Writings and observations

First take

Daily Kos is reporting on polling numbers (from Public Policy Polling) on the 2016 Washington governor and Senate races, and showing both incumbents with clear leads over a string of Republicans. The best showing among Republicans was from Rob KcKenna, who held incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee to a close win in 2012. Inslee’s approval rating isn’t high and is actually underwater by a hair (41-42) but such ratings seem standard these days even for politicians who go on to win. And the poll showing him best McKenna by five points, and three others by double digits. Results are similar for Democratic Senator Patty Murray. If there’s excitement in Washington politics next year, you’d expect it to center on the governor’s race, but Inslee seems to be settling in.

The Idaho Department of Administration isn’t or shouldn’t be an especially exciting agency; the name more or less reflects what it does, which is to handle paperwork, contracts and bureaucracy. Usually it’s a quiet place; it was during the many years Pam Ahrens was director there, and that’s because she ran it at least reasonably well. But it has had one high-profile director after another in the Butch Otter years, and that high-profile description is a result of trouble. Mike Gwartney, Teresa Luna – the department was repeatedly in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Will the new director, Bob Geddes, put an end to this? Maybe. The Geddes I knew when he was president pro tem of the state Senate was an unassuming guy who managed the chamber with surprising smoothness; that would indicate a fair possibility of success now. He then quit to join the Tax Commission during a period of trouble and instability there; things quieted down during his tenure there, a good sign, but he left after a short time. And he hasn’t been at his current work with the Fsrm Bureau for very long. There are question marks here, but possibly also the opportunity for getting the house in order.

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