Tag Archives: the 2012 Primary

Bill Driscoll may be optimistic, but so much favors Derek Kilmer

There is a new poll in the right column. I see someone has already voted in it.

Speaking of surveys, an earlier post referred to survey work done by Republican Bill Driscoll, running to replace Democrat Norm Dicks in the 6th Congressional District. His campaign didn’t release the questions, but sent a fundraising pitch suggesting the polls show he has a shot.

Another poll with a pretty huge sample size (40 percent) was the 2012 Primary. In that one state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, polled about as well as anyone might have expected. Out of seven candidates he pulled in 53.4 percent of the votes. Sure, Kilmer was the only Democrat. But for Driscoll to have the shot he thinks he has, he has to hope the anti-Barack Obama sentiment in the 6th District is overwhelming, that Mitt Romney manages to have people excited by November and that people get to know Driscoll by then, too. And not just get to know him, to like him more than they like Kilmer.

It’s not impossible, and turnout for the primary was low. But you also can’t assume that those for whom Jesse Young or Doug Cloud was the first choice will automatically go with Driscoll in the general election. Most will, but the question will be whether there would be enough. Recent electoral history suggests Kilmer’s percentages in the general election might even go up from where they ended in the primary.

Driscoll is campaigning as a “Non-Politician.” It’s one of the titles on his website, between “Marine Corps Veteran” and “Businessman.” Running as an outsider can work sometimes, when the general public is mad at the incumbents. The public was mad at Congressional incumbents in 2006 and in 2010. They probably will be again in 2014.

In this race there are no incumbents. The Democratic candidate, though, has a political record. Unfortunately for Driscoll, Kilmer’s record is not as polarizing as, say, Nancy Pelosi.

On Monday Kilmer was recognized by a Tacoma company that makes residential wood boilers. They acknowledged Kilmer for his help in getting regulatory prohibitions against those boilers removed. Washington had been the only state where wood boilers couldn’t be sold. The result of Kilmer’s efforts with state regulators, said Greenwood Clean Energy’s president, Michael Kuehner, was the company took work that had been occurring in Canada and Mexico and brought it to Washington. That’s 16 jobs, with an outlook for double that, according to the press release Kilmer’s campaign sent out.

Over the next three months, look for Kilmer to repeat that story, and the one about the theater and apartment development in Bremerton, and the new hospital in Gig Harbor.

Driscoll has a different kind of record. He will tell you that he volunteered to rejoin the Marines long after he had to. That will certainly play well with many. He will also ally himself more with Republican fiscal ideals, which again will play well with many.

Driscoll also says he will go after bipartisan solutions, but Kilmer makes the case he has a record of working across the aisle in Olympia. And Kilmer’s focus on business certainly casts him in a different light than, say it again, Nancy Pelosi.

If you go to Washingtonvotes.org, you can parse out Kilmer’s record.

During the 2011-12 session there were more than 2,000 bills introduced in each chamber. More than 700 passed and there were nearly 1,100 votes. Of those, only 55 were decided by a margin of 10 or less. I picked that number as the marker where a single vote is most important. Kilmer voted against his party on seven of those votes, 12.7 percent of the time. By comparison, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, (He’s the one running against Democrat Maria Cantwell for her Senate seat. He’s also the one who had unkind words for a reporter from Publicola. Look it up.) voted against his party four times in those same 55 votes, or 7.3 percent. Tim Sheldon, D-Shelton, known as a maverick for voting against the majority of his party often, voted against his party 81.8 percent of the close votes. I guess that means if Sheldon were a Republican he would have voted against his party 18.9 percent of the time.

In the House I upped the vote difference to 20 or less. There were 158 of those. Republican Jan Angel voted against her party 12.7 percent of the time, same percentage as Kilmer. Democrat Larry Seaquist went against party 4.4 percent, and Democrats Sherry Appleton and Kathy Haigh each voted against their party three times, 1.9 percent.

Of the 51 bills Kilmer introduced as the prime sponsor, 41 had Republican co-sponsors.

Here’s another stat Driscoll will have to overcome. In the two previous Congressional election years that were run with the Top Two format, Norm Dicks ran against multiple candidates in both. In each primary he topped 50 percent. Worse for Driscoll, Dicks’ percentage went up in each general election.

The penny in the picture tells you why Derek Kilmer’s name appears before Bill Driscoll’s in the poll on the right. In the past I’ve gone alphabetic, but decided to flip a penny here. Heads it’s Driscoll. Tails it’s Kilmer. You see what happened.

If you read on you can read the press release Kilmer’s campaign sent about Greenwood Clean Energy’s praise for Kilmer.

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