In local legislative contests, outside spending reshapes races

November 27, 2012

Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet raised $315,166 in the race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate and garnered 36,630 votes throughout the 5th Legislative District.

The total raised amounts to about $8.60 per vote for the ubiquitous campaign mailers, yard signs and TV spots, and online advertising in Mullet’s successful race against Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft.

Toft collected $306,599 and received 30,683 votes districtwide — or about $9.99 per vote.

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 27, 2012

Students statewide and in the Issaquah School District chose the same candidates as grown-up voters — Barack Obama for president and Jay Inslee for governor.

The exercise included 38,848 students statewide, including classes at Cascade Ridge Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Pine Lake Middle and Issaquah High schools in the Issaquah School District.

The number of students participating statewide shattered the record for participation — about 18,000 students — set in 2008.

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Mark Mullet elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

November 13, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night Nov. 6 moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate reached a coda in the days after the Nov. 6 election, but not before more public friction between the candidates.

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Dave Reichert wins another term in Congress

November 13, 2012

Dave Reichert

Redistricting ended almost a decade of close challenges for control in the 8th Congressional District, as voters re-elected Republican Dave Reichert by a comfortable margin after a campaign unlike other recent contests for the seat.

In a landslide, Reichert, a former King County sheriff and Auburn Republican, defeated Issaquah Democrat Karen Porterfield, a nonprofit professional and adjunct instructor at Seattle University.

Reichert held on amid vigorous challenges from Democrats in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, but redistricting last year reshaped the district. The state commission responsible for redrawing the political map snipped Eastside cities from the district and added Eastern Washington communities.

The result created a seat observers said is reliably Republican — and offered little suspense as Election Day came to a close. Reichert led by 18 points in the initial election night results and continued to hold a commanding lead.

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Maria Cantwell discusses jobs, stumps for votes in Gilman Village

November 13, 2012

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell focused on the economy and education during a campaign stop at Issaquah’s Gilman Village early Nov. 2, and urged voters to return ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Maria Cantwell

Cantwell’s 26-city “Jobs for Washington” bus tour across the state stopped at the Issaquah Coffee Co. In remarks to a group of sign-toting Democrats and local dignitaries, she emphasized efforts to aid small businesses since the economy collapsed in 2008.

“In my opinion, a lot of money went to Wall Street and the five big banks, and Main Street got the short end of the stick,” she said. “Well, we worked hard to try to correct that by passing a new bill to help support community banks who would lend to small business. In fact, that program helped banks from Issaquah to Bellingham increase their lending to small businesses by as much as 24 percent.”

Cantwell said Eastside residents — and a workforce defined by Boeing engineers and Microsoft programmers — value quality education.

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Issaquah drop box buzzes as voters return ballots, shatter records

November 13, 2012

Cathy Gulezian, of Maple Valley (left), watches sons Brady, 2, and Dylan, 4, place ballots for her and husband Ken in a ballot drop box attended by King County Elections workers Michele Phelps and Jon Gentry at Issaquah City Hall on Nov. 6. By Greg Farrar

The ballot drop box outside Issaquah City Hall transformed into a nucleus of activity as Election Day stretched into night, and voters raced to deposit ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline.

King County Elections staffers, dressed in aprons the same shade as traffic cones, directed voters to the secure box. The elections office opened the box last month and, as the ballot deadline approached and after post offices closed, more and more ballot-toting voters arrived.

“Unlike during tax season, the post office does not stay open longer hours for voting,” Lynne Miller, a King County Elections spokeswoman, said just before 7 p.m. Nov. 6.

Elections staffers used atomic clocks to determine the precise 8 p.m. deadline at ballot drop box sites countywide.

King County Elections forecast 87 percent turnout countywide — a hike from the 84 percent record set in 2008. (The county relied on a combination of mail ballots and polling sites in the last presidential election.)

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Editorial

November 13, 2012

Voters’ Pamphlet needs rethinking

The expense of the mass-mailed Voters’ Pamphlet surely outweighs the service it provides, especially in this day and age.

For one, most of the candidates who submit statements for the guides have nothing substantive to say; their messages have been sanitized to the point of being little more than feel-good pablum.

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Editorial

November 13, 2012

Change ballot deadline

As the 2012 election winds down, there is a chorus calling for mail-in ballots to be due on Election Day, not sent on Election Day. The chorus is right.

Ballots are already sent with ample time for voters to return them by the election. Procrastinators will simply need to get their votes in the mail a couple of days earlier, or take them to the nearest ballot drop box.

The water-torture drip of results in the week or more after the election needlessly prolongs the results. Florida actually finished counting its ballots before Washington state. We can do better.

Off the Press

November 13, 2012

Campaign tests candidates’ — and voters’ — mettle

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Throughout campaign season, as the insults zinged back and forth across screens and in mailboxes, I often hoped for Election Day to arrive as soon as possible.

But now, as the election recedes into memory I feel wistful, maybe even a little nostalgic.

Though the process often degraded the candidates and, in the process, voters, I found the contenders dedicated and focused on the task at hand.

Candidates knock on thousands of doors in the run-up to Election Day, a process referred to in candidate-speak as doorbelling. The exercise tests the candidates’ mettle and offers voters a grassroots introduction to the person behind the political sign.

Besides the usual pitfalls — unfriendly dogs, voters pretending not to be home — everybody on the doorbelling circuit, state Sen. Steve Litzow told me in a pre-election interview, encountered at least one naked voter at the door.

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Deadline looms to remove roadside political signs

November 12, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Nov. 12, 2012

Election Day is done, but political signs continue to linger along roadsides and in yards.

The state Department of Transportation reminds landowners to remove the signs from private property along state highways.

State law allows political signs on property visible from state highways, but the signs must come down 10 days after the general election, and the 10-day period ends Friday.

Otherwise, failure to remove the political signs after being notified by the Department of Transportation can result in a misdemeanor.

Pat O’Leary, Department of Transportation highway advertising program manager, said illegal signs do not pop up often and landowners often do a good job on removal after Election Day.

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