Writings and observations

WA: As alliances become clearer . . .

For a while, conservative-under-wraps Susan Hutchison seemed to be pulling off enough of a play-to-the-middle campaign to hang on to enough votes to win as King County executive. But in liberal King County, it was always a tall order, and in the end the task was too much, and the Democratic organization – which was under no illusions about her – too strong.

So we get to the second paragraph here before mentioning the newly-elected (or so it looks, with 57% of the vote this far and most ballots counted) executive, Dow Constantine. His campaign was not especially decisive, though it did seem to become more clarifying as the race went on. The guess here, though, is that the range of outside organizations made ever clearer the nature of who was what – the Democratic organization, labor and others on Constantine’s side, and the building owners and other Republican-based groups on Hutchison’s. The alliances may have mattered a lot in this case.

In the other Washington candidate races of note . . .

bullet In Vancouver, a lot of people (not only there, but in Portland as well) are holding their breath: Council member Tim Leavitt is at current count 1,750 ahead of incumbent Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard, with 7,000 votes out – giving Leavitt a good probability of winning. It would be a stunning end to Pollard’s run as mayor; only months ago, he still looked all but unbeatable. And it raises questions at least about the Columbia River Crossing bridge. (And that’s true even if, as the point has been made, many of the key decisions are made at the state level – local jurisdictions can still throw in big roadblocks if they’re so inclined.) There’ll be some scrambling and frantic phone calls on Wednesday morning if the numbers hold.

bullet The Seattle mayoral is too close to call tonight; attorney Mike McGinn has a slight edge just over 50%, but not enough for anything resembling a safe call over businessman Joe Mallahan. This one could be up for grabs for a few days.

bullet There were three legislative races today, all in eastern Washington, and they resulted in lowering the Democratic count in the House by one. Bill Grant, who represented the Walla Walla area for more than 20 years and was the last rural Democrat in the Washington legislature from east of the Cascades, died earlier this year. His appointed replacement was his daughter, Laura Grant, but she couldn’t hold the seat in the very Republican territory: She is losing in a 58%-42% contest to Republican Terry Nealey, who had lost to Bill Grant in 2008. A quiet race generally, but a landmark.

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