Category Archives: Election 2008

Barack Obama was born on the grassy knoll

I wish New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would have been the one people had suspicions about when it came to his birth. I wish that because Christie could get away with telling people to do something physically with themselves that I’m pretty sure is anatomically impossible.

Instead, it’s Obama, a man who probably would be scolded for telling people to kiss his tuckus, which is probably what he should have said all along. Anyone who wasn’t convinced by the first birth document that has been available for everyone to see for going on three years probably wasn’t going to buy the latest (or earliest) document. So why bother releasing the original?

Read this. If you don’t want to, the birther movement benefits Obama, especially if he can lump all his critics in with those seen as loonies. He can make jokes at fundraisers and seem the victim of some real wackiness the media wouldn’t ignore.

Obama to birthers: “Thank you.”

Either that or he really was just tired of it.

I have to admit some affection for birthers. If my mom were alive I would halfway suspect that she would be one. Her mother was convinced JFK was not killed in Dallas that day. She got her information from a guy on a bus. She could argue about a lot of things, but she was particularly convinced about that one. My mom defended Nixon beyond reason. Sure, you can believe a lot about the guy that would make him less crooked than he was judged to be, but at some point you have to admit he did something wrong.

The Washington Post story linked in the second paragraph is interesting, because it again makes the point that when we’re emotionally invested in something we are inclined to hold fast to it even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Conspiracy theories have the self-sustaining gift of ramification: They sprout new tendrils, like a mad vine that has invaded from another continent. For the committed conspiracy theorist, there is always another angle to explore, another anomaly to scrutinize.

Heaven knows I have been emotionally attached to things that were hard to defend. New Coke is one I remember.

Daugs Moving to Walla Walla

Daryl Daugs, Bremerton resident and three-time candidate, has taken a job in Walla Walla County as its director of the county Department of Human Services. Daugs has head for-profit and non-profit organizations, but made the most news running for state legislator in the 35th district and mayor of Bremerton, losing in the primaries in both cases. He also put his name in as a contender for county treasurer, but was left out of the final pool of three submitted to the county commissioners.

The announcement from Walla Walla County follows the jump:

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Is This a Good Year for the GOP?

A blogger at asks who will run against Norm Dicks, Sixth District Democratic congressman from Belfair. From the site:

“Norm Dicks is a powerful man and it will take another strong man to run against him.”

The writer, Scott, then posts videos of Randy Neatherlin, who ran two unsuccessful campaigns for the state House seat currently held by Fred Finn. In the first he ran against a longtime incumbent. In the second he was outspent pretty handily, a point Scott makes. And Scott points out that 2006 and 2008 were bad for most Republicans. He then writes:

“The writer for the Kitsap Sun (Steve Gardner) called him the Republican Obama for his speech in Kitsap.”

No I didn’t.

What I did do is post an e-mail from someone who compared Neatherlin to Obama and in another post I agreed generally with someone who said he was the highlight of the county’s 2008 GOP convention. He was. By far he got the most applause of any of the candidates and probably more than the “Up with People”-like group that performed at the beginning.

Did I call him a Republican Obama? No, I did not. I would not. I can’t think of anyone besides Ronald Reagan who could move people with a prepared speech as effectively as Barack Obama. I would have taken this up privately with Scott, but ResistNet hasn’t yet approved my membership.

Could Neatherlin beat Norm Dicks?

Could Doug Cloud, who has lost twice but as yet is the only candidate registered with the Federal Elections Commission to challenge the longtime incumbent?

Given what’s happening in Massachusetts tonight (As of this writing, Republican Scott Brown was beating Martha Coakley, a Democrat, in the race to replace Edward Kennedy.) is this the year to try?

Majority of GOP Voters Think Obama Stole 2008 Election

Joel Connelly at writes about it.

Here is the Public Policy Polling site, which shows that 52 percent of Republican voters and 26 percent of the overall voting public think Barack Obama won the election because ACORN stole it from John McCain.

