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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Less Partisan Party?

posted by on October 29 at 14:45 PM

A couple weeks ago a car stuffed with Dan Satterberg for Prosecutor yard signs pulled up beside me, a man hopped out, and he trotted into a house. The next day I saw one of those signs in the house’s lawn. It looked like this one on the left, only standing upright.


Last week I walked by again, and the sign had been altered.


Satterberg now appears nervous that running as a Republican may hamper his chances of getting elected, despite his incumbency. He was next in line to replace the late Norm Maleng, the cherished former King County Prosecutor who died in May. Maleng, also a Republican, looked like a grandpa and held some progressive ideas about criminal justice. But Satterberg looks more shrewd and his politics are comparatively unknown (his television ad simply riffs on a status quo catching-the-bad-guys theme). And that “R” next to his name is enough to raise red flags in Seattle. Bill Sherman, the Democrat in the race, is leveraging the party’s differences. He’s pushing for innovative reforms for the office.

Ironically, both candidates’ platforms include aspects of non-partisanship. From yesterday’s Seattle Times

Satterberg vows to lobby the Legislature next year to make the prosecutor’s office nonpartisan in future elections a bill Satterberg said would be sponsored by one of his Democratic supporters, state Sen. Adam Kline of Seattle.

Sherman also has pledged to keep partisan politics out of the office. But in a county where Democrats outnumber Republicans, he is asking voters to consider party affiliation when assessing the candidates’ values and priorities.

Removing party politics from prosecutor elections would clearly benefit Satterberg and Republicans in the long run by making their political leanings a non-issue — law enforcement generally is more conservative than the King County electorate. But meanwhile, Satterberg is willing to play the game. Earlier this month he accepted a $17,500 donation from the King County GOP.

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I'm repeatedly hearing from hard-left friends in the prosecutor's office that Satterberg is more of a dem. than a rep. but that he had to declare as a republican to get the interim appointment. And he's now stuck running with that label. I was a little surprised--a *lot* of very progressive people in that office are actually supporting Satterberg.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 29, 2007 3:04 PM

Shit, I'm a Democrat for Satterberg.

Posted by John | October 29, 2007 3:06 PM

I got a robocall from State Senator Adam Kline on behalf of Satterberg a couple of weeks ago...

Posted by Mr. X | October 29, 2007 3:34 PM

I know a lot of people in the office (I am married to one of them). They're almost all Democrats and everyone I know (25+) favors Satterberg. They like Sherman personally and many contributed to his run for the 43rd, but they're sending out private emails to friends in support of Satterberg because they really don't want Sherman running the office. Moreover, they are losing a lot of respect for Sherman because they know enough to know that many his sound bites, while appealing to voters at large, have no basis in reality. Several of them explain why in the comments at or Postman's blog.

Posted by T | October 29, 2007 3:46 PM

@1: Satterberg makes no apologies for being a Republican and regularly donates to fellow Republicans, as I'm sure you are aware, since you commented on this post. Yes, some Democrats are supporting him, and perhaps the office should be nonpartisan, but Satterberg cannot be considered a Dem in wolf's clothing.

Posted by annie | October 29, 2007 3:47 PM

Sorry, I can't support someone endorsed by many of these clowns.

Posted by DOUG. | October 29, 2007 3:48 PM

Look, all I'm sayin' is...we need more penis in my face.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2007 3:54 PM

I reserve the right to be inconsistent in my snarkiness.

That said, I have noticed a lot of friends supporting Satterberg, and felt compelled to ask why. I'm just relaying back what I've been getting for answers.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 29, 2007 3:58 PM

@1, I've heard the same thing. There are tons of democrats in the office wanting these signs. It's not Satterberg who made those signs up, it's supporters. It would probably be impossible to do, but it would be interesting to do some sort of survey to see what percentage of prosecutors (who are registered democrats) support Dan.

Posted by Gidge | October 29, 2007 4:29 PM

As a gay man with AIDS and long time medical marijuana actvist.

Satterberg has done alot for our community for the last 12 years, yes even befor we had a medical marijuana law he did not proscute patients, and he has done so with respect,compassion,and honesty.

Posted by D-guy | October 29, 2007 4:29 PM

The real question is, which one's going to leave the pot smokers and pole smokers alone?

Posted by Greg | October 29, 2007 4:30 PM

Full disclosure: I already voted for Sherman, but from all the stuff I've read in the voter's pamphlet and elsewhere, I think Satterberg's a good guy as well. I'd be happy with either in office, I think.

This race makes me wish that all the Republicans were more like Norm Maleng and Dan Satterberg. Of course, that's never going to happen, but wouldn't it be nice?

