In case you needed just one more television look at the candidates for the 26th Legislative District, here is KBTC’s Northwest Now take. If you’re tired of all this television, you can probably rest assured that none of our districts will get this much attention next year.
TVW’s “Impact” did a half-hour show on the 26th Legislative District Senate race. State Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor and state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, both stick to issues and their own strengths. In other words, neither talks about the money or slams the other candidate.
We’re less than a week away from seeing election results, but the ads keep on coming. Assuming there might be someone still undecided out there it seemed worthwhile to look at some of the claims and see how much truth we can find. Some of the claims are in new ads. Some are classics.
First, a couple pieces of advice.
- 1. Question any ad that makes a conclusion based on one piece of legislation.
- 2. Question any ad that makes a claim based on one part of a single piece of legislation.
- 3. Question any ad by a politician or group characterizing the opposition’s views.
- 4. Know that many of the details in campaign ads are true, but they don’t necessarily tell a true story.
- 5. Assume every single campaign advertisement could be lying to you.
CLAIM: “SHAMEFUL: Schlicher Takes Advantage of Senator’s
Choice to Breastfeed”
THE STORY: There is a true story here that doesn’t make Democrats look good even under the most flattering lights. Party leaders deny the worst accusations about the incident, and how much Schlicher was to blame for it is a bigger question. This ad comes from the state Republican Party. The Good Government Coalition also funded a similar ad. I refer you to Washington State Wire and Crosscut stories that discuss the incident. The short version is that a Republican senator who regularly took breaks to nurse her baby was excused from the floor. On one occasion Democrats took advantage of her absence to push a Schlicher-sponsored bill dealing with administrative costs for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to a vote. The bill had the support of 11 of 12 senators in committee. The ad says Schlicher “helped lead an effort by his party for a power play.” It was his bill, sure. He certainly would have benefited politically had it passed. And the Democrats issued a press release after the incident in which Schlicher was quoted. But another Democrat, Seattle’s David Frockt, was the one blamed for pushing the vote. He and other Democrats said they didn’t know the absent senator was off breastfeeding. If you’re skeptical of that, I can’t blame you.
CLAIM: Jan Angel chose tax loopholes for deceased
multi-millionaires over education for our kids.
THE STORY: Angel is a “no new taxes” enthusiast, which gives an organization like She’s Changed PAC, the advertiser here, ample fodder to make statements like Angel likes (insert bad thing here) more than (insert good thing here). Angel’s side employs the same technique. Angel is unlikely to vote for any new tax on the belief that the state can fund its priorities with existing revenues. In this case Angel was opposed to the Legislature’s decision to change state law in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that would have forced the state to refund $160 million in estate taxes to people who can legitimately be called multi-millionaires. The money the state held onto did go to education, so there’s the link between rich people and our kids. The problem is that Angel might be right that the state could eventually have to pay back this money. The Legislature essentially clarified the intent of an older law and applied that clarification retroactively.
CLAIM: Representative Jan Angel chose tax loopholes for
Big Oil companies over our kids’ schools.
THE STORY: This is essentially a new version of the anti-Angel claim above. She’s hawkish on taxes, and considers closing loopholes a new tax. The argument on a She’s Changed PAC flyer makes a lucid and issue-driven argument against Angel’s position on tax loopholes for oil, except for where it definitively links that position with schools. Again, Angel says “Fund education first,” then fund everything else, so she could be for that money, but not when it comes from that tax. Most either/or arguments like this are “either” misleading “or” false. Fund education first, she says, satisfies the state constitution. Schlicher counters that there are other funding mandates required under the constitution, too, so Angel’s suggestion for a funding formula puts other constitutionally mandated programs at risk.
CLAIM: Schlicher opposes the voter-approved 2/3rds
majority to raise taxes.
THE STORY: People for Jobs, Enterprise Washington uses an email Schlicher sent to a constituent. At least most of the ads get it right that Schlicher thinks the Supreme Court was right to overturn the voter initiative, but they leave out the rest of his position. Here’s the quote from a letter he wrote to Kelly Haughton: “While I do agree with the court decision that the initiative was unconstitutional, the message was clear: taxes should not be the default solution of the government in times of fiscal crisis. I support the will of the people to consider a constitutional amendment on the issue and will vote for a reasonable version of an amendment.” Where Republicans can take bigger issue is that he doesn’t think corporate tax loopholes that don’t provide a benefit to the state (And that is the reason to establish a loophole.) should be subject to the 2/3 standard.
CLAIM: “Nathan Schlicher voted against a bill for early
intervention to help all students read by the 4th grade, instead
favoring the special interests of a campaign contributor.”
THE STORY: This references Senate Bill 5946, which in part addressed reading skills for third graders. The original version of the bill had no funding provided to local districts, yet directed districts what they were to do. In other places that’s called an “unfunded mandate.” One of the solutions suggested for kids in third grade was discussing whether the student should stay in third grade. Schlicher argued that keeping kids in third grade would be the default solution, because the bill provided no money for anything else. The bill passed by four votes in the Senate, went to the House and came back to the Senate. The final bill had funding. Schlicher voted for that version, which passed the Senate in a 46-2 vote.
CLAIM: “When insurance companies wanted to eliminate
basic care like mammograms and maternity care, Jan Angel sponsored
House Bill 1804 that would cut our benefits.”