The Gallup archives show this poll from November 2001. The survey points out that election counting was perceived as less of a problem than it had been earlier in the year, but much of that was because the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001 had happened. However, it’s worth noting that the public’s perception of what happened in the 2000 election hadn’t changed much, even after the attacks. From the 2000 Gallup report:

Despite their changed view about the seriousness of the election controversy and the need for change in the electoral system, Americans have not changed their minds about what happened in the election and its aftermath. The poll shows that today 50% of Americans say Bush won the presidency fair and square, while 32% say he won it on a technicality, and 15% say he stole the election. These numbers are little changed from those found immediately after the Supreme Court decision in December that effectively halted the vote recount and made Bush the winner. At that time, 48% said Bush won fair and square, 32% said he won on a technicality, and 18% said he stole the election. These results are also remarkably similar to those obtained in a Gallup poll this past July.

A separate poll taken a little more than a month after the 2000 election shows that 31 percent of Democrats thought Bush stole the election.

What say ye? Does anyone here think ACORN stole the election for Obama?

Political Discrimination Suit in Grays Harbor County

The Daily World in Aberdeen is reporting a former employee in Grays Harbor County is suing the county saying she was fired from her job because she was involved in the Dino Rossi governor campaign.

Jeanne Laville said she didn’t use her job to get votes for Rossi, but did have to leave work early on occasion to attend campaign events. Laville’s lawyer said she’d accept $250,000 as a compromise.

Two Sides of the First Assisted Suicide

News that what voters approved had in fact been carried out in the “Death with Dignity” measure struck people on both sides of the debate with some degree of sadness, but for different reasons.

Read the New York Times account of the death of Linda Fleming, and the Seattle Times version, which includes some reporting from the New York Times. One is somewhat clinical, the other a bit more emotional.

Then read the press releases by the two organizations that competed for voter will in the 2008 November general election.
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The price for libel in Belfair – $25,000

In 2006 Bob Harris, the former owner of a small grocery store and frequent critic of the local weekly, took a photograph of the editor of that paper and pasted it onto a copy of a sex offender notice.

Harris then made copies and posted them on businesses around Belfair and in Allyn. Initially he denied being the culprit. That he was suspected wasn’t a surprise, because he had previously printed signs with the phrase “No Moore Bad News” and posted them around town. The “Moore” in question was Belfair Herald Editor Kevan Moore.

Harris had also used his store’s readerboard and the Herald’s letters section to blast Moore and the paper.

Harris did not fess up to posting the flyers until he saw bank security photos of him doing just that. Then he started making apologies around town.

The poster was a warning for a Level 3 offender who had failed to register, was considered a high risk to reoffend and whose whereabouts were unknown. Instead of the offender’s photo, however, there was the photo of Moore. The incident occurred about a year after two sex offenders had been murdered in Bellingham, so locals in Mason County thought the poster dangerous for Moore.

Moore, according to a story in the Washington Newspaper, sued civilly. The Washington Newspaper is published by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington.

Moore was awarded $25,000, of which $15,000 was for compensatory damages. He had asked for $150,000. Moore, according to the story, said the judgment was the equivalent of the judge telling Harris his libel was “no big deal.”

“If Judge Finlay’s ruling is truly representative of this community’s attitude and stance towards the behavior that Mr. Harris engaged in, then I am clearly out of touch with this place that I have been living in and covering as a reporter for almost a decade,” Moore said in his statement.

The incident happened at a time when North Mason County seemed particularly given to ugly politics. Bill Eickmeyer’s race against Randy Neatherlin for state representative in 2006 had nastiness coming from supporters, often anonymous, on both sides. The school board’s relationship with its superintendent was contentious.

In 2008 the state representative campaign went on fairly well mannered. Neatherlin ran again, this time against Fred Finn. About the ugliest thing to happen was Neatherlin getting Rickrolled online. That’s when you go to a site you think is for one thing, and then you get Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video. During the campaign it had anti-Neatherlin stuff. Now it has a picture of Che Guevarra. Pretty mild by Belfair 2006 standards.

