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Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Word from the 43rd

Posted by on August 9 at 8:49 AM

The 43rd District Democrats met at the HUB at the U.W. last night to endorse one of the 6 candidates in the race to replace Rep. Ed Murray (Murray’s jumping over to the state senate.)

A candidate needs to get 60% for the endorsement, and that didn’t happen. So: NO ENDORSEMENT.

Former 43rd District chair Dick Kelley got the most votes, 49.3% in the first round. If no one gets 60% in the first round, any candidate that gets 40% or higher can still be considered for an endorsement. Kelley, was the only one that received over 40% in the first round. So, the next question on the floor only concerned Kelley: Should the 43rd endorse Dick Kelley? He needed 60% on that second vote. He only got 51%.

The stats from the first round were:
Dick Kelley: 49.3
Jamie Pedersen: 21.3
Bill Sherman; 19.6
Jim Street: 18.7
Lynne Dodson: 15.6
Stephanie Pure: 4.9

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What was the format of the program? Were there more questions? Did they just do a show of hands?

How did the other three candidates fare? More later?

Considering Dick Kelley's insider status amoungst the 43rd Dems, this isn't really a surprise. Hopefully Sherman wins the primary.

Social Arsonist,
Candidates were each given 3 minutes to speak or have others speak on the candidate's behalf. Mercifully, there was no Q&A. After the short speeches, members voted by written ballot. Members are permitted to endorse more than one candidate on their ballot. In order to be endorsed, you needed to have your name on 60% of the ballots cast. Because no one got 60% on the first ballot, candidates that recieved at least 40% of the first ballots (i.e., Dick Kelley) when on to a second ballot. That question was merely, should the 43rd endorse Dick Kelley, yes or no. Dick needed 60% and received about 51%. Dick did well, which was expected, but not well enough.


What about Jamie?

I don't know, but the 43rd Dems didn't endorse Justice Gerry Alexander, who was on the "winning" side of the recent WA State Supreme Court Decision to "uphold" DOMA and deny same-gender couples the right to marry. Originally, Justice Alexander was on the unopposed slate, but was pulled off it by the membership and couldn't get enough votes to get an endorsement.

oh, and at some point, the minutes and endorsements should show up on one would think.


thanks for the update.
what were the statistics on the other candidates? i find kelley's 40-some-odd % an anomaly, given he's the former chair of this organization, so i'm interested in how everyone else did so i can wrap my head around what a more accurate number might have been.

even though i'm not a member, i guess i should have gone!

Well, the "membership" didn't pull Alexander off the slate, Will did. But the membership didn't give 60% to get him endorsed. I will say that the whole "uncontested slate" thing was VERY confusing with no list of the candidates/initiatives.

There was, however, a fascinating moment when a young woman took the mic to speak against I88/87 and went on some random weird tirade about economics and Jacob the Jew (and called the membership "fuckers") before she was booed out of the room. Who WAS that, and what was her gig?


My memory re the vote totals is a bit foggy. On the first ballot Dick had around 49%; someone (the I thought it was Pedersen, but perhaps Street) was second with just over 20%; Sherman was third with just shy of 20%. I think Dodsen was 4th; Street 5th; and Pure was 6th (with around 5%). I was more focused on the Kelley and Sherman numbers. When considering the percentages, keep in mind that the total of the candidate percentages exceeds 100% becasue about 20% of 250 or so ballots contained votes to endorse mulitple candidates. The muliti-vote ballots mean that the sum of the numerators for each candidate (total votes received) exceed the denomenator (total ballots cast).


The ranting woman was either taking a drug she shouldn't have been taking, or not taking a drug she should be taking. She had apparently been in the vicinity of the HUB last night, spotted one of the candidates' hunky young campaign staffers ("Jacob"), became enamored of him, and decided to attend the endorsement meeting as a result. She then jumped up when a call went out for speakers against the education-funding initiatives, and launched her performance. I later saw her being interviewed by a UW police officer outside the auditorium.

Will respect to Alexander, he was originally on the "unopposed" slate because he was the only candidate to ask for our endorsement. Not surprising since his opponent is a very conservative Republican. Our procedures allow any single member to pull a candidate off the unopposed slate for seperate consideration. Watcher is right that Will exercised his right as a member to require a seperate vote on Alexander. Alexander recieved more than 50% of the vote, but less than the 60% required for endorsement. Overall, the consideration of Alexander was sloppy with no thoughtful presentation of the pros and cons, and Will only identifying that Alexander was on the wrong side of the gay marriage decision.


oh, now, watcher, just because Gerry Alexander couldn't get endorsed, the fact is the membership didn't endorse him.