THE STORY: We’ve addressed this one before, but it keeps coming up in part because Angel has expressed so much outrage over the claim, citing her own personal history of having one third of her breast removed. The Seattle Times ruled that a TV commercial saying Angel “led efforts to eliminate coverage for mammograms,” was “Mostly false.” The Times was right on that ad. But wait, there is more. Angel co-sponsored a bill that would have removed all state mandates on insurance coverage, conditions and services government requires insurance companies to cover. The bill would have exchanged state rules for the mandates under the Affordable Care Act. Had the bill passed, mammogram coverage would have still been required, but only for women 40 and above and not for immigrants. Some women would have lost coverage under the bill. Men get breast cancer, too. The state requires coverage for their mammograms and the ACA does not. Additionally, Angel has stated she is against the Affordable Care Act, even though her voting record is mixed on funding state implementation of the federal law, according to the (Tacoma) News Tribune. So, Angel is against the Affordable Care Act, yet she voted to remove state mandates in favor of ACA rules. This becomes a question of whether Angel supports any government mandates about health insurance. In a campaign questionnaire she wrote that she favored a free market, “menu driven/choice plan.” So if she had her way and insurers got to offer the plans they wanted, would they all stop covering mammograms? In theory they could, but insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business if they didn’t cover anything. Is Angel absolute about her thoughts on insurance companies? I’ve asked and I can’t get an answer. I tried to ask her after the Oct. 3 forum in Gig Harbor if the state mandate bill had passed and Obamacare went away, would she want government somewhere to require insurance companies to cover mammograms? She said she couldn’t answer a hypothetical question. I’ve forwarded a similar question, “Should any government tell insurance companies what they have to cover?” and have received no answer. So, yes, details in this claim are wrong, but until Angel definitively says she is for or against mandates I have a hard time raising the finish flag on the issue.
Cheer up. There’s only one more week of this. It will be months before it all starts again. In these final few days if you’ve seen any other claims you question, let us know and we’ll see if we can dig into it.
Friday morning Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher sat down with Mark Wright at KING-5 for a segment that will air Sunday morning.
Wright also invited Tacoma News Tribune political reporter Jordan Schrader and me to weigh in once the candidates left.
Both spots will air sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sunday. Each segment was around five minutes.
Schrader and I were in what I think you would call a “control room” while the candidates talked. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, so you’ll have to watch it to see it. What won’t be on air, though, is the candidates apparently kept on debating well after the cameras stopped rolling. Everything I’ve heard secondhand and could see on the monitors suggested it got a little testy. Nothing too outrageous, but oh, how I wished I could hear what they were saying.
In the control room one of the directors wearing headphones said afterward that they were still talking, like it was a surprise. Another one said they were laughing, but the first director then said that it was “awkward.” They both were out of there before Schrader and I taped.
Enjoy it, if five and five minutes of political talk is your thing.
State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, conducted a press conference Thursday in which she called on She’s Changed PAC, the committee advertising against her, to return $455,000 to Thomas Steyer, the California billionaire who is spending heavily throughout the country.
Here is the audio:
Angel and the state Republican Party argue a $3 million donation Steyer made to his own PAC was illegal. She called on Democratic state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, to call on She’s Changed PAC to return the money. She also wanted Steyer prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office and the Public Disclosure Commission.
The PDC has since spoken with representatives from Steyer’s PAC and were assured, even before the donation, that the group would be spending no more money in Washington.
Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said the PDC is fine with that.
The Secretary of State’s office has issued an FAQ on the tax advisory votes on your ballot. Voters have a chance to weigh in on $200 million in new revenues the Legislature approved this year. The advisory vote provision was part of Initiative 960.
The ballots ask voters if the Legislature should maintain the new revenue or repeal it. Here is one of the questions answered in the secretary’s FAQ:
Q. So if a majority of the public vote goes for the “repeal” option, the tax will go away?
A. No, the vote is nonbinding. That means the Legislature can take note of the public vote — or not. There is not an automatic repeal, as could happen with a regular referendum or initiative process.
The full version of the FAQ can be found at the Secretary of State’s blog “From Our Corner.”
The state Republican Party is asking the Public Disclosure Commission to file an injunction against the NextGen Climate Action Committee sponsored by Thomas Steyer to prevent the committee from spending $3 million Steyer donated on Friday.
Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said within the final three weeks of an election the most a political committee can receive from a single source is $5,000, unless the committee is addressing a ballot initiative.
The committee will have the opportunity to address the complaint. “We will send the complaint to the committee that’s alleged to have received the contribution and they have to defend what they’ve done,” Anderson said.
State GOP Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said in a statement, “Senator Nathan Schlicher needs to answer this question: will you repudiate this illegal spending by an outside donor or do you want the people of Pierce and Kitsap County to be represented by someone bought and paid for with illegal out of state money?”
“I would hope that everyone follows the PDC’s rules and that they don’t spend money on our campaign or any campaign in the state. I agree that everyone should follow PDC laws.” Schlicher said. “No one should participate in illegal spending.”
Schlicher said the WSRP’s release trying to link him to the donation is in line with other attacks, such as a mailer that went out suggesting that Schlicher is no longer a doctor and was practicing law again. “This is just another unfortunate attempt to exaggerate and mislead the public and I hope people see through this,” he said.
NextGen now reports $9.3 million in donations. The GOP is probably correct that $455,000 of it has gone to the Schlicher-Angel contest, (I found $400,000 and the party connected other dots and was probably correct.) far more NextGen money has gone to campaigns in other states. I don’t know that this is unprecedented, but it’s not something I’ve seen a lot, if at all. I’ve contacted NextGen’s rep in Sacramento for a response to the complaint and an explanation of the committee’s reported spending elsewhere. If I receive a return call I’ll report it here.
UPDATE: Angel just announced she’s having a press conference Thursday morning on this subject.
UPDATE II: NextGen responded:
NextGen Climate Action released the following statement today:
“Jan Angel is trying to distract from her positions that are harmful to the health of kids and families in Washington. Our lawyers spoke with the Public Disclosure Commission prior to making the contribution and they agreed that the 21 day rule does not apply to FEC registered committees. We are in full compliance with all Washington election laws.”