Principles Witnessed in Any Caucus

The Kitsap County Republican Party sent out an invitation this week for a gathering to watch the “We Surround Them” show as part of “The Glenn Beck Program .

It’s not an official party event and it isn’t limited to Republicans, but in some ways it does show some of the emphasis being exerted by Sandra LaCelle, the party’s new county chairwoman.

LaCelle didn’t know a lot about the program itself, but said it seemed like one way to get Republicans and other like-minded people together on a grass roots level. Later efforts could include getting local party members involved in local service, such as making deliveries of donated food to food banks. The party may not have much say in government right now, but it doesn’t have to be mute or lie low.

Beck’s program has been advertised nationally as one for those who don’t agree with the current direction of the country.

LaCelle herself said she isn’t “totally against government involvement,” but in the case of President Barack Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress, “I just think we’re going too far.” She worries the current programs will place too much of a financial burden on future generations. And she draws on her experience as an attorney having witnessed families who pass down a culture of welfare generation to generation. “What I fear most is an entire generation of people dependent on government programs for a living,” she said.

The little bit of information available about Friday’s program centers on nine principles and 12 values. The writers on the Web site say, “If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common.”

Frankly, I know many on the left who would conceivably believe in all nine. In fact, I’m going to provide a quote for most of the nine principles that I think demonstrates how the left could make the same argument that’s being made by the program slated for Friday.

1. America is good.
“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.” — Barack Obama, Inauguration speech.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
“Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.” — Barack Obama, Christianity Today

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
“Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.” — Barack Obama, Inauguration Speech

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important.” — Barack Obama, Father’s Day speech.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
“As Democrats we are committed to being smart on crime. That means being tough on violent crime, funding strategic and effective commmunity policing and holding offenders accountable . . . “Democratic Party Platform

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
“These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a parent — for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, read to their child. I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father, when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. That is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That’s an American issue.” — Barack Obama, address to Congress on Feb. 24.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
On this one I won’t put a quote, because it is both right and wrong. For one, we’re talking degrees here. Government can and does force charity, because your taxes go to pay for things that go far, far beyond sharing “it with who I want to.” Technically, paying for public education when you don’t have kids is charity, and I know people who think the costs of education should lie on the backs of parents. Now, if you’re talking about government not forcing you to be “charitable” in the emotional sense, I agree. They can take your money and make you work, but they can’t force you to feel good about it.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
I won’t put one here either, because for the last seven years and four months of the last presidential administration the ones who would have yelled this principle the loudest were on the left.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
“And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” — Barack Obama — Inauguration speech.

My point in this laborious process is to show you that people who differ politically can both claim to hold true to the same principles. Where the real differences are lie in the details. Most of the time, I think it’s a matter of degrees. Both Democrats and Republicans honor the free market and government intervention, but they differ in degrees. The folks who will go to the events Friday are probably are in line with LaCelle’s comment, “I just think we’re going too far.”

There will be two watching parties in Kitsap County. The program begins at 2 p.m., but people are invited to start gathering as early as 1 p.m. Group discussion might occur afterward.

One will be at the 19th Hole Tavern at 2171 Erlands Point Road in Central Kitsap. The other is at Trophy Lake Golf and Casting at 3900 SW Lake Flora Road in South Kitsap.

Community Organizer in Chief Calls on Locals

On Tuesday night five people met in a Washington State University classroom to discuss the federal government’s economic stimulus push, but perhaps more tellingly what they can do to help people stung by the current economy.

“It’s not just what we want, it’s where it’s going to do the most good,” said Ginny Duff, who organized the event after answering the call made by the president’s people. It was one of two that we know of in Kitsap County this week. The other was on Bainbridge Island Monday.

Ideas discussed included community and personal gardening, doing small things like taking a neighbor with you when you shop for groceries, bartering, healthcare, or waiting as long as possible to take unemployment to make sure the system doesn’t dry up.

