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Postman on Politics

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

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August 7, 2008 11:44 AM

Gregoire: Not enough for Dems to elect Obama

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire says that voters newly energized by the campaign of Barack Obama fail to understand that to get real change this November they need to also vote for her and other Democrats further down the ballot.

In an interview with The Stranger, Gregoire talked about the need to have Democrats in Congress, in governors’ offices and in Legislatures, to ensure that if Obama is elected he can actually get something done.

I think Senator Obama has brought out a new generation of voters that have not voted before. And some of these folks -- I know, because I’ve talked to them -- feel they’re engaged to voted for Senator Obama and then they’re done, failing to recognize the important of, he can’t do much of anything alone, if he doesn’t have a Congress he can work with, if he doesn’t have governors he can work with, if governors don’t have legislatures they can work with.

So I think our job is to convince these folks, it isn’t good enough to be engaged by saying, “I’m going to vote for president of the United States.” You’ve got to get engaged and look down the ticket and ask yourself, “Who are these folks and do I want to support them?” So I think that is going to be very important.

You can watch part of Gregoire’s Stranger interview here. It opens with her discussion about Obama.

It certainly will be important for Gregoire to get Democratic voters to pick her along with Obama in November. That has less to do with the Obamamania, though, and more to do with Gregoire’s poor electoral performance in the state’s Democratic strongholds.

Four years ago Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry outpolled Gregoire in King, Pierce and Thurston counties. Kerry had no phenomenal pull with young or new voters.

But a look at the county-by-county results shows Gregoire had a difficult time riding 2004's Democratic wave. And that had a lot to do with her ending up in a dead heat with Republican Dino Rossi, who she now faces for the second time.

In King County, Kerry got 580,378 votes and George Bush got 301,043.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray got 573,506 votes to her opponent’s 287,436 votes.

Gregoire got 505,243 and Rossi got 350,779.

That means thousands of voters went down their ballot and voted for Kerry and Murray and either skipped the governor’s race all together or voted for Rossi along with the Democrats at the top of the ticket.

Gregoire’s Democratic predecessor had much better results. In King County, Gov. Gary Locke outpolled Bill Clinton in 1996 and Al Gore in 2000. And that’s not just because Locke served as King County executive. He got more votes than Clinton or Gore in Thurston and Pierce counties, too.

Gregoire had what seemed like an advantage going into the '04 election since she had been elected three times as state attorney general.

The governor’s need to appeal to those core Democratic voters makes me wonder why she started her TV campaign with what was a generally conservative message -- including boasting of protecting Tim Eyman’s property tax cap.

I’ll be interested to see what The Stranger crew has to say about their Gregoire interview. They cover a lot of ground that will be of interest to the very sorts of liberal voters who four years ago skipped the governor’s race.

I can’t imagine there are many votes to be won by Gregoire’s answer about her position on gay marriage. Maybe she will lose fewer votes, but is anyone attracted by her saying, in response to being asked whether she’d sign a bill granting marriage rights to same-sex couples,

I’m not going to deal with hypotheticals.

It is hypothetical to ask what she’d do if a bill was passed by the Legislature. But it's not at all hypothetical to ask what she believes -- and what she feels and what she’d like to do -- about gay marriage.

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12:02 PM, Aug 07, 2008

She is so confused about politics and the failure of her and Obama to close the deal is the real story. We have the two candidates that will be defeated come Nov. not by their opponents.

Posted by Dr. Charles W. Heckman

1:01 PM, Aug 07, 2008

With regard to your article on protecting veterans from discrimination, it is not hard to predict that Gregoire will oppose any bill to protect veterans' rights to compete fairly for employment. As attorney general, Gregoire spent more then $55,000 to keep me from ever working for the State of Washington because I served two combat tours in Vietnam. She also spent over $500,000 on ten lawsuits to deny other veterans state employment and have her judge friends declare veterans' preference unconstitutional in Washington, after the law had been in force for half a century. Gregoire has a two class plan for Washington: non-veterans work and support themselves, while veterans live on the dole from the state in homeless shelters.

Posted by hypotheticallyspeaking

1:24 PM, Aug 07, 2008

Funny how Christine Gregoire was the Grand Marshall of the Pride parade yet consistently refuses to address what some would call their biggest issue: Gay Marriage.

I predict that non answers like this will plague the rest of Christine Gregoire's campaign... on everything from Education, Transportation to Health Care and the Environment, let alone social issues like Gay Marriage.