Pretty pitiful for an incumbent sitting State Supreme Court Justice with a rabid radical right opponent, IMHO.

Those that can, do. Those that can't, whine.

Oh, and someone I know tried to talk to that woman after - she was really looney tunes - was going on about Hitler ...

I should point out I voted for three candidates for the House myself. It's the way our endorsement rules work.

Honestly, I think it's a bit of an embarrassment that Kelley wasn't able to corral an endorsement from the group where is he the immediate previous Chair.

To top it off, he's still in 5th place in the money race.

But hell, in a 6 way race, even Stephanie Pure could pull off a fluke win....


What you said in your original Alexander post was that "Justice Alexander was on the unopposed slate, but was pulled off it by the membership ..." Watcher pointed out that this was misleading, if not untrue. Per our rules, you and only you pulled Alexander off the slate.

You are right, of course, that the membership didn't vote to endorse Alexander. However, it isn't fair to claim that this was "pitiful." The reality is that he was on the unopposed slate and, as a result, didn't send a campaign representative to the meeting. Perhaps he should have anticipated your use of the procedural rules to torpedo him, but he didn't. Because his campaign wasn't there, the membership didn't get an opportunity to hear about his truely frightening opponent or the reasons why he merited consideration despite his regrettable vote on gay marriage.


Hmm, then why did oh so many people agree with me and vote based on my speech? Why did I get lots of applause? Sure sounds like a lot of people weren't thrilled with Justice Alexander, and no amount of spin will change that FACT.

No Endorsement means exactly that - the only reason he wasn't soundly trounced was his opponent is a rabid right-wing fanatic who shouldn't be let near a traffic signal, let alone a Supreme Court bench.

A little more detail on the endorsement vote (from a member of the "tally committee"):

There were 225 ballots submitted. The actual vote totals for the candidates on Round 1, then, were 111 for Kelley, 48 for Pedersen, 44 for Sherman, 42 for Street, 35 for Dodson, 11 for Pure. Thus, Dick Kelley received more votes than any two other candidates.

On the reconsideration ballot, enough supporters of the other candidates voted "no" to keep Kelley from gaining the endorsement. The totals there were 101 "yes" and 95 "no", for 196 total ballots; the number of ballots was lower because a not-insignificant number of participants cast their Round 1 votes and then departed.

For those who are interested, I have more analysis in a WashBlog diary.

This is a huge upset for Dick Kelley and Bill Sherman. Both candidates have been very active in the 43rd District Democrats for a few years and both currently sit on their Executive Board. I'm totally surprised that the 43rd didn't give them a dual endorsment. It seemed a given.

um, shocked, i don't get your spin - personally, I was surprised by two things in that race - one was that Dick got as many votes as he did (not what I expected), second was that Stephanie didn't get that many votes (she was one of my three votes, Bill was my other).

personally, though, the only thing that matters is a. turnout in the primary and b. who those people vote for - there's not a lot of really interesting ballot issues in the primary. other than this race.

LOL so much for the editor's pet candidate.

With six candidates, it's nearly impossible to get 60% of people to get behind one, so for Dick Kelley to get as much as he did speaks volumes.

Looks like the 43rd D's have their frontrunner, whether or not he got their endorsement.

Hey Josh, were you even there? I didn't see you.


Hey Josh, were you even there? I didn't see you.

I don't know Josh by sight, but no one I asked could recall anyone from The Stranger being at the HUB. I guess if it doesn't look like it'll be a "smackdown" for one of the candidates they favor, they don't pay it any mind.

I was rather appalled by one aspect of the endorsement process that has not been brought up here. A number of candidates were placed in the position of having to defend themselves (during their 3 minutes) against rather McCarthy-esque questions as to whether they "were now or had ever been a member of another party, or had ever donated to candidates of another party."
A bit strong on the insistence on party purity, it seems to me. Do we really want to cultivate an ethic of "My party, right or wrong"? (You're either with us or against us?) Even Dems have been know to do some pretty stupid things now and then. One way to bring them back into line is to threaten to take away some of their power, and alternative parties can serve that function. That's just the way the political process has always worked in this country.
It wasn't clear to me if Maria had to answer this question before she was endorsed. Her (well-paid) surrogate speaker has run as a Libertarian, a Green, and a Dem, but we were now expected to give him credence as a Dem.

I don't think I saw anyone I recognize from the Stranger, but the lights got in my eyes a lot.