During the 24 hour blitz in February, when Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain touched down in Washington prior to the caucuses, the one thing that distinguished Obama supporters from the others was who they talked about. Clinton’s supporters talked about her. Obama supporters talked about themselves. They talked about what they would do, not so much about him but about what he motivated them to undertake.

More of Steven Gardner’s Clips

Tuesday’s meeting, though only attended by four, could be a small representation of that.

The event did have some hints of partisanship. Duff criticized Republicans for going against the economic stimulus package. Adam Brockus, Bremerton city councilman made a jab at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, without naming her. She has been critical of what Congress and Obama are doing with the current proposals on the table. “Why don’t you say again, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,'” referring to her account of the Bridge to Nowhere.

But Tuesday’s meeting also had signs of not fitting the traditional stereotypes of what liberals would like. When discussing foreclosure assistance, the group seemed to favor some relief in the form mortgage renegotiation. But the group had little sympathy for those who bought well more than they could afford. “It’s called a reality check,” said Eileen Dye of Bremerton.

The ideas will be sent to the president. It’s part of the broader community organizing Obama hopes to carry from his day with that title to the one he has now.

There was some question about whether the snow might deter attendance. There were logistical problems. Duff had a PowerPoint presentation including a video by Va. Gov. Tim Kaine answering economic recovery questions prepared, but the equipment wasn’t available to present it. So the group talked and wrote down concerns and questions, which will be sent to the president.

To see the video by Kaine, go to the video attached here.

County to Open Ballots at a Faster Clip

Kitsap County will spend $206,433 to buy equipment to process election ballots quicker.

The county plans to use its election reserve fund to buy the Pitney Bowes Relia-Vote Solution Compact Server, which will increase the county’s ability to scan envelopes and verify signatures four times faster, according to Walt Washington, county auditor.

Dolores Gilmore, county elections manager, said staff now take each ballot envelope and use a handheld scanner to read the exterior bar code. They then by hand compare signatures on the envelopes with those on file.

The Pitney Bowes system will scan the bar codes and create an image of the voter’s signature, placing it next to the signature on file on a screen for an election worker to verify. The new system is expected to be four times faster.

Gilmore said it will probably mean more ballots will be counted sooner in the election process. The bulk are typically counted by the Friday after election day, she said. The new system should get those results in sooner and will require less staff to do it.

Washington, speaking to county commissioners Monday, said the system is estimated to save the county $18,000 in odd -numbered years, 25,000 in even-numbered years and $30,000 in presidential election years.

Money for the system comes out of fees the county collects by those paying for the election. Fifteen percent of those fees are set aside for technology and capital improvements, Gilmore said.

Gilmore said the system will be used for the May election if the county can have it installed that quickly.

Bainbridge Islanders Vote

Give it up for people on the rock, because they’re the most civically engaged people as a bunch than any other city in the state. According to this site, 95 percent of islanders who could vote in November did. The next closest was Mercer Island (This proves my theory that people who live on islands are either worried enough about being surrounded by water and/or creosote to vote or have little else to occupy their time.) with 84 percent. The state average was 61 percent.

There is a little bit of Chicago/Cook County going on here, though. If you go to the earlier post on the same topic, you’ll find this:

Edit: Amusingly, Bainbridge Island has more registered voters than citizens over 18, as of earlier this year. Bainbridge Island totaled 17,091 registrations. The Census estimated it had 16,746 residents over 18. Using 2004 data on citizenship, about 16,226 would be eligible to vote. Assuming that some of those excess registrations are moved residents incorrectly marked as active, and that the population has grown slightly, that’s still nearly universal turnout among eligible voters. Pretty impressive — although not new, the city having seen similar numbers in 2004.

You can insert your own jokes about deceased voters. What I wonder is who are the 5 percent who don’t vote on Bainbridge?

Election Numbers Part II

Looking at the earlier post with the list of how the different congressional districts, the predictable thesis that the Sixth district would be more conservative than the First bears mostly true.

