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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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November 6, 2007 8:05 PM

In Burien with Dan Satterberg and Tim Eyman

Posted by David Postman

As I drove up to Mick Kelly's in downtown Burien the bright lights were on out front and the TV trucks had their antennas up. Never mind that it was 15 minutes before the polls closed, Tim Eyman was out front declaring victory for his latest initiative, I-960.

The rest of us will have to wait to see if voters approve his latest tax-fighting measure. Eyman has got his act down so pat he says it doesn't really matter whether it wins or loses on the ballot.

"Thanks to the campaign for I-960, the people forced the government and its representatives to explain themselves," he said, reading a prepared statement to the small knot of reporters. And he explained, as I've heard him say before, that initiatives can have "a political message and a legal message." The legal message actually requires the initiative to pass. But the political one, he says -- and there is some evidence of this -- can live even without approval by the voters.

There's no better example of that than Eyman's first success, I-695. The courts threw it out and Democrats who had opposed it on the ballot were quick to adopt the key pieces of the measure through legislation, signed by a Democratic governor.

Eyman said he will have another initiative next year, though he wouldn't say what that will be. He was surrounded by a group of supporters, including Michael Dunmire, his financial patron.

The big crowd at the Irish pub is sporting a lot of "Satterberg" stickers. This really is his party. The first results just came in and -- though only a handful of votes have been counted in the first tally of absentees -- Satterberg was glad to see they went his way, 54/45.

Satterberg's band, the Approximations, will play later. Satterberg plays bass.

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