Did Esser call the primary for McCain… or McKenna?

Since prematurely calling Washington’s caucus for John McCain, thus changing the narrative of Saturday’s results, WSRP Chair Luke Esser is making a name for himself nationwide… or rather, the nation is making up new names for him. Over on TPM, Josh Marshall has taken to calling him Boss Esser in their expanding coverage of the caucus counting debacle, while BradBlog has endearingly termed him Esser the Suppressor“. Cute, but to us here at HA, we’ll always lovingly know Esser simply as Rob McKenna’s bitch.

As anyone who has followed his storybook career knows, Esser has benefited from a long and cozy relationship with WA State Attorney General Rob McKenna, the two having worked closely together to climb the political ladder. Esser joined then King County Councilmember McKenna’s staff in 1996, and stayed on as a top aide even after Esser was elected first to the state house and then the state senate. Esser was paid for his help on McKenna’s successful 2004 campaign for Attorney General, and was rewarded with a plum assignment as “Outreach Director”, the perfect position in the AG’s office for a lawyer with very little legal experience. Then, after Esser lost his senate reelection bid in 2006, McKenna used his pull as the highest elected Republican in the state to help oust then WSRP Chair Diane Tebelius and replace her with his pal Esser, who proceeded to do political work on the public’s dime, while initially drawing pay checks from both the AGO and the state party. On resigning from the AG’s office under public pressure, Esser took pains to detail his close affection and ties to McKenna, writing in his resignation letter: “… Rest assured that I will always be available if I can ever be helpful to you.”

Well… considering Attorney General Rob McKenna is also Sen. John McCain’s Washington state campaign chair, it looks like Esser was awfully damn helpful to his patron Saturday night.

I’m just sayin’.


  1. 2

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Naw, this is the sort of miconduct that wins you a Presidential Freedom Medal from the Chimpster

  2. 4

    ewp spews:

    Frankly I’m shocked that you could insinuate such undemocratic action having been undertaken with the knowledge let alone the support of our state’s highest ranking law enforcement officer. Mr. McKenna took an oath of office, in which he swore, on a bible no less, that he would uphold the constitution and laws of this state. If Mr. McKenna in any way failed to fulfill his sworn duty, I’m quite confident he’ll do the honerable thing and resign his position. Barring that he’ll probably just say he didn’t know anything about this, and Mr. Esser will take the fall and resign. Take a guess which one will happen.

  3. 5

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    OK, where is the betting pool on when Luke the Lesser is going to be forced to resign for the good of the party?

  4. 6

    ratcityreprobate spews:

    @5. He won’t be forced to resign, he’ll get promoted. That is the republican way.

  5. 7

    Rujax! spews:

    And I never thought I’d feel this way
    And as far as I’m concerned
    I’m glad I got the chance to say
    That I do believe I love you

    And if I should ever go away
    Well then close your eyes and try
    To feel the way we do today
    And then if you can remember

    Keep smiling, keep shining
    Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
    That’s what friends are for
    For good times and bad times
    I’ll be on your side forever more
    That’s what friends are for

  6. 9

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy has the story cross-posted on Huffington Post: WA Caucus Debacle: “Esser the Suppressor” has Close Ties to McCain


    I like the title “Esser the Suppressor”. Let’s hope this new moniker doesn’t go to Luke’s head. Or should we hope that it does? :)

  7. 11

    Mike in Seattle spews:

    the thing that i’m amazed by at this point in the debacle is that esser still claims they’re “counting” something. since the republicans here and elsewhere have made it abundantly clear that they don’t “actually vote for candidates” at their caucuses and have railed at the benighted for such a foolish assumption, what the hell is he counting???

  8. 13

    Spencer spews:

    Just glad nobody on Esser’s side is calling for government-run health care. Dave Ramsey just mentioned on the radio a friend of his in Ireland who has government-provided health care.

    He’s waiting 6 months for a root canal.

    any of you out there with insurance ever wait that long for a root canal?
    I didn’t think so.

  9. 14

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    Esser is pathetic. Gregoire beats Rossi 55+ to 45- in ’08. Suck on in GOP.

    The failure of the state rethuglican party to come anywhere near to the political center shall be a boon to the Democratic Party for decades. The gift that keeps on giving.

    Oh. Wait. We are already will into the second decade of this trend.

  10. 15

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    @13: Dave Ramsey is a liar. Read his stuff on “social security reform”. He lied shamelessly.

    6 months for a root canal? Yeah, sure. That’s why the Irish are in rebellion, eh? What fucking bullshit.