Maybe she won't respond to any more hypotheticals... in that case she can save us all the trouble and suspend her campaign now. Hypothetically, (and i think in reality), Dino Rossi would make a much better governor.

Posted by Joe

2:05 PM, Aug 07, 2008

Funny, from her ads, I got the impression she was running against George Bush! ; )

Posted by jake

2:44 PM, Aug 07, 2008

thank a democrack in Nov for the high gasoline prices VOTE NO

Posted by Paul G

2:51 PM, Aug 07, 2008

Unfortunately for the governor, most new young voters want change. Change from divisive politics (like an incumbent's first two ads being negative ads attacking her opponent). Change from massive spending that turns surpluses into record deficits. Change from one party controlling the executive for eight straight years, or twenty-four, for that matter. New Obama voters have far more in common with Dino Rossi than governor Gregoire.

Posted by Patriot

2:53 PM, Aug 07, 2008

Gregoire would be wise to lock on with Mayor Nichols.

He spent over 5 million for some toilets; today has them on E-bay trying to recoup the cost with a bid of .99 each.

Gregoire had the opportunity to collect over 150 million from the tribes and said no thanks knowing we had a deficit of over 2 billion same mental challenges Nichols has.

Posted by JimD

7:13 PM, Aug 07, 2008

"...Funny how Christine Gregoire was the Grand Marshall of the Pride parade yet consistently refuses to address what some would call their biggest issue: Gay Marriage. .."

Anyone whjo's "biggest issue" is gay marriage ought to have their head examined.
The republicans can't run away fast enough from the Christian right's social agenda and all the damage it's wrought on the GOP.
Don't look for Rossi to get caught-up in that one this time around.
It's simply off the table, and should have been long ago when our current problems were brewing-up while conservatives diverted their energy into something that's simply none of government's business - so sayeth a growing majority of Americans who've finally had enough of that particular neo-conservative nonsense.

Posted by jamesb

8:31 PM, Aug 07, 2008

Paul G.
I doubt you will see majorities of young voters flocking to Rossi. The republican brand is badly and justifiably damaged. I would hope anyone ignorant enough to not know the GOP and republican party are one and the same will get lost on the way to the polls or leaves their mail in ballot on the dashboard a week too long.
As for the negative ads, you refer to the ads run by groups in support of Gregoire as ads run by the Gregoire campaign. Are you holding Rossi to the same standard with the BIAW ads?

Posted by Paul G

9:56 PM, Aug 07, 2008


Two things. First, most of the new young voters supporting Senator Obama do so not out of brand loyalty to a party, but because of ideas like change, post-partisanship, and sensible government. When Senator Rossi was chariman of the ways and means committee, he wrote a bipartisan budget that passed the democratic-controlled house, was signed by the democratic governor, and which closed the (then) largest budget deficit in state history without raising taxes and while providing services for the truly vulnerable in our state. That is exactly the kind of public servant young Obama supporters flock to.

Second, I am talking only about ads the campaigns themselves have produced. Dino Rossi has run radio and television ads that are positive and about himself. The governor's first two radio ads were negative and about her opponent. She claimed, for example, that Dino Rossi wants to limit Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that he is neither running for the Supreme Court of the United States, and that he has promised that he will not attempt to change Washington's abortion laws. Those kind of negative, petty, small ads are exactly the kind of politics against which Senator Obama is running.

If those young voters want change and bi-partisan, common sense government, they will vote Obama for President and Rossi for govenor.

Posted by JimD

7:33 AM, Aug 08, 2008

Paul G,
I think you underestimate the media savvy and general sophistication of the "new young voters" supporting Obama.
They are smart enough to measure a candidate by the totality of his/her support, and Rossi's support is overtly negative, disingenuous, and represents a retreat from the progressive agenda Gregoire has instituted.
I think your argument better applies to "new young voters" supporting McCain.

Recent entries

Aug 7, 08 - 08:58 PM
Rossi talks up his Native roots

Aug 7, 08 - 07:28 PM
8th District: Money update & web ads

Aug 7, 08 - 02:12 PM
Gregoire says she needs money to catch Obama wave

Aug 7, 08 - 11:44 AM
Gregoire: Not enough for Dems to elect Obama

Aug 6, 08 - 01:40 PM
Gregoire's delicate walk around economic woes







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