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WASHINGTON STATE: Election and Special Session Update

Posted Friday, November 8, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

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From PPI / Visual Communication Industry Representative in Washington State, Bill Stauffacher, Stauffacher Communications

Election Day in Washington proved to be one of the strangest on record for the Evergreen State. For most voters the 2013 election was an uninspiring off-year ballot. However, for Olympia’s political establishment two races captured plenty of attention and financial support:

1) An apparent Republican win in a Democratic-held state Senate special election race that will give the GOP-backed Senate Majority Coalition Caucus a two-seat majority in Olympia.

2) Senate Democratic leader Ed Murray’s election as mayor of Seattle, which moves into high gear the internal Senate Democratic caucus fight to select Murray’s replacement.

But Governor Jay Inslee’s surprise Election Day announcement calling the legislature into special session beginning this Thursday to pass a “save Boeing” incentive package was the political buzz at election parties throughout the state. The special session announcement comes on the heels of a landmark long-term agreement between Boeing and the aerospace machinists union to build the next generation 777x in Washington. As part of the deal, Boeing extracted significant benefits concessions from the union in exchange for job security.

But now Boeing and Inslee need the legislature to act on a number of policy issues – including passage of aerospace-related tax exemptions, a statewide transportation infrastructure funding plan, water quality and land use flexibility and certainty, and labor-related policy changes. Inslee says the special session – 30 days by law – should only last about a week. However, enough complicated issues are in play that lawmakers could be in special session for a full 30 days.

Here’s a quick summary of results from around the state:

Legislative Races

· Senate – 26th District: In the most expensive legislative race in state history, Republican state Rep. Jan Angel has a 51.4-48.6% lead over Democratic appointee Sen. Nathan Schlicher. Presently the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition has a one-seat 25-24 majority in the state Senate. An Angel victory increases the majority to two seats, 26-23, and gives the coalition some breathing room on critical policy votes and overall management of their caucus. Schlicher was appointed to the seat earlier this year to replace now-U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) after his successful 2012 congressional campaign. A 30-year old ER doctor who also earned a law degree, Schlicher benefitted from record-spending independent expenditures funded by environmental- and labor-backed interests. As the Republican candidate, Angel suffered from voters looking to blame the GOP for the D.C. government shutdown and debt ceiling fight.

· Senate – 7th District: Republican challenger Brian Dansel is winning 53.8-46.2% over GOP-appointee Sen. John Smith.

· Senate – 8th District: GOP-appointee Sen. Sharon Brown clobbered Republican challenger Phil Lemley with over 75%.

Statewide Initiatives

· I-517: The Tim Eyman-backed “initiative on initiatives” is losing 60%-40%.

· I-522: The initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods is losing, with the no vote receiving just under 55%.

Local Races and Ballot Measures

· Mayor of Seattle: Ed Murray defeated incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn with about 55% of the vote. Murray is a practical progressive Democrat who is best known for leading the successful initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. Murray is also a regionalist, which should improve the city’s ability to engage with other Puget Sound-area county and city leaders, the state legislature and federal congressional delegation.

· Port of Seattle: All Port of Seattle commissioners on the ballot won. Commissioner John Creighton clobbered his challenger, Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, collecting over 68% of the vote. Commissioner Tom Albro earned 57% of the vote against challenge Richard Pope. And recent appointees, commissioners Courtney Gregoire and Stephanie Bowman, won easily.

· Port of Tacoma: Commissioner Connie Bacon won another term, defeating former Port of Tacoma employee Eric Holderman.

· Tacoma Utility Tax: By a 59%-41% margin, Tacoma rejected Prop 1, a 2% increase in utility taxes to fund neighborhood road improvements.

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Thank you for your consideration & support. Any questions contact jules@ppiassociation / 503-221-3944 or 877-762-7742