  11. 16

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    Spencer says @ 13 above:

    “Just glad nobody on Esser’s side is calling for government-run health care.”

    They’re fucking republicans, you dolt. What did you expect?

    God, what idiocy. Is there no bottom to it?

  12. 17


    I am shocked, shocked that such misdealings by a politician could happen in Casablanca.

    Let me reassure all you fans that Mr. Esser did not do anything that .. well anything that I might not have done myself. At times these things look differently than they really are. Thats i why we have different realities .. the movies, the Earth, and … of course .. the political reality.

    Now, before this goes too far, I am concerned that I have not gotten my bribe today. Lets hope that the pubic fuss will not interfere with the intelligent conduct of the people’s business.

  13. 18

    Richard Pope spews:

    Spencer @ 13

    Even if the story about the fellow in Ireland is true, he is a LOT better off than over 100 million Americans without dental insurance. The figure is a LOT higher for uninsured dental in America, than uninsured health, since Medicaid doesn’t cover dental care after age 18.

  14. 19

    ManChuria spews:

    Once again, the state GOP is trying to keep their unsophisticated bug-eyed Talibangelist wing at arm’s length.

    They love the right-wing’s votes and foot soldiers, but the corporate wing (the people who pay Esser’s salary) don’t like the Armageddonists’ politics much. Last time the party brass pulled this kind of stunt, the Evangelicals decided to field their own candidates under the American Heritage Party.

    If Esser and McKenna can’t ooze their way out of this jam, watch for a repeat showing of GOP Slaughter in 2008.

    Hey, has McKenna issued more “legal advice” on “official State AG letterhead” yet?


  15. 21

    ManChuria spews:


    In Snohomish County, caucus leaders say they also noticed the sign-up sheets did not match the final delegates at all.

    Saturday night, Washington state Republican Party chair Luke Esser declared McCain the winner. But KING 5 has learned that there’s no way the party could have known the delegate preferences from Snohomish County, because that county never reported delegate results, instead relying solely on those sign-up sheets.

    “And we had already explained to them that we would not have that information for a couple of days,” said Modrell. “I haven’t talked to them. I have no idea what they did with our numbers. They obviously would not be able to use those numbers as a comparison with the rest of the counties.”

  16. 22

    mark spews:

    Maybe take Tebelius’ dualcheck out of the 40 million
    Gregoire said she would be personally responsible for.
    In my life that means write a check. How does it work in
    Nirvana that is Washington.

  17. 23

    wes.in.wa spews:

    6 months for a root canal? Sure, I’ve waited that long. Or more. In the past few years I’ve had several dental & oral surgery projects that had to be timed to come in different years, since they each maxed out my policy’s annual benefit.

  18. 25

    ManChuria spews:

    Hm. I didn’t think this story would snowball as quickly as it has. Somebody could get in a boatload if trouble if a re-count shows Huckabee won, and McKenna/Esser played roles in suppressing Huckabee voters!

    Error in county GOP caucus count may affect outcome

    By Jerry Cornfield
    Herald Writer

    There is a question tonight whether information from Snohomish County Republican presidential caucuses was wrongly included in vote results in which Sen. John McCain was declared the winner.

    Snohomish County provided the presidential preferences of each person who signed in Saturday, not the choice of delegates selected during the caucuses as was intended, said party chairwoman Geri Modrell.

  19. 26

    zip spews:

    Cripes Goldy, making a mountain out of a molehill aren’t we? Does it really matter how the WA Republican caucus turns out? I didn’t think so. Does everybody, including 99.9% of epublicans, agree that Esser screwed up? Undoubtedly.

    Thinking about publicizing the “RIP Hillary08″ article coming out in the NY Times? Don’t bother now, by the time you get to it it will be old news.

    Maybe explaining the goofy Texas delegate sytem and why it favors Obama would hold your readers attention a little more than dissecting the Esser screw up 5 times out of the last 6 posts. You could always cut and paste from an “alternate source”.

    Yeah yeah I know it’s your blog, you do what you want, screw the trolls, etc etc. Consider this constructive criticism.

  20. 27

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    @18: That’s right. You don’t get a root canal at all. You end up in the ER, and if you’re lucky they give you a pain pill and an antibiotic scrip and pull the tooth for you.

  21. 29

    bigboy spews:

    Luke Esser was also on the payroll at King County while Mckenna was a council member. On the public dole while doing republican business no doubt. It is obvious that Esser is beholding to McKenna. Gee, interupting the vote count and calling a win for your favorite candidate. The Repucklikins have never done that before. Oh yes they did in Florida 2000 and all with the enabling of elected officials.