Lewis also confirmed that none of the money donated on the 18th will be spent in Washington. “We’re not concerned about the legal issues at all,” he said.
More as it develops.
State Rep. Jan Angel, the Port Orchard Republican running for a state Senate seat against appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, a Gig Harbor Democrat, issued a press release Tuesday explaining that she will do interviews with the media. She listed four television appearances she will be making in the coming days.
This follows our story Sunday, As 26th campaign winds down, Angel silent to media requests, and declined invitations to KUOW and the Associated Press. I knew Angel had declined AP’s request, but didn’t put it in the Sunday story in case she changed her mind before the AP story ran Monday.
We wrote the Angel/media story, not out of any personal indignation. People refuse to talk to us all the time. It doesn’t happen often in a political campaign, so we thought it an interesting strategy for a campaign to be silent to the media. We talked to a couple of political experts who weighed in, one who provided several reasons why that would be the preferred option.
Angel’s press release from
Wednesday Tuesday states, “Rep.
Jan Angel’s position on accommodating media interviews remains
As mentioned before, last week Angel turned down requests from the Associated Press, KUOW and us. The press release doesn’t mention those interviews, but references a move made by KOMO-TV’s Keith Eldridge on Monday. Eldridge apparently showed up at campaign headquarters and her house asking to talk to her. Part of that story included this exchange:
Keith Eldridge: “There was a complaint that she’s dodging the
Keith Schipper (Angel’s campaign spokesman): “I’ve heard that complaint. It’s not true at all.”
To be clear, I did not show up at her doorstep, figuratively or literally, when I tried to get her to talk to me for a story for Sunday. I called her cell phone on Wednesday, hoping to speak to her for 15 minutes on Thursday. When I didn’t hear anything I e-mailed Schipper on Thursday at 10:34 a.m.:
“Keith, I left a message on Rep. Angel’s cell phone and have not heard back yet. I’d like to meet with her today for about 15 minutes for a Q&A story. I could do this over the phone if necessary, but in person would be cleaner audio and I would like to record it.
“The plan is to have a Q&A story on Sunday and include the audio on the Kitsap Caucus blog. I’m meeting with Schlicher at 3 p.m. today in Gig Harbor. What time other than that one would work for Jan? I can be reached at 360-792-3343, or 360-620-9630. If we do this by phone I will give you another number, a Google Voice number that I use to record calls. Thanks.”
He replied four minutes later:
“Steven, Jan isn’t doing any press interviews at this time. With ballots dropping over the next few days, she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign.. I apologize for any inconvenience this may present,”
I read that to mean she would not be doing media interviews for the rest of the campaign. “At this time,” did not suggest that. ” … she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign,” did.
At 10:41 I responded:
“We are going to do the interview with Schlicher and write a story and in that story we will indicate that Jan Angel was not doing press interviews.”
At 1:16 p.m. Schipper responded:
“I understand where you’re coming from, but Jan sat down and was filmed by your editorial board for an hour, you’ve interviewed her in the past, and you’ve attended their forums, so it’s not as if she hasn’t been available and you should be able to get plenty of great answers from those. Also, I am always available so please use me as a resource if you have any other questions on this race as well. This campaign is going to be won in the field, and that is where we’ve set our attention to right now. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience.”
That afternoon I recorded the interview with Schlicher. The next afternoon I e-mailed questions to Schipper and he responded within a few hours, so we had the Q&A story for Sunday to go along with the media story.
Sometime around 2 p.m. Tuesday Jordan Schrader at the Tacoma News Tribune posted an update to an earlier story about the media silence, that Angel had called him and said she never intended to shutdown the media entirely.
At 3:55 p.m. the campaign emailed the press release saying her position on media interviews was “unchanged.”
The press release states that Angel needed time with constituents to clear up issues with ads from Schlicher and the committees campaigning against Angel saying that her backing a bill removing state mandates would have cut off funding for mammograms. I’ve made a request to get clarity from the campaign on that particular issue.
In a Facebook post on Oct. 18, state Rep. Jan Angel, running to unseat appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher in as the 26th Legislative District’s senator, wrote:
“Don’t allow this man to buy this election—mark the box by Jan Angel–I have lived and worked right here for over 30 yrs and no California dude can buy this seat unless you allow it!! Time to fight back 26th District!!”
The “dude” in question is Thomas Steyer, a California hedge fund manager who has since become a bigtime contributor to environmental causes. Angel links to this story from the Washington State Wire, which does a pretty good job of explaining who Steyer is and where the $6.3 million he put into committee named “NextGen CLimate Action Committee Sponsored by Thomas Steyer” can and cannot go. More recent Public Disclosure Commission reporting shows that of the $6.3 million Steyer put into the committee, all but about a half million has been spent, the bulk of it on out-of-state causes. What’s more is that NextGen cannot put a donation greater than $5,000 into the legislative races anymore.
Why so much money is reported in Washington is unclear. I tried to contact Steyer and got no response. Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said it’s possible Steyer is just operating his overall political spending operation here for convenience sake, because he has to report here anyway.
Steyer has put in $525,000 into two Washington committees. She’s Changed PAC, the organization doing all the advertising against Angel, has received $250,000. Washington Conservation Voters has received the rest. That committee then donated $150,000 to She’s Changed PAC, meaning Steyer has spent $400,000 to defeat Jan Angel.
Before getting to Steyer’s presence in Washington, it’s worth pointing out that most of the attention he gets recently has been for his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline. He has done plenty of work elsewhere to suggest his environmentalist leanings are legitimate, but one element of his opposition against Keystone provides easy fodder for his critics. He made the bulk of his money with Farallon Capital, which owns a boatload of stock in Kinder Morgan, which owns the Canada-U.S. West Coast pipeline that would be a major competitor to Keystone. If Keystone is blocked, Steyer’s critics argue, Steyer stands to benefit financially in a huge way. He has since said he will divest his portfolio of “dirty energy” holdings within a year.
