Editor’s Note: Doug says it below, but a quick reminder that posts reflect the opinions of the author, and not necessarily those of the editors or the site. Doug lists other sources for ballot information at the bottom of the post.
With so much focus on the race for U.S. President, it is easy to forget that Washington state has a primary election next Tuesday. You should have received your ballot last week. If you didn’t, you might want to register to vote in time for November’s general election.
I write a voter’s guide each election cycle, focusing mostly on the races that appear on my ballot. Since most Wallyhood readers live within a couple of miles of me, those same races probably appear on your ballot too. In the past several elections Jordan has linked to my voter’s guide on Wallyhood. Comments regarding my guide have ranged from “This sounds like it was written by a 14 year old boy (with a bad case of acne) living in his parent’s basement” to “I dig DOUG’s guide”. Now that I’m an irregular contributor to Wallyhood, I’d like to reaffirm that all opinions on my voter’s guide are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other voices on Wallyhood.
Primary elections in Washington state are weird. I believe we are the only state in the Union with a “Top Two” primary system in all races except President, which means the top two vote getters in each race, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election. It is possible then, in hyper-liberal Seattle, to have two Democrats as the top two finishers in a primary race.
That outcome is unlikely in the race for the open State Representative seat in the 43rd Legislative District (Wallingford’s district). Not because the lone Republican in the race, Zachary Zaerr, is a fantastic candidate (Zaerr believes that fantasy football is a “liberty issue”), but because he is running against six Democrats, who will likely split the vote into small percentages, thus allowing Zaerr, with help from his friends in Broadmoor, to advance to the general election (where he will lose in a landslide).
This seat opened up when Brady Walkinshaw, our current Representative, spurned the 43rd District (before serving even a full term) to run for United States Representative. This position is known informally as the “gay seat” because it has been held by a gay male for the past 30 years starting with the late, great Cal Anderson, Washington state’s first openly gay legislator. Will that streak continue? There’s a chance.
Gay, straight and perhaps somewhere in between, there are many good candidates in this race, and to paraphrase my political-insider friend, Steve, it’s a shame that liberals spend so much time, money and energy trying to out-liberal their fellow liberals, rather than spending that time, money and energy on races that could actually shift our Legislature in a more meaningful way.
So which liberal to choose? With very little differentiating the best candidates in this race on issues like transportation, housing, civil rights and the environment, I’m going with the guy I’ve worked with in the past. Scott Forbes was the Chair of the 43rd District Democrats when I volunteered with that organization a few years ago. I know him to be smart, honest, organized and incredibly hard-working.
But don’t take my word for it. In addition to Doug’s Voter’s Guide, there are other resources out there to inform yourself on this year’s primary. A good place to start is with the websites of the candidates and issues themselves. King County’s election page provides links to them all. Beyond that, you can check out The Stranger’s endorsements and recommendations from the Progressive Voter’s Guide.
Thanks for reading. Back to the basement. See you in November.