Friday, November 09, 2012

McKenna Conceded, So Let's Start Looking at 2016

I'm still rather shocked that Rob McKenna lost.

He'd won statewide races before; Inslee hadn't.  Inslee's campaign was a bit of a shambles early on, until he won the August primary and never looked back.  McKenna had been priming for this run since arguably his days on the King County Council, had the state GOP as confident as they've ever been, and still--it didn't happen.

We've known arguably for 5 years that Rob McKenna would be the GOP candidate in 2012.  Rossi had to get another swing at the pinata after coming so close in 2004, but McKenna was clearly next in line.  Who's next in line after Rob McKenna?

Let's set aside, first, the most recent GOP candidates for US Senator.  Dino Rossi (2010) has already had two tries, and Michael Baumgartner (2012) may not poll above 40%.  Conceivably Clint Didier, who lost to Rossi in the 2010 primary (and this year for Lands Commissioner) could try to step up to a run for Governor, but he's also a two-time loser.

What about the GOP Congressional delegation?  Certainly not Doc Hastings.  Dave Reichert is an interesting possibility, given his King County connections, and the state just elected a Representative to be their Governor, but the rumors about his health could dog him, and running for statewide office is a different proposition than winning the 8th CD.  Cathy McMorris-Rogers could eventually be Speaker of the House, would have to give up her House seat to run for Governor, and has a sinecure in her CD that is nearly unmatched, so I don't think she'd try.

Jamie Herrera-Beutler would be interesting.  She's an attractive candidate and a good public speaker, but has been dogged by stories that she doesn't have town hall meetings because she can't handle them, and as Craig Pridemore sadly discovered coming out of Southwest Washington to win a statewide office isn't an easy thing to do.

What about other recent Republican losers for statewide office?  We've already talked about Didier.  James Watkins wasn't able to take out Troy Kelley after smearing him like mad.  Reagan Dunn just tripped over his stepping stone when he lost the Attorney General contest to Bob Ferguson, and on this line you can't get from point A to point C if you're not able to touch point B first.  John Adams and Sharon Haunek aren't viable.

From the legislative ranks, then?  When you look at the Senate Republican Caucus there really isn't anyone who jumps out.  Steve Litzow had a good win on Tuesday in a competitive district, and in the next four years there is a shot he could raise his profile enough to stand out, but he's also a pro-choice Republican which is something that just begs for a challenge from the right.  Mark Schoesler is a solid conservative who has chaired JLARC and knows the budget as well as anyone, but I can't imagine him doing well at all on the west side.

It's much the same story in the House Republican Caucus.  I could see Matt Shea trying it, but Clint Didier's losses pretty much show you the ceiling that the Tea Party/Liberty candidates have in this state.  He's also pretty damaged after his most recent campaign, and while those scandals may not have been enough to cost him the 4th LD they would be absolutely fatal in a statewide election.  Richard DeBolt is an interesting notion.  I'd love to see Joel Kretz run, since he's in my LD, but I don't know why the hell he'd leave God's country up in Ferry County to spend all his time in Olympia.

Stupid ideas?  Rodney Tom switches parties (again!).  Kirby Wilbur.  Nansen Malin.  Mac Strong.  Jason Mercier.

It'll be an interesting four years.

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

When the Attack Ads Are True

They said he was a carpetbagger. He said nope, I'm from here, went to school here, and I am coming back to make a difference for Spokane.

A year later, he's on Seattle TV announcing his run for US Senate.

They said he was using the state legislature as a stepping stone. He said nope, Chris Marr is just projecting, and I'm here to make a difference for the 6th LD.

A year later, he's running for Senate against Maria Cantwell.

The thing about having the most expensive legislative race in history in 2010 is that it creates a ton of cannon fodder, and when you announce that you're pursuing a different office in 2011--not even a year later--the bodies in the closet haven't even had a chance to decompose into the skeletons in the closet.

So now the Washington State GOP is going to end up running a candidate who will be hamstrung by fundraising rules (he can't raise money during the legislative session, I believe, or during any special session), who has words not even a year old that are going to come back to haunt him, who has no statewide profile, and whose major issue in a federal race is going to be wars that have absolutely no support.

If you want to guess what the spread of Baumgartner vs. Cantwell will be, start with the spread for Cantwell vs. McGavick and then add 5 points.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Fun With the Spokane County GOP Platform

I've written before about the internecine strife within the Spokane County GOP, but today's article in the Spokesman Review really puts it into focus. The issue is the same as it's been for a year now--demanding fealty to the party platform makes for some uncomfortable moments later on when you're asked about no-fault divorce and making it harder for schools to pass levies. From the article:
Earlier this month, Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr highlighted his opponent’s promise to support the county Republican platform. He said it’s proof that Republican Michael Baumgartner is “out of touch with his constituency.”

GOP officials responded that candidates, including Baumgartner, who pledged to support the platform weren’t necessarily saying they backed its nearly 120 policy statements.

“We know that no candidate is going to agree 100 percent with what’s in the platform,” county GOP Chairwoman Cindy Zapotocky said. “We require the candidates to read it and consider it.”
That sounds nice enough, Ma'am, but it's also very hard to reconcile that with this, also from the Spokane GOP website:
If they fail to stand up for conservative principles, MAKE THEM WALK THE PLANK! If they indicate they are conservative, then vote against conservative principles MAKE THEM WALK THE PLANK! If they are members of the Republican Party, make them follow the planks of the platform, or MAKE THEM WALK THE PLANK!
The 6th is a swing district. There are a lot of voters there who could have that one piece of information filter through that sways them, and when the Spokane GOP serves up 120 short knives for their candidates to defend it's not going to be a surprise when some of them go down with a thousand cuts.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

When the Math is Too Cute By Half

One of the most fun faces to watch statewide is going to be the contest for State Senate in the 6th Legislative District (suburban Spokane); by the time November is done, I expect this to be one of the most expensive and negative races we've ever seen.

Michael Baumgartner, the challenger, put out this email yesterday taking shots at Chris Marr:
My opponent has tried to blame his poor primary results on low Democratic turnout. But the numbers on the ground don’t bear this out. There were 9,658 Republican presidential primary voters and 9,288 Democrat presidential primary voters who turned out last week. This breaks down to a 1.95% advantage for a Republican candidate in the 6th District. My lead in the primary is 6.6% so among independents, I earned 55.4% of the vote compared to my opponent’s 44.6%.
What this particular bit of prestidigitation asks you to accept is that the presidential primaries in 2008 meant anything. For a quick review, Horse's Ass fisks a Joni Balter column from that week. Remember, the Republicans used the caucuses--not the primaries--to allocate their delegates; there was a bit of a kerfuffle about the state being called for McCain when Huckabee was still in the running. This was also the pick-a-party primary, one of the dumber ideas to come down the pipe.

In short--I don't know why Baumgartner would want to fall back on that particular bit of data. It's meaningless. This feels like a factoid an intern came up with to justify their time.

That knife cuts both ways, though. From Chris Marr's website:

Outspent, and viciously attacked… and STILL the top Democratic performer in the 6th!

Absolutely true, but not at all meaningful. In the two House races in the 6th, one was unopposed (Rep. Kevin Parker), and the other featured a hotly-contested Republican contest between Shelly O'Quinn and John Ahern with a rather blah Democrat (John Driscoll) taking what was left of the vote. Were I Marr I'd be making sure everyone knows that there were 26,000+ votes cast in the House race for Republicans, but only 21,200 for the Republican senate candidate, Baumgartner. If the partisans were really turning out, why wouldn't they have turned out in the Senate race as well?

It's going to be a slobberknocker.

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