2008 Red Scare
posted by October 16 at 10:40 AMon
Democrats are feeling pretty good about their chances right now—when it comes to winning the White House. But when it comes to the down-ballot races here in Washington State, it’s a different story.
Something odd is happening in Washington State.
It’s not that Barack Obama is running strong here, up by 10 points in a recent state poll. That makes sense. You have to go back to 1984 to find the last time this state picked a Republican (Ronald Reagan) for president. Plus, Obama’s big win here in the February Democratic caucuses, and the record- shattering turnout he helped inspire, provided a clear early signal that Washington would be his to lose.
What’s odd is that when you look past Obama, you find Democrats down the ticket who are running behind, even with, or just barely ahead of their Republican opponents.
Governor Christine Gregoire is running even with Republican Dino Rossi. Republican congressman Dave Reichert is ahead of his two-time Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner. Our Republican attorney general, Rob McKenna, seems poised to beat back a challenge by Democratic Pierce County executive John Ladenburg. The Republican secretary of state, Sam Reed, seems almost certain to defeat his Democratic opponent, Jason Osgood. And the race for commissioner of public lands is still tight between Eastern Washington Democrat Peter Goldmark and Republican incumbent Doug Sutherland.
All of which raises the distinct possibility that on election night, Washington will be “blue” in only a very superficial sense. If the current political conditions hold, this state could give its 11 Electoral College votes to Obama while at the same time giving the governor’s mansion to Rossi and retaining three top Republicans in statewide offices.
What’s going on? I explore it all here.