Not Much to Learn from Primary Night Results

I suppose folks are expecting some sort of morning-after primary election analysis, and since it’s the morning after, and I’ve got nothing better to do at the moment, I guess I’ll write it. But there really isn’t that much to analyze.

Of course the big race—and the only one with any immediate impact on how we live our daily lives—was the apparent victory of Proposition 1, authorizing the formation of a Metropolitan Park District with its own dedicated regular levy authority. Hooray! But even if Prop 1’s lead modestly grows as the late ballots are counted (we’ll know more about whether there is any late ballot trend this afternoon at 4:30), the measure’s relatively narrow 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent lead should make good government liberals nervous.

By all rights, Prop 1 should have passed by better than 60 percent of the vote. The outcome never should have even been in question. But an incredibly dishonest No campaign combined with a complicit Seattle Times editorial board, came way too close to burying the MPD under a mountain of anti-government Eymanesque bullshit. Had the other side the money to heavily outspend the Yes camp, amplifying their lies on TV, Prop 1 likely would’ve lost. And that’s a recipe I wouldn’t be surprised to see in future elections. I’m particularly concerned about pro-business forces concentrating their spending into one or two council district  elections, patiently buying themselves a GOP-lite council, one district at a time.

So yay for Prop 1, but beware the process.

In the other Seattle race that got a fare bit of attention, I’m not sure that there is anything to learn from long-term incumbent Democratic speaker of the state house Frank Chopp’s 80 percent to 19 percent primary victory over Socialist Alternative challenger Jesse Spear. It wasn’t a great showing by Spear, but in context, it wasn’t awful. In fact with just over 19 percent of the vote she got more than any Republican running in a Seattle legislative district. In fact she got more than any other second place finisher other than Brendan Kolding’s 19.86 percent in his Dem-on-Dem challenge to incumbent Joe Fitzgibbon in the 34th.

Spear should do better in November—whether she’ll do better than Kshama Sawant’s 29 percent showing in 2012, I don’t know. But throughout much of the city Socialist Alternative is well on its way to establishing itself as Seattle’s second party. And while it’s not likely to win many elections from this position, the fact that 19 percent of Seattle primary voters are willing to cast their ballot for a self-avowed Socialist deserves a little attention and respect.

As for the only open legislative seat, I stayed out of the race in my own 37th, because I didn’t really see the point of alienating any of my neighbors. The second Pramila Jayapal declared her candidacy it was all over. She’s a good fit for the district, and enjoyed nearly all of the Democratic establishment and constituent group support.

If I feel like it, I may offer some thoughts on some non-Seattle races in a subsequent post. But mostly I’m just relieved that enough Seattleites saw through the lies to give the city the extra taxing authority it needs on parks.


  1. 2

    Lack Thereof spews:

    I would be interested in an analysis of the McDermott challengers, particularly the two republicans who competed against each other for the honor of losing to Jim in the fall. I was dismayed, but not too surprised, at Sutherland’s loss to Keller. I’d love to know if there was more to this, or if it was just a case of Keller’s anti-immigrant message being more appealing to Repub voters.

  2. 3

    Flatu spews:

    The business interests already own a GOP-Lite city council. It eliminated a puny payroll tax in 2009, and instead of seeking to impose a parking tax or payroll tax to generate funds for Metro in November is it seeking hikes to sales taxes and car tab taxes, both of which are designed to hit the households with the least the hardest.

    This is news to you, right David?