A New Yorker story on Steyer and his opposition to Keystone is a great read, and shows that some of Steyer’s allies on other environmental issues are not solid with him on Keystone.
That story also illustrates some of what might be moving Steyer to invest in Washington.
Steyer wanted to test (former Al Gore and Bill Clinton operative Chris) Lehane’s theory that traditional campaign politics—the world of Super PACs and field organizations and TV ads—was the best way to spend his money. “Once politicians start to become aware that this issue can either help them or hurt them, you begin to change the conduct and behavior of those who are in elected office,” Lehane insisted. “Politicians very rarely lead, despite the fact that they talk about leadership in every speech. They typically follow.”
Where that first showed itself was in the Massachussetts Senate race to replace John Kerry, who had been named Secretary of State. Edward Markey opposed Keystone and Steve Lynch supported it. Both were Demcorats and faced each other in the primary.
Steyer’s group spent $1.8 million attacking Lynch and backing Markey. Lehane said they used the same “formula” that had been successful in California: an “enemy” oil company pursuing its own self-interest was hurting the state. Markey won, and went on to victory in the general election. Steyer began looking for his next opportunity.
Schlicher and Angel don’t appear in the New Yorker story, but Steyer’s financial presence just very will might owe itself to the success Steyer saw in Massachusetts and in his philosophical compatibility with Inslee.
In May the online site ClimateSolutions.org reported on speeches Inslee and Steyer gave at the Climate Solutions annual breakfast in Seattle. Both said the West needs to lead the way in battling climate change.
“What are we on the West Coast going to do about the bigger picture of climate change?” Steyer asked during his keynote address. “I think the solution is pretty straightforward: the West Coast needs to lead. And we will do so by exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process. It’s a big task.”
Remarks from Steyer paralleled earlier comments from Governor Jay Inslee. “The West Coast of the United States does not have to wait for the District of Columbia to move forward on strong climate policy,” the Governor stated. “I believe we are a laboratory of innovation and I believe we have the power to set a deadline for reducing our CO2 admissions, and to lead the world as we have done in so many ways.”
That Facebook post wasn’t the first time Angel referred to Steyer as a “dude.” Two days earlier she wrote:
“Rumor has it this billionaire dude putting all this money against me has had meetings with the Governor and perhaps swapping deals/favors –this is all starting to smell real bad!!!!”
I don’t know what deals/favors Angel has heard Inslee and Steyer might be swapping. I contacted Jay Inslee’s spokesman, David Postman, to see if the governor would like to respond to Angel’s comment. Postman wrote back, “Thanks for reaching out, but I’m not going to have a comment.”
Were the 26th Legislative District not the only district with a two-party race this year, it’s unlikely all of Steyer’s money would be in it. As it is, it’s the only real party challenge in the Legislature this year, and it’s between one legislator who has a lifetime score of 11 (out of 100) from Washington Conservation Voters against another who during the first half of the 2013-14 session scored a 100, according to WCV officials. Steyer advocated “exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process,” so in that context it should no longer be a surprise that Steyer is making good on his claim that the West should lead the way on climate change and that he is backing up that claim with his money.
Candidates in the 26th Legislative District state Senate race have both made comments publicly about state Rep. Jan Angel’s ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
You might not be surprised to know that both Angel, the Republican, and state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, the Democrat, have said things that are factually wrong at worst or unprovable at best.
In the Eggs & Issues debate on Sept. 3 Schlicher said a bill Angel sponsored that would have required drug testing for welfare recipients was a bill originally written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, often referred to in shorthand as ALEC.
ALEC is unquestionably conservative in its orientation, as is Angel. The organization can call itself “non partisan” without smirking, because it does have Democrats who take part. But most of the legislation it favors leans rightward. Angel leans to the right, so it shouldn’t be a shock that she serves as ALEC’s co-chair in this Washington.
The organization does write model bills. So do the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments. So do lobbyists, political party staff members and lawyers representing organizations that want to see legislation. Legislators and their staffs write bills, too. I have no way of knowing what percentage of legislation is written by actual elected officials, but if you were thinking it was the vast majority, you are probably way off.
What scares those on the left about ALEC is that it is funded mostly by the likes of executives from Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil and much of its model legislation serves those companies’ interests.
ALEC has been fighting against the Affordable Care Act and counts as members of its Private Enterprise Council executives from GlaxoSmithKline and PhRMA, companies that contributed to Angel’s state Senate campaign. Also backing Angel’s campaign and serving on the council is Altria Client Services, the parent company to Philip Morris and two other tobacco companies.
Sclicher contended initially that the drug testing for welfare recipients bill was an ALEC model. I’ve scoured the web and can’t find proof. There are articles that make the same claim, but they don’t substantiate it. And I’ve found news pieces in which legislators deny the link. The organization has written several bills dealing with welfare and others for drug tests, but I can’t find the organization’s fingerprints on either of Angel’s drug testing for welfare recipients bills. As you will read later, though, this doesn’t mean her bills were not someone’s model bill.
Angel, in her letter to the editor defending her affiliation with ALEC, made what to many would seem to be a solid point about model bills. “If a bill gets through committees, passes the House and the Senate and is signed by the governor, perhaps it is a good bill!” she wrote.
“Good” might not be the right word for many people, but if a bill ends up getting signed by the governor then you can at least say it reflects the values of the people elected to represent its citizens, no matter who wrote it. “Good” depends on your position in relation to those values.
Angel wrote in her defense, “Mr. Bullock accuses me of sponsoring model bills, which is absolutely not true. My bill on drug testing for welfare benefits was written by me and my staff, and I can prove that.”
