Jane Hague’s big troubles

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%.

(One reason I like this outcome is pure vanity. Political uberwonks Erica Barnett and Josh Feit predicted Hague and Creighton making it through. I predicted Hague and Mitchell. So there.)

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.


  1. 1

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Sometimes our experiment in democracy shows it can work. District 6 and King County will be so fortunate when Richard E. Mitchell gets the chance and wins in November.

    I think our HorsesAss should receive special commemoration on this blog when his HorsesAss tactics for his HorsesAss reasons lead to the opposite result for the benefit of the county.

  2. 2

    Richard Pope spews:

    I love Jane Hague’s numbers so far, and love them even better each afternoon, as they get lower and lower :)

    In the August 21, 2007 primary, I got 36.96% of the total primary vote (from both parties), without spending a dime or doing the slightest bit of campaigning. I even spent a week and a half (including primary election day) on vacation visiting my mom and other relatives in the Southeast part of the country.

    Jane Hague, as a 18 year incumbent, who has been campaigning full-time for the last year, and probably spent over $200,000 so far, only has 38.33% of the overall primary vote, and that is dropping every afternoon as more votes are counted. Not to mention the fact that Hague actually has a LOT of endorsements …

  3. 3

    ArtFart spews:

    I’d love to see Eyman’s “hit list”. Right now, from here on the sane side of the political spectrum, about the best endorsement a candidate can have around here is to be on record as putting Timmie’s knickers in a knot.

  4. 4

    Not an expert spews:

    I am no expert, but I doubt many of the 32,000 voters who cast ballots did a bunch of online research and compared/contrasted each candidate against each other. I think Bennett is probably not too far off the mark. And don’t these hacks spin things in their favor? So plausible or not, I’d think his statements are probably meant to outspin Hague. But I am not an expert on this stuff.

  5. 5

    YellowPup spews:

    Great post, Darryl.

    One shocking bit in the Goldy post:

    Hague and Lambert received death threats last weekend after announcing their intention to vote for the fee. Actual death threats. Over a Jackson.

    As he points out, “it’s only twenty fucking bucks a year… equivalent to the fare-hike daily riders are paying every two weeks.”

    This is all interesting as an example in microcosm, how a generation of distortions around taxes cascades, shaping/limiting political analysis and even inspiring threats of violence, over in this case $20 a year.

  6. 6


    Hi Darryl.

    You may be right about the nut job vote abandoning Hague on Tuesday.

    Met one last night. He was OUTRAGED. (Took me a while to figure out what he was talking about.)

    I asked who he voted for instead, he wouldn’t say, so I assumed he left it blank.