Anybody catch the gubernatorial debate last night on KING-5?
As intended, Dino Rossi came across as not particularly scary or unreasonable. But he was equally lacking in specifics, preferring to talk about what he wanted instead of how he was going to get there.
Ron Sims on the other hand was his usual mix of passionate wonkishness. There wasn’t a single question tossed his way that he didn’t answer directly. I’ve always liked that about Ron. And for the most part, I also liked the specifics of his answers.
But of the three candidates, Christine Gregoire made by far the biggest impression last night… by her absence.
What the hell was her campaign thinking?
As the putative frontrunner I can see why she might refuse to debate Sims or Rossi one-on-one… why give her opponent any extra exposure? But by ceding the stage to Sims and Rossi, she merely came across as arrogant and aloof. This was a lose-lose situation, and both her opponents gained in her absence.
I assume that she assumes the primary will be a cakewalk, but my guess is that Sims is going to make this race a lot closer than Gregoire thinks. If she does manage to pull out a close victory, I hope the near-death experience scares her into taking her remaining opponent seriously.
Ideology aside, Rossi is clearly the least qualified, least prepared, and least impressive of the three candidates. But voters have repeatedly proven their willingness to elect unqualified, unprepared, unimpressive leaders.
Washington voters are not going to elect a governor based on name recognition alone. If Gregoire wants to win by comparison, she’s going to have to show up.