There’s ample evidence that if Angel and her staff wrote either of the two drug test for welfare recipients laws, they probably at least borrowed language from bills in other states.
In 2012 Angel sponsored a bill, HB 2424, that would require drug tests for all welfare applicants. The applicants would have had to pay for their drug tests. By that year at least 27 other states had proposed similar legislation. I did not search legislation from all 27 states, but it didn’t take much searching to find four — Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama — that used virtually identical language throughout their bills as Angel did in hers.
In 2013 Angel proposed a new bill, HB 1190, one that would require suspicion of drug usage before a test would be required. The language in that bill contained similar language to legislation in Utah that had passed prior to Angel’s legislation introduction.
Another part of Angel’s letter refuting the ALEC allegations stated that to her knowledge only two ALEC bills were proposed in the most recent legislative session, one of them being SB 5802, a bill requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. I contacted the governor’s office to see if that was true. I received the following response from David Postman, Inslee’s spokesman.
“That bill actually had nothing to do with ALEC. I asked the governor’s energy advisory — who did a lot of work on the bill — and he said he had never seen the ALEC bill. When he went to look at it at my request, he said that the ALEC bill is a very different approach to the issue. Among other things, the ALEC bill would study ‘benefits’ of climate change and calls for creation of an interstate research commission. They are both studies and both about climate change. But our bill was drafted with input from a variety of people and the staff’s experience in previous five-corner efforts here. We ended up with what we thought was a good bill. We were glad it got bipartisan support, though many of Rep. Angel’s Republican colleagues opposed it in the House.”
Angel voted for Inslee’s bill.
UPDATE: This post has generated responses that merit inclusion here.
First, Todd Myers with the Washington Policy Center responded to the statement from the governor’s office. The short version is that some of the governor’s bill did probably originate with an ALEC bill. Here is Myers’ response:
The statement from the Governor’s office is both incorrect and misleading, requiring people to believe in an extremely unlikely coincidence.
First, his description of the ALEC bill is incorrect. It does not look at “benefits” of climate change, nor does it set up an interstate commission. The “Environmental Priorities Act” examines the costs and benefits of environmental policy, prioritizing those which provide the greatest benefit for each dollar.
Similarly, at the center of the Governor’s climate bill, his signature legislation this year, is a study of environmental approaches that examines the “effectiveness” of climate policies measuring “the cost per ton of emission reduction.” This mirrors exactly ALEC’s bill, which the Washington Policy Center suggested to the Governor.
In a piece I wrote to the Governor in January, we recommended that his bill mirror ALEC’s Environmental Priorities Act, which we noted “is a way to make sure we aren’t spending huge sums of money on trendy, but ineffective, environmental policies that starve needed funding for projects with significant potential to help the environment.” Like the Governor, we emphasized the need for effectiveness and ensuring we measure based on how much it costs to reduce one ton of carbon. It was confirmed to us that the
Governor’s office read the piece. When the Governor released his bill later that month, this idea was specifically included. The inclusion of that language is why WPC testified in favor of the bill.
It is unlikely the inclusion of the language we suggested is a coincidence. Although the Governor wrote a book on climate policy, nowhere in the more than 200 pages of his book did he mention this particular approach. His bill was the first time this concept appeared. It is possible the Governor’s office did not know the language came from ALEC legislation, but that does not change the fact that the approach is the same.
Perhaps, however, it is merely a happy coincidence that the exact same metric and approach suggested by ALEC was used by the Governor in his bill. This would mean that Gov. Inslee and ALEC independently came up with the same idea. You would think that such a thing would be celebrated as a bi-partisan agreement on climate policy. Instead, the Governor won’t take “yes” for an answer and choose partisanship over agreement.
If climate policy is as serious as the Governor says, we should not let political games get in the way of good policy and good ideas should be praised, no matter what the source.
Environmental Director | Washington Policy Center
It seems the governor’s office is not referring to the ALEC model legislation that Angel would have been referencing. The model bill the governor’s office referred to is the one listed on the ALEC website as model climate change legislation. That bill does call for a study that calls for an “Interstate Commission on Climate Change,” charged with studying the effects of climate change, stipulating that “These influences may be beneficial or deleterious, and the Commission will specifically address both hypothetical eventualities in an evenhanded manner.”
The ALEC bill Myers is referring to is the Environmental Priorities Act.
Second, Angel said at the Eggs & Issues she has never sponsored an ALEC model bill. I haven’t found evidence otherwise. But Collin Jergens from Fuse Washington, the organization behind some of the ads against Angel, pointed to one bill that she co-sponsored, a bill that was an ALEC model. Co-sponsoring means your name is not the first on a list of sponsors, that the bill probably didn’t get to the Legislature through your office. I say “probably,” because legislators do sometimes hand off legislation from their office to other legislators.
Jergens provided a list of Washington bills that he described as “ALEC bills that have been introduced.” The one bill Jan Angel was the prime sponsor of was HB 2268. That bill would have required public school students to take a course in financial literacy in order to graduate. There were at least three Democrats who co-sponsored the bill from 2012 and it got a hearing in the House Committee on Education. While the intent of the bill seems to match the ALEC model, the language of the bill is not the same.
Kitsap County will receive part of a $743,580 award the federal government is giving to 16 Washington counties to assist with an electronic ballot system used by military members and overseas voters.
The county led the consortium of counties in applying for the funding, which will help pay for the system that allows voters outside the state to get ballots by email.
The Department of Defense issued the grant, along with grants to a King County five-county consortium, counties in Texas and Florida and to four states. The DOD money is specifically aimed at efforts to ease voting for members of the military and Americans overseas.
Kitsap’s share will be $30,000 for the five-year program, plus $10,000 to administer the grant for the 16-county group, according to Shawn Devine, elections division spokesman.
