Politics Down-Ballot Update
posted by October 6 at 16:09 PMon
Accusations are flying in the race for 36th District state representative, with each of the two Democrats in the race accusing the other of fighting dirty. First up: Reuven Carlyle, whose supporters are accusing a supporter of his opponent, John Burbank, of inaccurately portraying Carlyle as a Republican and of illegitimately using a list of 2008 Democratic Party caucus attendees to stack the deck in Burbank’s favor during the 36th District nomination process. (Many of the accusations and counteraccusations can be found on the 36th District Democrats’ blog.)
That supporter, Paul Bigman, distributed an email earlier this year that included color-coded information about Burbank and Carlyle. Statements about Burbank, such as “John’s personal history is one of leadership and activism in the peace movement and the environmental movement,” were in blue—the color of the Democratic Party. Statements about Carlyle, such as “26% of Carlyle’s contributions are from corporations and corporate executives [including] Bruce McCaw, one of the largest Republican fund-raisers in the State,” were in red—the color of the Republican Party.
The email prompted one of Carlyle’s supporters to write a post on the 36th District Democrats’ blog defending Carlyle, who is a Democrat; it also elicited a direct response from Carlyle himself, who called the implication “that I’m somehow a closet Republican … silly, obnoxious and an insult.” Carlyle then listed several progressive groups that have endorsed him, including the Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters, and seven Seattle City Council Members.
Carlyle’s supporters are also alleging that Burbank and his supportters illegitimately used a list of voters who attended the 2008 Democratic caucus to rally supporters and recruit new precinct committee officers (PCOs) and district members to his cause. Carlyle says both he and Burbank received copies of the list, with the explicit instruction that they not use it for campaign purposes. “Soon after that,” Carlyle says, “one of the members of John’s kitchen cabinet began putting out full-blast email attacks on me.” Carlyle says “a lot of members of the district are pretty outraged by the use and abuse” of the caucus list by Burbank’s campaign. Although Burbank acknowledges calling up existing district members and recruiting new PCOs, he says “it didn’t have anything to do with” the list of caucus members given to both candidates by the district. District vice chair Janis Traven didn’t answer a call seeking clarification of the rules.
Carlyle isn’t the only candidate leveling accusations in the 36th. On Monday, Burbank said his opponent had failed to abide by a “clean campaign pledge” adopted by both candidates, which states that each candidate will “[reject] the use of negative or misleading attacks against a fellow Democrat,” not” mislead voters regarding my own record on the issues, [and not] engage in, nor permit defamatory negative attacks upon the character of my opponent(s),” among other things. Burbank says he was doorbelling in Magnolia over the weekend when a constituent gave him a piece of mail she had received from Carlyle’s campaign, calling Burbank “a 30-year Olympia lobbyist and party campaign aide” with “old style, antagonistic politics”; it also refers to his support for the “infamous ‘Latte Tax,’” of which Burbank was the primary architect, as “silly.”
“It’s an odd thing, because Reuven initiated [the clean campaign pledge] on Thursday and then on Saturday he is in violation of it,” Burbank says. “He’s labeling me a 30-year Olympia lobbysis and party campaign aide when, first, that’s impossible because I moved to Seattle in 1983.” Second, Burbank says, he’s an “advocate for middle-class and low-income families,” not a lobbyist. “He’s falsifying facts,” Burbank says. “If this is acceptable behavior under the pledge then it is fair to ask if the pledge has any meaning at all.” In response, Carlyle calls Burbank’s objection “silly,” adding, “he was hoping that signing the clean campaign pledge was somehow going to prevent a discussion of the latte tax, and that’s just not going to happen.”
Carlyle and Burbank will debate each other on Tuesday, October 14, at the Sunset Hill Community Club, 3003 NW 66th Street in Ballard.
And in completely unrelated legislative news, supporters of 46th District legislative candidate Gerry Pollet are demanding that his opponent, fellow Democrat Scott White, return $800 contributed by th a PAC controlled by the Building Industry Association of Washington. White has raised just over $110,000 to Pollet’s $57,000.