Turnout in primary election fails to meet expectations

August 22, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Aug. 22, 2012

King County turnout in the Aug. 7 primary hit 40 percent, local elections officials reported Tuesday, as statewide turnout failed to meet a pre-election forecast.

In King County, voters returned 443,523 ballots and officials tallied 432,049 ballots. The difference is due to signature problems and ballots returned too late to be counted. Officials certified the election results Tuesday.

“We just certified our 12th consecutive election without discrepancies,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a statement.

Local elections administrators noted a reduction in the number of challenged signatures of almost 45 percent. Officials attributed the shift to a celebrity-studded outreach campaign to remind voters to carefully follow ballot instructions.

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Wanted: Local partisans headed to conventions

August 21, 2012

Election Day is coming, and The Issaquah Press is seeking local ties to the political parties’ national conventions, especially Issaquah School District residents headed to the events.

Republicans plan to gather in Tampa, Fla., to nominate Mitt Romney from Aug. 27-30. Democrats head to Charlotte, N.C., to nominate President Barack Obama from Sept. 4-6.

Email your contact information to editor@isspress.com, or contact the newspaper on Twitter at www.twitter.com/issaquahpress, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/issaquahpress as soon as possible.

Off the Press

August 14, 2012

Election enthusiasm, fresh from New Jersey

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Election Day, as a barrage of ads across all media reminds us, is only weeks — days, really — into the future.

Forget the Aug. 7 primary and the gaggle of also-ran candidates for state auditor, state insurance commissioner and other unglamorous-but-important roles. Until Nov. 6, all attention is focused on the race for governor.

Yes, I realize the presidential contest represents a watershed moment, but Washington is not a battleground state and the most locals can expect to see is more in-state fundraising from President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Though the presidential race inched tantalizingly close to Issaquah in recent months — Obama in Seattle, Bellevue, Hunts Point and Medina; and Romney in Bellevue and Medina — neither candidate crossed Lake Sammamish.

So, in the meantime, amid the ubiquitous TV ads featuring Jay Inslee’s bulldozer and Rob McKenna’s family, do not overlook the races farther down the ballot.

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Costco cofounder supports, hosts President Obama

July 31, 2012

Jim Sinegal

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election July 23 and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosted Obama at a campaign fundraiser.

Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.

Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 employees.

Sinegal’s support for Obama comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lambasted the president’s small business policies.

“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Sinegal wrote in a blog post on the Obama campaign website and in a mass email to supporters. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative — because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and that we can’t do it alone.”

Obama attended a $35,800-per-person campaign fundraiser and, later, a $5,000-per-plate dinner at Sinegal’s Hunts Point home.

Costco cofounder Jim Sinegal supports, hosts President Obama

July 24, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. July 24, 2012

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election Monday and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosts Obama at a campaign fundraiser.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.

Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

Sinegal’s support for Obama’s economic policies comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked Obama for the phrase, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Romney used the out-of-context remark to portray Obama as denigrating the success of small business owners.

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King County, Washington leaders react after Supreme Court health care ruling

June 28, 2012

NEW — 10:45 a.m. June 28, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine and other elected officials split along party lines Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the federal health care overhaul.

In a complex decision, justices on the high court ruled 5-4 to uphold the individual mandate — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty. The provision is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

The ruling limited the plan in the Affordable Care Act — dubbed Obamacare by some — to expand Medicaid for the poor.

Justices ruled the federal government cannot withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if the state does not participate in the planned Medicaid expansion.

“I celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act,” Constantine said in a statement. “A stable, healthier future has been made possible by this ruling. This is affirmation of our nationwide, bold move toward achieving quality affordable healthcare, and we are moving in the right direction.”

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Rob McKenna defends health care lawsuit in Issaquah High School stop

June 5, 2012

In a stop at Issaquah High School early June 1, state Attorney General Rob McKenna defended Washington’s participation in a lawsuit against the federal health care law, days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling.

Rob McKenna

The top legal officer in the state used the health care lawsuit to illustrate the concept of federalism — powers shared by state and federal governments — to seniors in Jeremy Ritzer’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics class.

The lawsuit stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty.

“Under that mandate, for the first time, Congress is attempting to do something which they’ve never tried before in our country’s history,” McKenna said. “They’re telling Americans that they have to go into the private markets to buy a commercial product — health insurance — with their own money.”

If the Supreme Court upholds the health care law, the individual mandate is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

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Rob McKenna defends health care lawsuit in Issaquah High School stop

June 1, 2012

NEW — 12:20 p.m. June 1, 2012

In a stop at Issaquah High School early Friday, state Attorney General Rob McKenna defended Washington’s participation in a lawsuit against the federal health care law, days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling.

Rob McKenna

The top legal officer in the state used the health care lawsuit to illustrate the concept of federalism — powers shared by state and federal governments — to seniors in Jeremy Ritzer’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics class.

The lawsuit stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty.

“Under that mandate, for the first time, Congress is attempting to do something which they’ve never tried before in our country’s history,” McKenna said. “They’re telling Americans that they have to go into the private markets to buy a commercial product — health insurance — with their own money.”

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Campaign season starts as candidates file for election

May 22, 2012

The ballot voters receive in the mailbox by late July is all but certain to contain some familiar names, as elected officials campaign for higher offices and other candidates try another run for elected office.

The period for candidates to enter races up for election on the August and November ballots ended May 18 in a buzz of activity.

Local voters face choices in countywide, legislative, statewide and federal offices.

Voters pick the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, Aug. 7 in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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Local Democrats prepare for caucuses, opportunity to shape party priorities

April 10, 2012

Caucusgoers could change state and, perhaps, national policies as Washington Democrats gather for caucuses April 15.

President Barack Obama is the standard bearer for the Democrats in November, but although the party is not in the midst of a nomination fight, caucusgoers can still influence local, state and national issues by shaping the Democratic Party platform. Caucusgoers can present resolutions on political issues for consideration at local, state and national party gatherings.

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