The county’s press release follows:
Since 2006 Democrats have done better locally at getting out the vote than Republicans. So far this year that seems on the surface to be changing.
I don’t have solid data to back up my sense that Democrats have been better at it at least since 2006, but election data bears it out. Oh-six and oh-eight were Democratic years, so those are easy. In 2010, despite huge Republican gains nationally, Democrats held their own around here. In 2012 Kirby Wilbur, former Washington State Republican Party chairman, admitted his party did poorly in the entire state, blaming that in some part in the national party’s abandonment of the entire state.
Following Tuesday’s results Chris Tibbs, Kitsap GOP chairman, texted me, “The kcrp has mobilized in a way we haven’t since 1994.” Looking just at the race in the 26th Legislative District, it’s hard to argue against it. Republican Jan Angel, a member of the state House now going after the seat Democrat Nathan Schlicher was appointed to in January, won the night. But in Kitsap County her margin was huge, 56.9 percent to 42.8.
There are a lot of reasons to put off betting that Angel will win by the same margin in November, or that she will win at all, but Luanne Van Werven, interim state GOP party chairwoman, was counting it as a done deal. She released the following statement:
“With Rep. Jan Angel winning tonight’s primary by a decisive 9.5%, the message from voters in Kitsap and Pierce Counties is loud and clear: by supporting Governor Inslee’s liberal agenda, Nathan Schlicher has failed to represent his constituents. The Governor’s tax increase proposals, his decision to throw our kids in Washington’s education system under the bus, and his obstructionist D.C.-style of leadership in Olympia were soundly rejected as voters overwhelmingly casted their ballot for Rep. Jan Angel. Nathan Schlicher has sided with Seattle liberals over his own constituents 96% of the time during his brief tenure in Olympia, and it cost him big at the polls.
“Historically speaking, with a primary result such as Schlicher’s tonight, it is safe to say that Rep. Angel will cruise on to an easy victory in November. I look forward to finishing the job and electing her as the 26th member of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, and as the next state Senator of the 26th Legislative District.”
It is true that candidates who win primaries generally go on to win the general, so Angel has a certain advantage. Schlicher did better in Pierce County than in Kitsap, but he still lost. If nothing else, it puts Angel in the frontrunner position. This primary is technically meaningless, but there is no better polling available.
If Democrats are looking for help in November, the ballot itself offers little. There are two statewide initiatives, but one is dealing with how initiatives are treated and the other relates to genetically engineered foods. Neither would get out the vote like same-sex marriage rights. So Democrats get little help there.
Democrats can legitimately say, however, that they can pick up momentum. Angel has already spent way more than twice the money Schlicher has, in part because she has almost twice as much money as he does. Additionally, Republicans clearly made a primary win a priority here. I don’t see the same fire yet from Democrats. Jordan Schrader, reporter for the (Tacoma) News Tribune, wrote on July 31 that Democrats had not spent near the money on television, quoting Schlicher saying he didn’t think voters paid much attention to political television ads this time of year.
In the end the primary win should be seen as very good news for Republicans. But you have to wonder if someone who has been sleeping is going to wake up by November, and whether this might have been the alarm clock.
UPDATE: I wanted to test Van Werven’s assertion that Angel would “cruise” to victory in November. I’ll get to that. First, though, more comments from the candidates themselves.
Schlicher told the News Tribune he was happy with the results:
Schlicher’s glass-half-full argument is that he is cutting into the support of Angel, who won by 18 percentage points in November against a different rival in a much lower-spending House race.
“We’ve closed half the distance in a month. We’ve got three months until the general,” Schlicher, an emergency-room doctor, said in an interview. “This is so doable.”
Angel also spoke with the News Tribune, (This was their lead story. Ours was the Bremerton City Council race.) which you can read there. She also issued a written statement today expressing her optimism about the numbers.
“We have worked hard to get our message out about rebuilding our economy, strengthening schools, limiting taxes and meaningful government reforms. We aren’t done yet, there is still a November General election and tomorrow we go back to work.”
Now for some historical perspective. I went back and looked at the legislative races with just two candidates in the primary in 2008, 2010 and 2012. (In 2009 there was a single legislative race, but it had three candidates.)
In those three elections there were 31 two-person races in which the leader at the primary had less than 55 percent of the votes. Of those, two were overturned in the general election.
In 2008 Democrat Liz Loomis took 50.7 percent of the vote in the 44th Legislative Distict primary to Mike Hope’s 49.3 percent. In the general election Hope, a Republican received 50.1 percent to Loomis’ 49.9.
In 2010 Republican Brian Peck won the primary 53-47 in the 17th District, House Position 1 race. In the general election he was beaten 53.2 percent to 46.8 by Democrat Tim Probst.
Probst nearly did it again in 2012. State Sen. Don Benton, a Republican, won the primary with 52.1 percent compared to Probst’s 47.0 percent in the race for Benton’s 17th District state Senate seat. On general election night Benton was behind after the first votes were counted, but ended up winning by 78 votes.
In the same year, 2012, the race for the 47th District Position 1 seat in the House had Mark Hargrove with a 53.9 percent tally over Bud Sizemore’s 46.1. Hargrove, a Republican, ended up winning the general election by 157 votes, taking 50.2 percent of the final vote.
There was one other primary-to-general election overthrow in 2012. Mike Armstrong won the primary with 58.7 percent to Bud Hawkins’ 41.3 percent in the 12th Legislative District House Position 2 race. In the general election Hawkins managed to pull out the win. But Armstrong and Hawkins are both Republicans.
Under Initiative 960, legislation that raises any taxes is sent to voters for an advisory vote. Advisory votes carry no obligation on them, so the votes won’t overturn those tax increases.