Posted by Greg | October 29, 2007 4:33 PM

@6, you cite to Satterberg's endorsement list: something really wierd going on there -- He lists the party label for elected officials, only if they are Democrats; Republican officeholders go unlabeled. Same for his list of "prominent Democrats"; no similar list of prominent Republicans. Is there anybody "in the know" who can explain this?

Posted by Perfect Voter | October 29, 2007 4:42 PM

Either one of them could make a good replacement City Attorney. hint, hint...

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 29, 2007 4:46 PM

If Satterberg were truly a "non-partisan" guy, he would have filed as an Independent candidate, something explicitly permitted under both state law and the county charter. He says he had to promise to run as a Republican in order to be appointed by the Party to fill the GOP vacancy? He's so desperate for a paycheck he couldn't leave the office for a few months in order to stake out his true independence? Sorry; just doesen't wash. He filed as a Republican, period. And, as with Melang, we can expect to see Satterberg's endorsement of GOP candidates, right-wingnuts and all.

Posted by Perfect Voter | October 29, 2007 4:49 PM

Perfect Voter: Unlike Sherman, Satterberg did not abandon his post and leave victims in the wind so that he could run for office. He remained at the office to continue Maleng's legacy. The county rules state that the party from which the prior prosecutor was a member selects three people to take over. They obviously are going to be republican. Then, the county council confirms one of them to be interim. Had Satterberg left the office, he would have done a disservice to the office, and, more importantly, the county.

Posted by Chuka | October 29, 2007 5:08 PM

Oh come on - that's a little sensationalist, don't you think? Sherman did not leave ANY victims (or his poor dear mother) in the wind to run for office. He was recruited to run, and is a very qualified candidate for the office.

I'm sure the Satterburg staff have a good gig right now and don't want their routines interrupted by a new boss man.

Posted by watcher | October 29, 2007 5:23 PM

Good thing most of us already voted.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2007 5:25 PM

oh, and I voted for Sherman.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2007 5:26 PM

@ 17

What's the basis for your knowledge? Sherman had a trial case load in the DV unit, decided to run, and went on leave the next day to start campaigning, leaving all of his files and his relationships with victims to be assumed by other deputies.

While looking for a football game this weekend, I stumbled upon some forum with the two candidates and Sherman tried to sell his departure from the office as an issue of integrity, because campaigning while working would call into question his decisions as a prosecutor. Total garbage, he left the office before to run for state legislature; if he wins, I'm sure he won't go on leave to run for re-election or a different office.

As for the current folks having a nice gig, that's also nonsense. Goldy makes that argument over at HA, but a prosecutors office doesn't work that way. These people work very long hours for low pay, it isn't like they clock out at 4:30. A couple years ago, the insiders in Snohomish county decided they liked the Democrat challenger Janice Ellis more than they did two-time incumbent Jim Krider, and Krider got the boot.

Posted by T | October 29, 2007 5:50 PM

@20: Sorry, T, but Satterberg's decision to claim the Republican Party appointment allowed him to run from within the office as a pseudo-incumbent. Sherman had no choice but to take a leave of absence. Political spin works both ways, so Sherman can argue that his decision to run on his own time is the more principled decision.

Posted by J.R. | October 29, 2007 7:41 PM

I don't care what party either person belongs to, so long as whoever gets in there won't press to prosecute people they know are innocent just for political points.

Last thing Seattle needs is a Nifong.

If what they did to me is any indication of how things will be run under Satterberg, then maybe a change in management is for the best.

Posted by Packratt | October 29, 2007 10:07 PM

Perfect Voter is a fucking idiot and I reserve the right not to respond directly to his comments; only the stupidity therein.

Posted by Drew | October 30, 2007 12:42 AM

hard choice - voted for Sherman - good to shake the bottle - and I resented the intervention into the Catholic priest stuff where possible criminal acts were to be found - and clumsy voter stuff

the lady who registered, NOT voted her dog, did civic service to show how broken the system was, and they charged her

petty people, public reprimand would have been fine - and the time better spent on violent crime

and I don't like republicans at all

Posted by Karla | October 30, 2007 7:36 AM

Nineteen years in the same office? That makes me think a change of prosecutors would be well-advised. A recent editorial posited that the Founding Fathers (yes, those guys whose minds we read after 232 years) never intended for the democracy to be run by repeaters. Fresh blood, fresh air and fresh ideas propel Sherman's March to the Sea - oops - I mean to Victory.

This message has been approved when I saw who Will voted for, and then I knew the time was right. In the aridity of a second day thread, no one will read this in any event.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | October 30, 2007 12:55 PM

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