of col­or in Con­gress – and demo­nize the nation’s lead­ing col­leges and their stu­dents. They’ve been open­ing up on cease-fire protests.

So it was tonight. DeSan­tis has played boss to Florida’s State Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem and boast­ed of telling col­lege admin­is­tra­tors to ban the group Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine. “We’re not going to use state dol­lars to finance jihad,” he declared.

Col­lege admin­is­tra­tors are, charged Haley, more tol­er­ant of anti­semitism than racism. “If the Ku Klux Klan were doing this, every col­lege pres­i­dent would be up in arms: This is dif­fer­ent. You should treat it exact­ly the same. Anti­semitism is just as awful as racism.”

Christie gave a far dif­fer­ent answer, draw­ing on his expe­ri­ence as U.S. Attor­ney in New Jer­sey at the time of the Sep­tem­ber 11th attacks.

He talked with rab­bis, pledg­ing to pros­e­cute crimes against Jews, as well as Mus­lim lead­ers fear­ful of attacks on mosques.

“It takes lead­er­ship to do this,” said Christie. “You must work with both sides.”

It was a fit­ting choice of words.

The can­di­dates on stage have tried to “work with both sides,” mobi­liz­ing anti-Trump Repub­li­cans while peel­ing sup­port away from the front-run­ner. They’ve proven sin­gu­lar­ly inept at so doing, DeSan­tis more than any oth­er. The Trump base can­not be budged, and every effort brings ridicule from the frontrunner.

DeSan­tis did briefly go after Trump last night, for not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the debate and for a nation­al debt that bal­looned dur­ing his presidency.

Trump was, mean­while, coun­ter­pro­gram­ming with a ral­ly near­by in Hialeah. He was bring­ing Flori­da Sen­a­tor Rick Scott on board his campaign.

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

Multiple Washington State county elections offices just got envelopes with white powder

This morn­ing, in what appears to be a dis­gust­ing coor­di­nat­ed attack on our sys­tem of elec­tions, three of Wash­ing­ton State’s four largest coun­ty elec­tions depart­ments received envelopes in the mail that con­tained a white pow­der, with at least one of the envelopes also con­tain­ing a note that read “End the elec­tion now,” accord­ing to coun­ty elec­tions offi­cials and ear­ly media reports.

Envelopes were received at the offices of Pierce, King, and Spokane Coun­ty Elec­tions. Those three coun­ties, along with Sno­homish, are the largest in the state, home to more than six­ty per­cent of Wash­ing­ton’s population.

In Pierce Coun­ty, the Taco­ma Police Depart­ment, Wash­ing­ton State Patrol, and the Taco­ma Fire Depart­ment all showed up to respond after a call was placed around 8:45 AM from a Pierce Coun­ty Elec­tions employ­ee to report the matter.

Sub­se­quent test­ing showed that the white pow­der was sim­ply bak­ing pow­der, which may also be the case for the oth­er envelopes that were sent, assum­ing they were sent by the same per­son or per­sons. Out of an abun­dance of cau­tion, the build­ing was evac­u­at­ed, though it has now been reopened.

A sim­i­lar sequence of events then took place in Spokane and King counties.

The Spokesman-Review report­ed, cit­ing Spokane Coun­ty Audi­tor Vicky Dal­ton, that an employ­ee opened an enve­lope with a “sus­pi­cious sub­stance” (white pow­der) around 10:15 AM. “The per­son informed her man­ag­er who halt­ed bal­lot count­ing and evac­u­at­ed the office,” the Spokesman-Review reported.

Dal­ton was advised by police not to resume count­ing today, so it looks like Spokane Coun­ty will not be releas­ing a fresh tal­ly of bal­lots this afternoon.

The sub­stance is being test­ed to ascer­tain what it is.

Over in Ren­ton, accord­ing to King Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor Julie Wise, a King Coun­ty Elec­tions employ­ee like­wise opened a let­ter — not a bal­lot return enve­lope, Wise explained, but a let­ter — con­tain­ing white pow­der around 11 AM Pacif­ic Time. As in Pierce Coun­ty, first respon­ders were sum­moned. The King Coun­ty Elec­tions facil­i­ty was evac­u­at­ed as a precaution.

Haz­mat and fire crews are cur­rent­ly work­ing the scene.

Giv­en that this is break­ing news, there’s a lot we still don’t know, but it sim­ply can’t be a coin­ci­dence that three of the four largest coun­ty elec­tions offices in Wash­ing­ton all received envelopes with a white pow­der on the same morn­ing. And right on the heels of Seat­tle-area Jew­ish syn­a­gogues get­ting them, too.