On 985, 1000, Sutherland-Goldmark, Gregoire-Rossi and Obama-McCain that proved true.

Two races, I thought, were worth mentioning.

In the Bergeson-Dorn race, partisanship did not matter at all. The districts had the same result.

In the Insurance Commissioner race, I might have guessed partisanship would have played a bigger role than it did. I’ve heard some conservative displeasure with Kreidler. Overall, though, the race did not generate much heat. And when there is a referendum on the incumbent and there’s been little out there to throw him or her out, voters tend to stick with the one they know.

Votes by Congressional District

Thanks to Dave Ammons at the Washington Secretary of State’s office, we have information about the November General Election broken out by Congressional District. I’ll post these now, but save my own comments for later. Look at these numbers and let me know what you think is interesting about these results.

Ballot Item Kitsap County CD 1 Kitsap County CD6
Yes No Yes No
985 (Traffic Congestion) 40.2% (25,177) 59.8% (37,480) 43.5% (25,354) 56.5% (32,933)
1000 (Death with Dignity) 61.1% (38,956) 38.9% (24,771) 55.0 % (32,518) 45.0% (26,636)
1029 (Long-Term Care) 73.0% (45,544) 27.0% (16,901) 74.8% (43,581) 25.2% (14,687)
Comm. Public Lands Sutherland Goldmark Sutherland Goldmark
49.3% (29,673) 50.7% (30,564) 53.8% (30,269) 46.2% (25,988)
Super Public Instr. Bergeson Dorn Bergeson Dorn
46.8% (25,850) 53.2% (29,327) 46.8% (24,635) 53.2% (27,963)
Insurance Comm. Kreidler Adams Kreidler Adams
60.9% (36,044) 39.1% (23,149) 59.0% (32,652) 41.0% (22,729)
Treasurer. Martin McIntire Martin McIntire
% 49.6(29,880) % 50.4(30,418) % 50.7(28,388) % 49.3(27,573)
Auditor Sonntag McEntee Sontagg McEntee
62.6% (37,877) 37.4% (22,648) 61.1% (34,415) 38.9% (21,921)
Attorney General McKenna Ladenburg McKenna Ladenburg
60.0% (36,884) 40.0% (24,523) 60.4% (34,473) 39.6% (22,600)
Sec. of State Reed Osgood Reed Osgood
58.7% (35,628) 41.3% (25,094) 59.1% (33,348) 40.9% (23,059)
Lt. Gov. Owen McCraw Owen McCraw
61.6% (37,656) 38.4% (23,428) 60.7% (34,514) 39.3% (22,300)
Governor Gregoire Rossi Gregoire Rossi
53.1% (33,945) 46.9% (30,010) 48.2% (28,533) 51.8% (30,646)
President/Vice-President Obama/Biden McCain/Palin Obama/Biden McCain/Palin
57.9% (37,486) 40.3% (26,105) 52.2% (31,138) 45.6% (27,192)

Electoral College

On Monday my employer graciously allowed me to go witness and cover the electoral college process at the state capitol. In it I witnessed everything related to it. They didn’t fill the room, which represents most everyone’s concern or lack of concern about the event. The mood depends largely on what happened on Nov. 4 and whether the people in the room are voting for the winner or the loser. Finally, you have a mix of supporters and non-supporters, even among the electors, reflecting the mix of emotions there are broadly about the process.

You can see video done by The Olympian. In that piece is a legislator who wants Washington’s electors to vote in proportion with the national popular vote. The story from the Olympian also shows that at least one elector wants the electoral college eliminated.

Americans generally have mixed feelings about the electoral college. If you see the comments following my story, you see Tom Rosendale supporting a plan that would allocate electors based on how voters in their districts went. That idea is discussed here on a site that supports a national popular vote. The site is against the congressional plan, but includes information I was looking for, namely what would have happened in 2000 and 2004. Bush still would have won, by bigger margins.