  22. 30

    Dave spews:

    Good God! Take off the tin foil hats. There was no VOTING in the GOP caucuses in WA. People that attended the caucuses were asked to put down a “preference” for candidate. The purpose of the caucus was to elect delegates from each precinct that would then attend the county conventions. Nothing more. Delegates were not bound to any candidate and there was absolutely NO correlation between what people marked down as their preference and who was elected to be a delegate. In fact, more people attended the caucuses than came out as delegates. People could have written down Ronald Reagan as their preference. It did matter. The “preference” count means nothing. These people could have changed their minds from the time they wrote down their preference and the time they were chosen as delegates. They aren’t obligated to vote for anyone as a result of the caucus. Sure Esser screwed up by announcing a “winner” in a vote that never was. Huckabee is looking even more the fool (as many of you are) for making more of story about this. Here’s a homework assignment.. go back and look at the GOP caucus results in IOWA and tell me how many delegates are officially pledged to Huckabee at this point in time?

  23. 31

    Puddybud, A Prognosticator... spews:

    RujASS! Where is the attribution to the song/poem?

    Oh that’s right being a liberal you can just place stuff on the blog and don’t worry…

  24. 32

    Puddybud, A Prognosticator... spews:

    ManChuria, You mean the way you treat black people for the last 43 years in your party? You want their vote but never deliver on the “promises” made for their votes?

  25. 34

    rhp6033 spews:

    Over a year and a half ago, I had a dental problem. I asked for pre-approval of the proceedure from my insurance company. The dentist submitted the request, with a copy to me. Six weeks later, the insurance company insisted it never received it. We re-submitted it, with copies of x-rays. four weeks later they approved it. I went in for the first part of the proceedure. The insurance company denied the claim, saying it had to be pre-approved. I pointed out to them it had been pre-approved. Then they said the pre-approval was not valid, becuase I should have submitted “pre-proceedure full-mouth x-rays”, which of course we didn’t have, because we only took x-rays of the affected portion. I argued, threatened to sue, and after three more months, they finally approved the claim. But in the meantime the dentist had dropped out of the network (“I’m never going to try to work with them again”, was his comment), and so instead of paying 80% of “prevailing rates” less the deductable, they paid 50% of “prevailing rates”. I argued, threatened to sue, and six months later they finally pay the balance owed.

    So now I need a new dentist to get the rest of the work done. It’s been a year since we started, but we couldn’t schedule the second part of the proceedure unless unless I agree to pay the full amount in advance, and wait for the insurance company to reimburse me. I don’t want to do that, because (a) I could use the money in my own pocket, and (b) I want the dentist to have vested interest in helping to resolve the insurance claim with me.

    At the same time, my employer, ever mindfull of “our desire to make sure our employees get the best care available at a reasonable cost”, keeps the same insurance company, but doubles the deductable from $100 to $200 (in mid-year), and reduces per-year payouts from $3,000 to $1,500, and the insurance company changes it’s network.

    The new network only lists two specialists between Arlington and Bellevue, although one is listed as working out of eight offices (Arlington, Smokey Point, Lynnwood, Shoreline, Bothel, etc.). I choose the other one.

    The new dentist evaluates, and says that the passage of time has made the problem a lot worse. Now the total bill will be about $7,000 (remember the $1,500 per year maximum limit?). I send off for pre-approval, and schedule an appointment for the last day of the year. Three weeks later the insurance company denies they ever received the pre-approval request (sound familiar)? We send it off again, and I go ahead with the first visit with the new dentist, because it’s the end of the year and I need to get it counted as this part of the 2007 calendar year limit. Last week they told me that out of the $800 charged for that visit, only $300 was covered at 80% (300-80%=$240), less the $200 deductable, so they cut a check for $40, which they counted against the (wait for it) 2008 calander year maximum. They also informed me that’s all they are going to pay for the proceedures, since according to their new policy (in effect Jan. 1, 2008, although no benefits information has been issued yet), my proceedures are covered only once in a 36-month period. If I want to finish my proceedures, I can wait another three years, of course, or pay for it myself.

    So don’t try to throw up those “horror stories” of waiting six months for a root canal. The system is broken. The money my employer is paying for coverage is going into a rathole of health-care insurer’s CEO bonuses. I’ve worked both sides of the insurance company’s business in my various careers, and I’m convinced that the only difference between a mugger and an insurance company is that the mugger has the courage to look you in the face when he steals your money, the insurance company hides behind correspondence and phone banks.

  26. 35

    moe99 spews:

    Hell, I know someone who works in the Attorney General’s office who waited for over 4 years for a root canal and a crown.