The State Attorney General identified five legislative bills that triggered the advisory votes to be put on this year’s ballot in November. The AG’s press release follows:
With the first filings posted Friday several more races became contested.
Bainbridge Island’s Council District 5 is now a three-way race and will be listed in the primary, unless someone withdraws by Monday. Wayne Roth is the latest to file in the Central Ward race, joining John Green and Arlene Buetow.
School district races became contested in droves. In Bremerton Wendy Stevens joined the Position 4 race and will run against Alyson Rotter. On Bainbridge Island incumbent Mike Spence will run against challenger Dale Perry in District 2. In North Kitsap Beth Worthington filed to run against incumbent Ken Ames. And in Central Kitsap Carrie Riplinger is running against Eric Greene.
Online filing ends at 4 p.m. In-person filing ends at 5 p.m.
Based on rumors I’m hearing, we could be in for at least one big surprise by the end of the day. If not, that’s why they call them “rumors.”
Noon update: Kim Punt signed on to run for Port Orchard City Council against Bek Ashby for Position 2. The rest of the new ones are in port or water districts. More to come!
2 p.m.: Dee McComb’s addition to the District 3 South Ward race on Bainbridge Island creates another three-way council race. In Bremerton Leslie Daugs filed to run in District 2. So far she’s unopposed. In District 5 Diedre McKeel filed to run against Dino Davis. Both would be newcomers.
The North Kitsap School District has a three-candidate race. Incumbent Ken Ames and challenger Beth Worthington will be joined by Doug Prichard in the primary race.
3:25 p.m.: South Kitsap took control of the news this last hour. Eric Gonnason signed up to run against incumbent Jerry Childs for the Port Orchard City Council at-large seat. Chris Lemke of the South Kitsap School District’s board will get a challenge from Jeff Lakin. On Bainbridge Island Dick Haugan will run against Val Tollefson for a council seat
The most notably unopposed candidates so far remain the two mayors up for re-election. It all ends at 4 p.m. for online filers. In-person filers get until 5 p.m.
4:35 p.m.: A third candidate in Bremerton’s District 5 council race filed at 4:04 p.m. Keith Ranburger will join Deidre McKeel and Dino Davis in the primary.
We are not quite done. Online filers are, but people can still race to the elections office in Port Orchard and file in person. Unless something happens in the next 20 minutes, the mayors of Bremerton and Poulsbo will remain unopposed.
4:50 p.m.: Something did happen. The long-rumored candidacy of Todd Best turned out to be true. He is running for Bremerton mayor against incumbent Patty Lent.
In Port Orchard Jerry Childs got another opponent, Jeff Braden, who joins Eric Gonnason.
Jan Angel is in. She will run against Democrat Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, for the Senate seat he has held since was appointed in January. The race of the year is set. It’s Republican vs. Democrat, perhaps the only one in the state. And of course that presumes no one else signs up to run and manages to spoil the prediction.
The Bremerton City Council District 7 race will feature two incumbents, thanks to the reduction from nine to seven council members. Eric Younger filed and will be running against fellow councilman Nick Wofford.In Poulsbo David Musgrove signed up to run for the Council District 6 spot. Alyson Rotter signed up to run for the Bremerton School Board Seat 4 position.
Noon update: State Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, filed Wednesday in hopes he will be elected to the seat he was appointed to in January. Unless there are wild card candidates who we’ve not heard of, this puts us halfway to officially beginning what Schlicher’s presumed opponent — state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard — said in Sunday’s piece was the race of the year.
On Bainbridge Island Robert Bosserman filed to run for a council seat in District Three, the seat held by Kirsten Hytopoulos.
The West Sound Utility District, not something I would necessarily draw attention to here, has an interesting development. Two current commissioners will be running against each other. That is because when the Annapolis and Karcher Creek water districts merged following a November 2007 vote, they kept the commissioners from the agencies until their terms expired. The commissioner positions last six years. Jeannie Screws is the incumbent in District One. Jim Hart’s position is going away, so he will also run in Screws’ district. Kevin Long, who has worked for the district, will also run for the seat.
Afternoon update: Roger Townsend joined the Bainbridge Island City Council race in District 3 and Steve C. Hancock entered his name in the race for North Kitsap School District for Position 1. Both have opponents.
There have been cases in our recent political past where the gift of an appointment might payed dividends. Would Steve Bauer have had as easy a path to his election to the county commission, and then Rob Gelder had they not been appointed earlier? I doubt it. In those cases incumbency gave them a record and some kind of reputation.
Schlicher certainly benefits from incumbency as opposed to trying to challenge Angel with no official legislative experience. The questions I wanted to pose were how well appointed incumbents have done in the past, and in cases where appointed incumbents failed to be selected, what happened? Sunday’s piece answered those questions. We scheduled the piece for the Sunday before filing began and “Happy Mothers’ Day, everyone!” I looked at legislative historical records available on the Legislature’s website, as well as news archives, to get some context.
Some side issues, interesting on their own but not contributing to the questions asked Sunday, arose in conversations with candidates and others, as well as in the research.
Issue One: Because Schlicher was not elected, can he call himself the “incumbent?” Angel said she doesn’t think so, but the dictionary does not distinguish between whether someone was elected or appointed. In fact, for many people getting the approval of the local party would be harder than getting approved by voters. It is worthwhile to note the distinction, because for many the word “incumbent” implies a past election. President Gerald Ford was the incumbent president in 1976, even though he was elected with a 1-0 vote. That’s an old joke that ignores the fact that Ford was confirmed vice president 92-3 in the U.S. Senate and 387-35 in the House.
