Chopp, Santos, Dickerson and Kenney top Seattle’s least wanted

The poll has closed, and there were no surprises.

I listed all 12 state House incumbents from districts touching Seattle, Democrats all, and asked which was most deserving of a serious challenger. Of course Speaker Frank Chopp came out way ahead with 28% of the vote (though being deserving of a challenge and being even the teeniest-tiniest bit vulnerable to one are two different things).

But of more interest was the trio of Sharon Tomiko Santos, Mary Lou Dickerson and Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, who finished well ahead of the rest of the pack in a near dead heat of 13% apiece. These are the three names I hear come up most often when the topic is raised amongst Seattle’s politiscenti, and these were the three names you voted for most. Again, no surprise there.

That said, a glance at the results does show an interesting pattern. Yeah, sure, after Chopp, the four highest vote-getters are women, with Rep. Eileen Cody scoring a distant fifth place behind our winning trio, but I don’t think gender is the major factor it at first appears. Rather, the five names at the top of the list also happen to be the Seattle incumbents who have served the longest in the House, accumulating an impressive 68 years of service between them, compared to only 27 years total for the other seven representatives.

Frank Chopp16228%15
Sharon Tomiko Santos7913%11
Mary Lou Dickerson7513%15
Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney7413%12
Eileen Cody448%15
Jamie Pedersen427%3
Reuven Carlyle397%1
Scott White193%1
Eric Pettigrew173%7
Bob Hasegawa142%5
Zack Hudgins112%7
Sharon Nelson102%3

Perhaps Santos, Dickerson and Kenney’s position near the top of the list really is due to job performance. Or perhaps it merely reflects their years of incumbency, and a sense that Seattle Dems are growing impatient with legislators who after years of service have failed to deliver the progressive reforms we want and need.

But I’m not sure it matters.

Eliminating Chopp as an outlier, we’ll pit Santos, Dickerson and Kenney against each other in a general election of sorts later this week, to determine who is the best target for a serious challenge. But coming up first, we’ll do the same for the four Seattle state senators up for reelection in 2010.

Apparently, the poll didn’t close quite when I thought it closed, and the numbers have changed a touch since I wrote this post, but not enough to change the general results.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It might reflect that the longer you’re in office the more likely you’ve disappointed a constituent or two.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Perhaps it’s true some of these Democrats have been around too long and have their heads stuck in the 1980s, but Republicans have their heads stuck in the 1890s.

  3. 3

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Really Pelletizer? Seems the local Dummocrapts are acting normally to Puddy. Looking out for their own interests.

  4. 5

    teve spews:

    Hey Goldy – how about asking this fab four to submit a post defending their years in the legislature and all they’ve accomplished?

    This shouldn’t be a hard sell to them – their names and political careers are being scrutinized in a very public way, with one side being presented. They should have the opportunity to weigh in with a defense of their service.

    Personally, I don’t think any of the four will be able to justify in writing that they’ve used anything close to the full potential of their legislative seat to do good things for the people they represent, let alone the city of Seattle and the state of Washington.

    So how about it? Invite these four seatwarmers to throw down!

  5. 6

    Narrows Bridge spews:

    When incumbents keep getting elected, then the next election, they put a little less into it. Maybe not dollars, but walking their district and talking with voters, showing up in between sessions at local events and clubs, which in turn leads to the incumbent not knowing what the district is concerned about. It’s a vicious circle and only a very committed incumbent is going to make the effort. Too bad.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 “Looking out for their own interests.”

    Exactly what the fuck do you think politics is? A charitable enterprise? No, you’re confusing politics with working, in which workers give and employers take. Politics is where the producers get back a little of what they produced.

  7. 9

    Steve spews:

    With a little work we can come up with better Dems. Unfortunately, the troll situation here is out of our hands.

  8. 11

    delbert spews:


    You fucking communist. Statist to the fucking core. Every single time those theories have been put into practice, lives and liberty are thrown out the window. Just fucking die already.

    And Kenney really is that bad.

  9. 13

    John spews:

    Seattle gets what Seattle deserves! How about a Seattle Income Tax? As more and more businesses leave the city and state it will be up to citizens to pay more and more of the expenses of government.

    Any guesses on the date Microsoft officially moves their headquarters into Canada or Ireland?

  10. 14

    correctnotright spews:

    Hey John, Microsoft is in Redmond and Bellevue – are you an idiot or do you just pretend to be one?

    Maybe California, with it’s republican governator is an example of how to do it….NOT.

    Are state was listed as #3 for business recently….but I guess that is not good enough for ignorant clods like John.

  11. 15

    worf spews:

    Before the poll pitting Santos, Dickerson and Kenney against each other, perhaps you should outline their greatest failures for the HA crew – For instance, I know that Santos deserves a challenge based on her pathological need to fellate the check cashing industry, but I’m unsure about the weaknesses of Dickerson and Kenney. Elucidation is in order.

  12. 16

    Deb Eddy spews:

    Okay, guys, here is why the blog world will never take the place of the MSM – I don’t know what will, but this won’t be it.

