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June 7, 2006

Cantwell opponent loses endorsement

Posted by David Postman at 4:12 PM

The Democratic Party in the 38th Legislative District in Snohomish County rescinded its endorsement of Mark Wilson Monday night. Wilson is the anti-war candidate running a long-shot primary campaign against Sen. Maria Cantwell. The endorsement of the 38th District Democrats is brought up often in discussions with Wilson supporters as one official sign of support for the protest candidate.

But Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, thought it was important to "show unity of the Democratic Party behind Maria Cantwell," he told me in a phone conversation today. I first heard about this from the Left Shue, who posted a long and somewhat complicated retelling of Monday's meeting. He said party leaders wanted to tell the grassroots that if they "are bold enough (or stupid enough) to mess with the machine, you will be burned and quickly put back in your place."

The 38th District voted to endorse Cantwell, and then rescind Wilson's endorsement. They could have endorsed both. But Wilson said it was a move done out of "reactionary fear for self preservation."

"The incumbents are determined to protect each other over and beyond any Democratic values or rules. Because, 'if there can be a revolt against Maria, maybe I'm next,' they're thinking, possibly."

McCoy said he hoped Cantwell was happy about the move but said, "I had no encouragement from anybody."

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What's Spanish for "I don't support the party platform"?

Posted by David Postman at 11:00 AM

Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick today launched a Spanish-language version of his campaign Web site.

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Religion and politics mix on the left

Posted by David Postman at 9:05 AM

Much has been made of the involvement of local churches in Tim Eyman's anti-gay rights measure. But politics and religion don't just mix on the right. Apparently black politicians, who in Washington state are predominately Democrats, must cultivate the pulpit and the pews to be successful.

In the Seattle Weekly Mike Seely profiles Darryl Smith and includes this from Ron Sims:

"People think because you're black, you're going to get elected. But I don't know where Darryl's church base is, and in this city, you'd better have a home church. The people in the black community who vote are in a church. That is the tie that binds people."

And this from consultant George Griffin:

"I guess the litmus test for me with Darryl is when I asked him if he knew any of the African-American pastors in town and he said, 'No, I'm Buddhist,'" says Griffin. "I said, 'Hell, I'm Catholic, but I know all the black pastors.' So I've always felt he didn't really have a lot of the connections you need if you're going to run for office."

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What does Eyman's failure really mean?

Posted by David Postman at 8:05 AM

After Gov. Chris Gregoire said at a press conference the other day that Washington voters were being misled by Tim Eyman to believe R-65 was about gay marriage, I wrote that politicians on the losing side of citizen measures always claim people didn't know what they were doing.

Now that Eyman failed to force a vote on the gay rights bill -- and by his own design, a proxy on gay marriage -- who on the right will be the first to declare voters didn't understand what they were doing when they chose not to sign the petitions? (Of course given religious leaders' open disdain for Eyman's lackluster effort there may not be much of a search for excuses.)

What does it mean if Gregoire was wrong, as Eyman and his allies in the churches said she was, and people knew exactly what they were doing? Commenter John put it this way: "given that the ref 65 effort fell well short of the required number of signatures to even get on the ballot, doesn't it follow that the vast majority of Washingtonians have no issue with same-sex marriage whatsoever?"

The question could be put to the churches that backed the measure, as well as the governor who is on record saying Washingtonians are not ready for gay marriage.

Eyman's failure looks like good news for Democrats on the ballot this year. That's how one state Democrat reads it.

The defeat of the anti-gay rights forces comes as questions pop up about the strategy of national Republicans and President Bush to use a gay marriage ban as a way to boost sagging poll numbers. The New York Times reports this morning that doubting Republicans say "replaying the marriage debate in particular could do as much damage as good as Republicans fight to retain control of Congress."

"I don't think the problem is primarily with social conservatives," said Pat Toomey, a former Republican House member who now heads the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee. "The problem I see is with economic conservatives who see out-of-control spending, huge deficits and that Republicans can't make the tax cuts permanent. The problem is on a different field."

The good news for Republicans today comes from San Diego where voters picked the GOP candidate in the special election to fill the seat vacated when Congressman Duke Cunningham had to go to jail. ABC's The Note says "National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Reynolds has the best summary of the Higher Meaning of a 1/435th-sized tea leaf."

"The results in San Diego show that nothing has happened to alter the notion (sic) that House elections are about a choice between local personalities focused on local issues."

Democrats need to nationalize congressional elections, as Demo pollster Celinda Lake told me last month. "It's very clear what the struggle is," she said. And it's clear the struggle continues.

UPDATE: The Faith & Freedom Network, one of the groups that worked with Eyman on the referendum, has a blog and here's the post on yesterday's news.

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