It seems hypocritical of The Stranger to be such enthusiastic cheerleaders of Frank Chopp, when it was just a year ago that they were actively trying to get him out of office, through the write-in campaign for Kshama Sawant.
Bring it on. The Stranger Election Control Board can take it. But, to clarify our recent history with the house speaker:
For the August 2010 primary election we were definitely pissed at Chopp, and questioned whether he had any balls. ("I personally do," he replied.) But, we ultimately endorsed him:
Vote for Chopp—but the next time you see him, ask him if he has any balls. Then ask him to prove it.
For the November general election in 2010, we declared ourselves "intrigued by 'World Champion Ski Racer' Kim Verde, the elderly widow who's running against Democratic house majority leader Frank Chopp." But, we concluded, "she's a nutty Republican." Then, in endorsing Chopp, we made a threat:
We think Chopp is probably, deep down, the righteous lefty that he claims to be, but you wouldn't know it from his aggressive centrism down in Olympia. Yeah, we know, being house majority leader means you have to look out for the Democrats from the sticks. Well, you know what, Chopp, you also have to look out for your base. If we don't see you swinging for Seattle's interests this session (especially on the downtown tunnel cost overrun bullshit) then we're going to show up at your house in the middle of the night and pee on your lawn.
For the August primary in 2012, we decided we needed to do more than just pee on Chopp's lawn. We declared that little-known Socialist Kshama Sawant ("an articulate firebrand and economics instructor at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College") was in the wrong race. She'd decided to run in the primary against the 43rd District's other state house member, Jamie Pedersen. "But," we wrote, "if you're looking to send a message by running a referendum on do-nothing Democrats, three-term incumbent Jamie Pedersen is the last Democrat we'd pick. A lawyer, Pedersen is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit to overturn Tim Eyman's initiative that requires an impossible two-thirds majority to raise any taxes and he's played a lead role in the fight to legalize gay marriage." So, we endorsed Pedersen. Then, for Chopp's race, we suggested a Sawant write-in candidacy:
Representing the same district as Pedersen, house Speaker Frank Chopp has done a great job building and maintaining a Democratic majority, but he's done a crappy job using it, presiding over a decade of budget cuts while doing nothing to address our state's structural revenue deficit.
That's why we're writing in Kshama Sawant, who didn't file in this race, but should have.
And whaddya know—she got enough write-ins to make it happen!
For the November general election in 2012, we endorsed Sawant over Chopp because of our continued feeling that Democrats in Olympia—and Chopp in particular—needed "a kick in the ass." We then listed off some of our frustrations with what Olympia Democrats had been presiding over during the Great Recession, including "devastating cuts to colleges (UW tuition has increased 82 percent over four years), to say nothing of slashing funding for health care and the disabled, and gutting funding from state agencies."
But, we wrote:
Is Chopp personally responsible? Not entirely. He's a good man who has tried hard to fight for the poor, students, and the sick (while sometimes squandering his majority). But he's the party leader, and he's not going to lose this election, so this is a perfect opportunity for a third-party candidate to inject fresh ideas into mainstream politics. Vote Sawant.
Sawant received 29 percent of the vote—message sent—and channeled her increased name recognition into a successful run for the Seattle City Council in 2013 against longtime incumbent Richard Conlin. (We endorsed Sawant as a viable, necessary candidate in that race, and she won.)
Which brings us to...
The August primary of 2014, and our endorsement of Chopp over his current challenger, Socialist Jess Spear. It begins:
The SECB loves a badass socialist. (See Sawant, Kshama.) But socialist Jess Spear didn't convince us she's ready to bring the people's revolution to Olympia, and we think longtime House Speaker Frank Chopp and his maddening incrementalism will actually do more for the issues we care about, more quickly, than a Spear election would.
For whatever it's worth, them's the endorsement facts. Now, back to the comment fight.