It seems that any change is designed to ensure that the electoral college better reflects the popular vote. The change Washington legislators are proposing would have states allocating electors based on the national numbers. If we went to that, though, why wouldn’t we just go to the popular vote anyway, rather than adopting something that only cosmetically leaves the electoral college in place.

Fodder for Political Geeks

If you:

  • Immediately know what LoTR is;
  • Have ever played any games involving dragons; Carry a calculator;
  • Have read all the Harry Potter books;
  • Can give quotes from MST3K and know what MST3K means;
  • Watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it didn’t involve participating in a drinking game;
  • Are afraid of public places and people in general;
  • Collected comic books;
  • Never had a suntan that wasn’t focused on your forearms;
  • Don’t know how to swim;
  • Don’t know the difference between a line drive and a frozen rope;
  • Never played sports that didn’t involve rackets;
  • Joined the school choir;
  • or were a devotee of Dr. Who;

You might be a geek, or a nerd. Apparently there is a test for it. You can go to it here. I scored 10.45365, which means I have geekish tendencies. Your results may vary.

Were they to give out a test of some kind, and someone here might know of one, dealing with political geekiness, I would aspire to do well.

Hence a story this weekend on what reading the numbers in the latest elections mean, particularly to Kitsap County.

Here’s the long and short of it: It’s not getting better for Republicans.

To get to that astonishing conclusion, I looked at the 21 races (And by the way, this little nugget only accounts for part of the story. I figured the geeks that visit this blog would appreciate it.) in which Kitsap voters could choose between a Republican and a Democrat. In 2004 five races were Kitsap only, so we go 5-0 in those. In 2008 there were six Kitsap-only races.

In 2004, Kitsap voters picked Democrats 15 times. In 2008 the number was 16. Not that big a deal, right?

Here’s the difference. In 2004 and 2008 Kitsap voters were on the losing end twice. In 2004, though, those losses were split between the two parties. In 2008 both losses were handed to Republicans. In 2004 the county voted for Republican governor candidate Dino Rossi and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. This year the county picked Republicans for state treasure and public lands commissioner and lost.

Even worse for Republicans, in 2004 the GOP won two of the five Kitsap-only races. In 2006 and 2008 they didn’t win any.

A Thanksgiving Musical from the Caucus

A version of this video has been on our main Web site for a few days, but it needed editing. This was done using Kitsap Sun pictures shot during the last year and selecting music through an online program called Animoto. There was another song I liked better, but it wasn’t available for a slide show like. This was the first time I’ve used it and I had to trim 13 photos out to get some in that were missing, including any of John McCain. As it was, two photos ended up not making it, but they weren’t critical. Hope you like.

Obama and Inslee Have Been Teammates Before

For the record, I don’t think U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, is going to get a cabinet post.


Because too many people have already talked about it. The Seattle P-I’s Joel Connelly speculates on just such a jink and then goes on to jinx anyone with local ties. Writes Connelly:

SECOND ONLY TO the jinx that afflicts athletes and teams gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated is the bad luck that befalls those touted for top Washington, D.C., jobs by Seattle newspapers.

If Inslee truly aspires to such a post, allow me to diminish his chances by pointing out that he and former Senator and now President-elect Barack Obama did lead their chambers on a plan called “Health for Hybrids.” The plan would have had the federal government helping with auto company retirement payments in exchange for the companies investing in hybrid technology. You can read about the effort in this story from Congressional Quarterly.

The unusual proposal linked two of the nation’s biggest policy conundrums – America’s reliance on foreign oil and the surging cost of health care – but never gained enough traction, partly because it suggested Washington knew more about building cars and satisfying consumer demand than the auto industry.

Let me remind the court that after this effort, when the presidential campaigns began, Inslee endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Back in the Great Political Unknown

This photo by AP Photographer Elaine Thompson was taken at a time when the only sure bet in the presidential race was that Republican John McCain had his party’s nomination wrapped up. We, a group of Seattle-area reporters, traveled with the presumptive nominee on a smaller, local version of the Straight Talk Express from Boeing Field to a hotel downtown. It was in February, a day before the Washington caucuses.