As to questionnaires, those were litmus issues - one was literally, do you support same-gender marriage - guess what, if you don't we mention it. it's the 43rd, not some other district. And the Parliamentarian - the guy in the middle on stage - was specifically brought in to make sure we weren't out of line in what we questioned - notice how we always handed him the questionnaires?

Face it, you want the 43rd Endorsement, you need to support the district's values. Is it a tough line? Sure, but that's why our endorsement matters. Our chair was very strict on even what we could bring up from questionnaires ... bending over backwards to make sure it was non-partisan for the candidates.

Dick Kelley could have snagged a dual endorsement by organizing a multiple voting scheme with one or two of the other candidates. I'd call the failure to do so a blunder by the Kelley camp.

No, J.R., it couldn't have happened.

No one else was even remotely close to the 90 votes it would have taken to be eligible for the reconsideration vote. Even the closest of them would have needed to almost double his vote-count, just to reach eligibility for a dual endorsement on the second vote.

Considering the events of last evening at the HUB, Will Rogers' quip seems applicable: "I don't belong to any organized political party. I am a Democrat." My what an enlightened mess - from the befuddled moderator to the weird street theatre of the anti-187 spokes-nut; from the Byzantine balloting process to the idea that some Dems would rather see a Republican win Washington's Senate seat than back "Baghdad Maria". No doubt the big loser was Dick Kelley - losing in his own house, as it were. The winner of the 43rd rep race will be the candidate who gets the most votes on September 19th, and I'm beginning to think no one's endorsement (Unions/The Stranger/the Dems/Sierra Club &c) will be worth a tinker's damn.

Most of the time, a candidate without a primary opponent is not eligible for endorsement IN THE PRIMARY. Do judicial races with fewer than three candidates even appear on the primary ballot? Unopposed judicial candidates are not eligible for endorsement, normally.

You guys got more than 200 people at one of your LD meetings? Good gawd, I really need to move into Seattle. We're lucky to get 50 even at an endorsement meeting, and 30 at a regular meeting.

As to that "are you now or have you ever been" question - that's not McCarthyism at all. That question is quite routine for any Democratic (or Republican) party organization endorsement, whether it's an LD, the county, or the state. In order for a candidate to appear on the primary ballot as a Democrat, they have to swear that they are indeed a Democrat, and they have to explain the situation if they have ever been considered a member of another political party. I see nothing wrong with that.

Hell, the 'pugs probably require them to swear they're an evangelical homo-bashing fundy, these days.

Yes, Geni, judicial races with two candidates do appear on the primary ballot. In fact, the Alexander-Groen race will appear ONLY on the primary ballot, because one or the other will win a majority of the votes.

That's what makes it imperative to get the news out that Groen is a far-right wingnut, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BIAW and the Farm Bureau, a man who makes Jim Johnson look like a rational judicial thinker. And it's what makes Will in Seattle's snit about Chief Justice Alexander so potentially damaging to the people of the 43rd Legislative District and the entire state of Washington. Yes, Alexander got it wrong on DOMA, but Groen will get it wrong, and actively do it wrong on everything he gets his grubby hands on.

As long as we're back on the supremes - Tom Chambers also has a winner-take-all primary against that nut job Jeanette Burrage (the skirt judge). I'm guessing she's also a recruit of the Constitutional Law PAC (read: BIAW).

Think Choice will never get to the Washington Supreme Court? think again.

Good work Will.

Dogs May Bark--

With six plausible candidates in the race, and most people unable to name one of their state laegislators (so it's not a front-of-the-brain race), endorsements are going to be one of the main ways anyone who bothers to vote will choose a candidate. Which endorsements matter are up to the individual voter.

Now, on to other aspects of the previous evening--

Was I the only one insulted that Maria Cantwell decided to send her buyout project (former-opponent-turned-$8K/month-staffer Mark Wilson), as her speaker? Thank you for rubbing it in our faces, Senator.

I'm surprised that action didn't boost Hong Tran's votes. Maybe it did.

Sure didn't help endear Cantwell to me. But what would? Oh, yeah, a little apology and change of heart and tactics about the war. That would be nice.

What I meant, Fruitbat, is that in this primary election, endorsements will tend to be less important. By now almost all of us who (1) will vote in the primary and (2) give a fig, are acquainted with at least one if not two or three of the candidates. Whether The Stranger or the P-I or someone's ethereal God stamps their imprimatur on one of six candidates isn't going to make a helluva lot of difference. For once shoe leather counts - like doorbells rung, hands shaken, smiles traded, track records considered. And if people vote in their own self-interest (e.g. women, union members, educators, gays, scared white men), then we already know the winner, don't we?

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