Issue Two: If the race is close, which there is sound reason to suspect it could be, so many factors could make the final difference. In fact, in close races it is nearly impossible to credit a win or blame a loss on any one thing. So many unseen things can effect the outcome. “When you lose by 191 votes the flap of a butterfly’s wings can make a difference,” said Randy Gordon, who was the Democrats’ appointed incumbent in the 41st District Senate seat. He lost by 194 votes, according to the state, but let’s not quibble. If he were to pick one ingredient it would be the national anti-incumbent, especially anti-Democratic incumbent, mood across the country. But it could have been any one of his votes in the Legislature, or a particular ad run against him and financed by national PACs, or the money dumped into his opponent’s campaign, or the Democratic Party not putting enough money into his campaign. He said state party officials admitted to him they goofed by not spending more on his race, but how much more would have created a victory? This could be one of those races where in every moment of being awake the candidate and their supporters will not have a moment they can afford to relax.
Issue Three: Both candidates said they will win by telling their stories to win the campaign. Angel added that she will raise money. Since the story ran Angel is reporting more in her campaign chest. On a separate blog a few of you took U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, to task for planning to host a Star Wars-themed fundraiser. I’ll be honest, I was surprised at that reaction. I assumed everyone knew that a big part of a member of Congress’ life is raising money to win the job again in two years. If you haven’t listened to the “This American Life” piece “Take the Money and Run for Office,” I suggest you set aside about an hour to get yourself schooled. That Kilmer is raising funds should not surprise anyone. I’m not saying it’s right, so don’t take me to task for cheerleading the fundraising. I’m not. But I have a difficult time faulting someone who knows he needs to raise funds to win a public office for doing just that. Until finance laws change, that is how it works. Even if finance laws do change, there is no guarantee this kind of election begging would go away. If your problem is that it was a Star Wars theme, maybe it’s worth asking what the harm is in having fun with an otherwise ugly task. If I was hosting fundraisers, you can bet one would be a Batman theme. And not the newer cool Batman, but the Adam West version. Then, every time more money came in I could flash signs that said, “Kapow!” or “Zowie!”
Day one filing information can be found here.
Midday day two filings of note include Arlene Buetow running against John Green on Bainbridge Island.
In Bremerton Roy Runyon wants back on the city council and will challenge Faye Flemister in District Six. Mike Sullivan will challenge Cynthia Triplette Galloway in District One, while District Three is a three-way race as of today. Mike Strube and Jerry McDonald will challenge Adam Brockus.
In Port Orchard Fred Chang filed to run for re-election to his council seat.
In Poulsbo Melody Sky Eisler is challenging Jim Henry for a spot on the council.
All three CK School Board incumbents are running. On Bainbridge Island Mev Hoburg is running for her school board seat and Sheila Jakubik is running for the spot held by Mary Curtis.
Remember how we had to elect a member of Congress to serve in the First Congressional District for one month following Jay Inslee’s resignation? Same goes in Bremerton, it seems.
Despite the fact that the Bremerton City Council named an interim council member, Wendy Priest, following the resignation of Roy Runyon, county elections officials say there has to be someone elected to fill the remainder of the term. That election will be in November and the new person would serve from the day the election is certified, late November, until the day a new council is sworn in, early January.
Again, what makes this necessary is redistricting. The council boundaries will change beginning in January. In fact, they’ll go from nine council seats to seven.
Filing for races across the state and in the county has begun. To the right appears to be the first filing in the state, an 8 a.m. entry by Republican Bill Brunson of Legislative Distirct 7. As we pointed out in the story about the legislative race in the 26th District, odd-year elections are typically reserved for local races, such as city councils and port and utility commissioners.
This year, though, voters in the 26th Legislative District will get to participate in a high profile race. I plan to add more to the blog later about the nature of that race and why it’s high profile, as well as diving further into some side issues.
The county will update county filings beginning at noon. Candidates can file online now, but Dolores Gilmore, county elections manager, said there is still a need to verify a candidate’s eligibility before the filing is posted online.
10 a.m. update: Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and Bremerton City Councilmen Adam Brockus and Greg Wheeler were among the first to file for re-election this week. Also running for Bremerton City Council, the first to file in District 5, is Dino Davis. In Port Orchard incumbent Jerry Childs filed, and Bek Ashby filed to run for Position 2. In Poulsbo Ed Stern is running for re-election. Ken Ames will run to retain his North Kitsap School Board seat, and in Central Kitsap Victoria Crescenzi filed to run for the seat she sought appointment to. In the South Kitsap School District Rebecca Diehl will run for the District 4 seat held by Kathryn Simpson. Larry Stokes is running to hold on to his Port of Bremerton seat. Fire districts and other port districts also have candidates.
Noon update: Becky Erickson is running for re-election as mayor in Poulsbo. Faye Flemister and Nick Wofford have filed to run to hold onto Bremerton City Council seats. Val Tollefson wants Bob Scales’ Bainbridge Island council seat. Jeanie Schulze will be running to keep the seat she was just appointed to, facing off against at least Victoria Crescenzi.
2 p.m. update: John Green is running for Debbi Lester’s seat on the Bainbridge Island City Council. In Bremerton Cynthia Triplett Galloway wants the First District seat. Robert B. Putaansuu seeks re-election to his Port Orchard City Council seat. So does Christopher J. Lemke for his South Kitsap School Board seat. In Manchester Steve Pedersen and James E. Strode both have seats on the Port of Manchester and the Manchester Water District seats. Pedersen, so far, has only signed up for the port board and Strode has only signed to run for the water district. I believe the next update will be the last one of the day.
5:30 p.m. Jerry McDonald joined the race for the Bremerton City Council seat Adam Brockus wants. Jerry Childs seeks re-election to the Port Orchard City Council. So does Jim Henry in Poulsbo. In the North Kitsap School District Cindy Webster-Martinson will run for the seat currently held by Tom Anderson. Bruce Richards is running for re-election for his Central Kitsap School Board seat.