We’d real­ly like to see who­ev­er is respon­si­ble for this get caught and pros­e­cut­ed to the full extent of the law by both fed­er­al and state local officials.

It is pos­si­ble that Sno­homish and oth­er coun­ty elec­tions offices were also sent envelopes, and if so, hope­ful­ly they can be intercepted.

This dis­turb­ing set of inci­dents is a reminder that there are bad actors out there who want to attack our democ­ra­cy. We must improve our threat defenses.

We cer­tain­ly could ben­e­fit from more robust mail screening.

NPI stands ready to work with leg­is­la­tors and part­ners to improve elec­tion secu­ri­ty. We are less than a year away from an extreme­ly con­se­quen­tial pres­i­den­tial elec­tion that bad actors will like­ly be seek­ing to dis­rupt and influ­ence for their own ends. It’s imper­a­tive that we allo­cate more resources to sup­port our elec­tion work­ers, and tough­en penal­ties for crimes per­pe­trat­ed against them.

UPDATE, 3 PM: Author­i­ties have con­firmed that Skag­it Coun­ty Elec­tions also received an enve­lope with white pow­der. Skag­it is a medi­um-sized coun­ty locat­ed between Sno­homish and What­com coun­ties in West­ern Washington.

NPI received a state­ment from Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs com­ment­ing on the inci­dent. Here is the news release that they just sent to us:

Envelopes received by elec­tions offices in King, Pierce, Skag­it, and Spokane coun­ties were found Wednes­day to con­tain unknown pow­dery sub­stances. Each impact­ed county’s elec­tions work­ers evac­u­at­ed their offices, and elec­tions lead­ers have tak­en pre­cau­tions to keep employ­ees and office vis­i­tors safe.

Local, state, and fed­er­al author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing the inci­dents, which occurred while work­ers were pro­cess­ing bal­lots from the Nov. 7 Gen­er­al Elec­tion. Because inves­ti­ga­tions are ongo­ing, the Office of the Sec­re­tary of State can pro­vide no fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the incidents.

Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs said these inci­dents illus­trate the need to take seri­ous­ly the threats that elec­tions work­ers face in admin­is­ter­ing Washington’s demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

“The safe­ty of staff and observers is para­mount as elec­tions work­ers across the state open envelopes and count each voter’s bal­lot,” Sec­re­tary Hobbs said. “These inci­dents under­score the crit­i­cal need for stronger pro­tec­tions for all elec­tion work­ers. Democ­ra­cy rests upon free and fair elec­tions. These inci­dents are acts of ter­ror­ism to threat­en our elections.”

Dur­ing the state’s Aug. 1 [Top Two elec­tion], King Coun­ty and Okanogan Coun­ty elec­tion offi­cials received sus­pi­cious sub­stances in envelopes. The enve­lope and let­ter received by King Coun­ty Elec­tions were turned over to the Unit­ed States Postal Inspec­tion Ser­vice, which per­formed an analy­sis that detect­ed trace amounts of fen­tanyl. The sub­stance found in the Okanogan Coun­ty enve­lope was deter­mined to be unharmful.

UPDATE, 3:20 PM: King Coun­ty Elec­tions says that despite the dis­rup­tion, they will be releas­ing a new tal­ly today. Here’s their statement:

King Coun­ty Elec­tions to Post Updat­ed Results at 4 p.m.

This morn­ing, King Coun­ty Elec­tions received a piece of mail that con­tained white pow­der. The enve­lope was imme­di­ate­ly iso­lat­ed, the facil­i­ty evac­u­at­ed, and 911 was called. Law enforce­ment and HAZMAT teams arrived quick­ly to assess the situation.

The piece of con­cern­ing mail arrived in our mail­room, on the first floor, in our admin­is­tra­tive suite. All bal­lots remained secured on the bal­lot pro­cess­ing floor and were mon­i­tored by both secu­ri­ty cam­eras and livestreamed web­cams view­able on the King Coun­ty Elec­tions website.

This sit­u­a­tion kept Elec­tions staff out of the build­ing and away from pro­cess­ing bal­lots for approx­i­mate­ly three hours. After the mail­room was cleared and cleaned by HAZMAT, staff returned to work and pro­cess­ing resumed for the day.

We expect to add approx­i­mate­ly 20,000 bal­lots in the day’s 4 PM results update and will post addi­tion­al updat­ed results at 4 PM on week­days until cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on Novem­ber 28.

If we get fur­ther updates, we’ll add to this story.

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