    Why? Because we have stuff like worf @15 making allegations about Santos’ position on pay-day lenders without any knowledge, apparently, of the issue other than that pay-day lenders are BAD GUYS.

    Part of the reason that it’s hard to fix problems with the payday lending industry is that THEY ARE THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN FOR MANY PEOPLE. Big banks may give you a checking account, for instance, but if you bounce a check – well, pretty soon, your bounced-check fees exceed your bank balance. No bank account, no ability to cash a check. Pay-day lenders and check-cashers FILL A NICHE. The banking industry is regulated by the feds, not the state, so we can’t make the banks play fair or cap their fees (only Congress can do that).

    Now, through alternative programs being created by the Asset Building Coalition (lots of partners here, including the State and CTED, private groups like Washington Appleseed), banking and check-cashing services can be offered more broadly. As these programs are more available, successful, the containment of payday lenders will be more easily accomplished.

    Sharon Tomiko Santos is pretty liberal, pretty caring of her constituents in the International District, many of whom are un-banked. Her position on these issues has been largely driven by what she sees as a need to keep services available to all. Suggestions about her relationship with the check-cashing industry miss the mark, besides being completely tasteless.

  13. 17

    Michael spews:


    I’ve always been puzzled by the “only game in town” argument. Everywhere I’ve seen a check cashing place I’ve also seen a bank under a mile a way. That’s a 15 minute walk at the most. In Gig Harbor there’s a check cashing place that’s maybe 250 feet from a Wells Fargo.

    Last I checked, all you needed to have to set up a savings account is was a valid ID and 50 bucks. So why not go to the bank?

    I wonder if at least some of the problem is educational and cultural in nature?

  14. 18

    Michael spews:


    People like #’s 11 and 15 are posting on MSM’s sites too.
    Removing some of the anonymity that comes with the web and policing comment threads a little tighter (there’s a reason Goldy calls this the Cesspool) on the part of website owners and not posting while tired, drunk or after midnight on the part of users would go a long way to clean things up.

  15. 19

    Michael spews:


    Part of the reason that it’s hard to fix problems with the payday lending industry is that THEY ARE THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN FOR MANY PEOPLE. Big banks may give you a checking account, for instance, but if you bounce a check – well, pretty soon, your bounced-check fees exceed your bank balance

    We see this same scenario played out with payday lenders where people can’t make their loan payment and go further and further in debit or have to go back for advances on their checks.

    And Again, I wonder if some of this is cultural. I have a couple of co-workers who are always getting calls at work from people they owe money to and haven’t paid their bills. Contrast that with me, when I got my last car loan the bank didn’t even call my work before approving my loan. We’re all white, we have the same job, live in the same community, make the same amount of money. The only difference is that I pay my bills on time.

    And the reasons that I think it’s important to pay my bills on time and they don’t (they’re also non-voters. I’m a 4/4 voter) are cultural.

    How we change this, I do not know. I’ve tried with my co-workers and it hasn’t worked.

  16. 21

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Delbert, in civics class Puddy was taught the politicians were supposed to look out for their constituents. Well if you are a Dummocrapt from Seattle, the only look for continual reelection.

  17. 22

    Deb Eddy spews:

    Michael: You are correct. Some of the problem is educational, absolutely. For many, parents teach how to navigate the banking system, how to assert one’s rights as a consumer, how to protect the credit rating. But not everyone gets that at-home education, and schools have less and less time to devote to life skills. And then, of course, there’s the fact that many people get themselves into trouble once … and that pretty much makes every consumer credit or financial transaction thereafter more difficult.

    I am NOT defending the more egregious consumer practices of payday lenders and check-cashing companies. I’m just trying to explain why this, as with many other issues, is NOT black and white. Sharon and I both got called out as being anti- something by FUSE last year, and for reasons that I thought were pretty simplistic and uninformed.

    You don’t have to shut up now … :-)

  18. 23

    Michael spews:

    We’ve had some big successes with educational issues in the past, drunk-driving, anti-smoking, wearing seat-belts and near and dear to my heart- getting kids to wear bike helmets. So maybe, we can build a “Smart Money” campaign. Maybe we can tax the payday lenders to pay for it…
    After all, not taxing (many) services is part of how we got ourselves into our budget mess.

    I’m not very impressed by Fuse.

  19. 24

    worf spews:

    They are the only game in town… so that gives them the right to charge poor people 200, 300% interest. Yeah, wouldn’t want to regulate THAT. Can’t, uh, hurt the little guy…
    What a crock of shit.

  20. 25

    Deb Eddy spews:

    Discussion of the existing CTED programs to help low income people become more financially savvy, connect them to services, look under the general title “Asset Building” at

    For information on the financial literacy, banking program, go to The description of the program says it all:

    “STOP PAYING FOR YOUR OWN MONEY. We can help you open a free or low-cost checking account and a savings account at one of our participating banks or credit unions.”

    BTW, I’m not on any of the committees that deal with this sort of thing in the legislature. I’m on the board of directors of Washington Appleseed, a social justice nonprofit that has had a small role in getting this effort off the ground.