Got an e-mail on Thursday from friends in Kitsap County, where they just voted by mail: "What a great day!" They noted their presidential choice - which in Washington state seems not much in doubt - but not their gubernatorial. And that one is in some doubt.
It will not be as close as the last one, in 2004. 133-vote margins just never happen, except maybe once. We should have a pretty clear idea on election night, or the morning after at least, who will be governor the next four years. But, while we continue to suspect that Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire will narrowly outpace Republican challenger Dino Rossi, it's not likely to be by much. This isn't likely to be an early-evening call.
What with ballots out and cast, the newspaper endorsement picture in Washington is wrapped up now.
Gregoire's corner includes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Tacoma News Tribune, the Spokane Spokesman-Review (just today), the Vancouver Columbian, the Portland Oregonian, the Everett Herald (today), the Kitsap Sun (today), the Bellingham Herald (today) and the Mount Vernon Skagit Valley Herald. The Tacoma, Everett and Spokane papers are reversals from four years ago, when they backed Rossi.
Rossi got backing from the Seattle Times (today), the Tri-City Herald, the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. The endorsements at the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla are reversals reversal from 2004, when those papers endorsed Gregoire.
The Rossi endorsements generally focused on the budget, noting that Gregoire has increased spending just ahead of dark money days. (The Gregoire arguments tend to be a little more broadly-based.) The Tri-Cities argument, though, is so specific it merits a review here:
And as much as we admire and respect Gregoire -- and even understand to some extent why west-side politics may have constrained her giving meaningful support to the Areva project -- our first loyalty is to the Tri-Cities, which remains bitterly disappointed over this loss.
Areva represented the possibility of adding a $2 billion uranium enrichment facility and 400 high-paying jobs to the Tri-Cities but is gone now for good.
But instead of growing our nuclear future, we're worried about Richland losing its existing fuel fabrication plant and its 600 good jobs.
When upgrades are needed in Richland, will Areva spend the money here or just build a plant next to its new uranium enrichment facility in Idaho?
The fact is the Herald's gubernatorial endorsement probably was Gregoire's to lose, and lose it she did.
Areva probably will cost her votes in the Tri-Cities, though it may draw a blank elsewhere.
In all of this, you get some feeling of closeness. There' a little endorsement movement toward Gregoire, but it's not everwhelming. This thing is tight.