One of my favorite outcomes from Tuesday’s primary election was in the King County Council District 6 race.
Incumbent Jane Hague is in trouble.
Yesterday’s data dump shows Hague with 38.8% of the vote. Next is Democrat Richard E. Mitchell with 29.1% of the vote. Port Commissioner John Creighton is third with 24.6% of the vote, and Patsy Bonincontri took 7.2%.
We cannot generally read too much into a top-two primary result. But, holy shit, 38.8% for the incumbent? That cannot be considered positive. I see no way that Hague takes anything close to half the Creighton vote in the General. Many Creighton voters were making a statement—a protest against the incumbent.
The votes tallied yesterday were greatly skewed relative to the election night dump: Mitchell was within 2% of Hague.
Why the shift in the later ballots?
Mitchell’s campaign offers the explanation:
“Undecideds clearly are breaking for Richard because they’re tired of the personal and legal drama of the other opponents. That is clearly reflected in the numbers,” [Mitchell’s political consultant, Jason] Bennett said.
Maybe. Bennett offers another possibility:
[Hague] may have suffered from a backlash by Tim Eyman and other anti-tax conservatives over Hague’s decision to vote for an annual $20 car-tab fee to maintain Metro bus service.
This seems less plausible. First, as Goldy points out in this must read piece featuring Goldy defending Hague, King county rejected Eyman’s most recent “Thou shalt have $30 car tabs” initiative by a 60-40 margin.
Secondly, the anti-government nut jobs that would actually change their vote in response to Tim Eyman’s apoplectic screeds against Hague would most likely throw their vote behind the politically androgynous Creighton before Mitchell, who told The Stranger Election Control Board that
…he would approve a $20 car-tab fee to avert a devastating 17 percent cut in Metro bus service and believes in a minor sales tax bump to rescue the county’s underfunded criminal-justice system.
(As an aside, Eyman produced a:
wanted poster-style enemies list that pictures and labels four County Council members. The word “Liar!” appears below mug shots of Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert.
Does Tim “Biggest Lie of my Life” Eyman really want to go there?)
My hunch is that some folks who mailed their ballots at the last minute simply did a little on-line research. Mitchell looks great when investigated on-line. Hague…not so much. Like here.