In the months leading up to an election, candidates vie against each other for political and media endorsements, and in the liberal-eat-liberal world of Puget Sound politics none is more keenly prized than the non-endorsement from my good friend Stefan at (un)Sound Politics. For example, yesterday Stefan publicly threw his support behind Bruce Harrell for Seattle City Council, and today Harrell’s opponent, Venus Velazquez, triumphantly issued a press release touting her victory.
Congratulations Venus, your win in November is virtually assured.
Since rising to prominence with his feverishly paranoid coverage of the 2004 gubernatorial election contest, Stefan has proved a cannily accurate inverse bell weather of local politics, earning his endorsements the well deserved reputation as a political kiss of death. Indeed, considering his track record, the only thing more feared than Stefan endorsing your victory is him predicting it.
Amusingly, Stefan relies on a clip of Velazquez at the Hate Free Zone forum to justify his endorsement of Harrell, arguing that her appeal to minority voters to vote for leaders “who look like you … who come from you,” is inherently and unforgivably racist. Yet Stefan fails to inform his readers that Harrell — who was always Velazquez’s main opponent — is himself half-Asian, half-African American, so that any such appeal would apply to him as much as it does to her. How typically Stefan.
I’ve had the chance to talk one-on-one with both Velazquez and Harrell, and to be honest, I wasn’t excited by either one of them. But to her credit Velazquez actually argued with me about issues rather than just trying to win me over. I’ve heard that Velazquez has a reputation as being a bit brash and hard to work with, and Stefan warns that she’ll be a “shrill… divisive and… toxic presence on the Council.” But… well… that may be exactly the type presence the Council needs to shake things up and provide a little balance to our sometimes imperious mayor.
Will just called me to remind me of his wise words to Harrell from way back in April:
Don’t let Stefan endorse you. Don’t email him campaign updates. Hope he doesn’t write about your campaign in any way favorable. Make no mistake, Stefan is the “Kiss of Death”. Just ask Robert Rosencrantz and Casey Corr, who both got hammered (Rosencrantz twice!) in city races. I’m amazed that Seattle’s preeminent wingnut blogger doesn’t understand how radioactive he is. Republican Jim Nobles, the first “out” Republican to run for city office since the 1980’s, is too smart to embrace Stefan and his mean–spirited, petulant, race-baiting politics.