The candidate was vigorous, confident and pleasant, except for when he’d had enough of the photography. He told Thompson that there does come a point when there have been enough shots taken. McCain later in the campaign made that same case about other shots taken, especially those at his running mate, but there wasn’t a whisper of that drama here.

That evening he told a group of a few hundred that the challenge ahead was big, but he thought he might even be able to win Washington on his path to the presidency. Now, those of us writing history’s first draft and the academics working on the second can dissect what happened between this rainy night in February and the day that was historic even to the likes of Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

One of my college professors was the first to call it to my attention that we often view the history we inherited as inevitable. It takes a picture, such as this one, to poke holes in those things we take as given. Michael Dukakis, George McGovern and Thomas Dewey all had shots at something they ultimately didn’t get. But at times before the final judgment, they had their own reasons to be optimistic. No verdict had come in.

Updated: SK Races Worth Watching

ORIGINAL POST, 2:45 P.M. THURSDAY: If you backed Republican Tim Matthes for county commissioner, my caution would be to not get too excited. When all the votes are counted, he’s still likely to be on the losing end of this thing. However, he made up some ground Wednesday with some of the late votes, as reported.

After the primaries it became clear that Republican numbers in some key races improved as more late ballots were counted. I did some math yesterday using the one-day results in the race between Matthes and Democrat Charlotte Garrido and determined that if the numbers came in late in the same proportions as Wednesday’s, Matthes still loses.

In the race for the 26th District, to me it points to Republican Jan Angel increasing her lead. Not only are we using the assumption that Republicans do better with later votes, but much of what hasn’t been counted is from Pierce County, which favors Republicans in the 26th District. In fact, new Pierce County numbers came in since I wrote the story I linked, and Angel’s lead increased by eight-tenths of a percentage point. She now has 51.8 percent, while Democrat Kim Abel is at 48.2.

My caution to Matthes supporters is tempered by experience. After the primary I did some calculations on the second-place contest in the 35th District that Kathy Haigh won. My math, based on what was still left to count, had Bremerton City Councilman Brad Gehring overtaking Belfair’s Marco Brown. The math was fine, but the assumptions were wrong. Later numbers favored Brown and put it out of reach of an automatic recount. Chances are in both races that Tuesday’s results will hold up. But it doesn’t hurt to keep watching the new numbers.

UPDATED, 5:50 P.M. THURSDAY: OK, this latest batch of numbers today were more favorable to Matthes than the ones yesterday. Here’s the text of the story we’ll have in Friday’s paper:

The lead for Kitsap County commissioner candidate Charlotte Garrido got smaller for the second straight day Thursday, with more ballots being counted.

Garrido, the Democrat vying for the seat representing the county’s southern district, had about a 4-percentage-point lead on election night. With the latest numbers she leads Republican Tim Matthes by about 2 percent. The latest numbers show Garrido with 47,251 votes, about 50.9 percent. Matthes has 45,368, about 48.9 percent.

Ballots turned in later in the voting cycle have favored Matthes. After Wednesday’s count it appeared Matthes would shrink the lead, but fall way short of the half-percentage point difference needed to spark an automatic recount.

If the ballots still to be counted come in at the same rate Thursday’s did, Matthes would miss a recount, but not by a lot.

The latest numbers from the 26th Legislative District race between Republican Jan Angel and Kim Abel show Angel has expanded her lead by about a percentage point after the latest numbers from Kitsap County. Angel has about 51.9 percent of the votes, while Abel has about 48.1 percent. Pierce County’s latest numbers were posted Wednesday.

UPDATED, 4:40 P.M. FRIDAY: The newest numbers were again higher for Matthes than Garrido, but it appears still that Matthes will fall short, now by about 1,000 votes out of about 115,000. That would also mean he won’t qualify for an automatic recount.