November 2, 1998
Dems make gains at state, national levels
by Andrew Walgamott
posted Nov. 4, 3:00 p.m.
Democrats took back the State Senate and etched into the Republican majority in the U.S. and state houses of representatives in last week's elections.
Voters also said yes to the medical use of marijuana, raised the minimum wage, and kept partial birth abortions legal. They also gave themselves a $30 break on vehicle taxes and okayed spending $2.4 billion to improve transportation, and told government it shouldn't discriminate based on race or sex in hiring, education and contracting. Commentators now speculate that the latter measure is now headed to court.
Inslee, Dunn, Murray to D.C.
After watching what appeared at best to be a wrestling match in a muddy playground, 1st District voters sent Jay Inslee to Congress, replacing Rep. Rick White (R-Bainbridge Island). Inslee, the former Congressman from Eastern Washington, had attacked White's vote to continue impeachment proceeding, saying President Clinton should instead be censured. White countered with ads questioning Inslee's record on committee attendance and taxes.
Bruce Craswell, the right-wing American Heritage Party candidate, siphoned votes from White, but apparently not enough to throw the election to Inslee.
Despite Craswell's showing, Clay Ciolek, his campaign manager, said the candidate hadn't acted as a spoiler, and said the party would be back.
"We're here to stay. This was a launch pad year--we ran five candidates around the state," Ciolek said, adding that the party wanted to organize in all 39 counties, as well come under one name at next year's U.S. Taxpayer Party's convention.
The 1st Congressional District encompasses parts of Woodinville, Bothell, Kenmore as well as south Snohomish, north King and Kitsap counties.
In the 8th District, Jennifer Dunn (R-Bellevue) won her re-election bid against political newcomer Heidi Behrens-Benedict. The 8th includes eastern King and Pierce counties.
"We're very happy with the results," said Anna Rising, Behrens-Benedict's campaign manager. "It's the best a Democrat has done [in the 8th] in 15 years."
Rising said the candidate, owner of an interior design firm, would now take some time off to be with her family, but added, "there's a possibility she'll be back in two years."
Dunn takes her fourth term in office. With Inslee's, and Brian Baird's victory in southwest Washington, there are now five Democrats and four Republicans in the state's Congressional delegation. Overall, Democrats gained five seats in the House.
In the Senate, Patty Murray (D-Seattle) fended off challenger Linda Smith. Murray, a Bothell High School graduate, enters her second term in the Senate. Each candidate had labeled the other "extremist" during the campaign.
Nationwide, two GOP senators prominently involved in the investigation of the President, New York's Alfonse D'Amato and North Carolina's Lock Faircloth, were voted out. Still, Republicans maintained their 55-45 majority in the upper house.
Elsewhere, Jesse "The Body" Ventura can add governor of Minnesota to his list of credentials which also includes Navy SEAL, professional wrestler and Rolling Stones bodyguard. Also, there are now two Governor Bushs, one in Texas and the other in Florida. Both are sons of former President George Bush.
Sherstad, Backlund out
At the state level, Rep. Al O'Brien (D-Mountlake Terrace) retained his seat and will likely be joined by Jeanne Edwards, the Bothell City Councilwoman who was leading incumbent Mike Sherstad (R-Kirkland). O'Brien beat Ian Elliot. If Edwards' margin holds, she and O'Brien will represent Bothell, Kenmore and parts of Woodinville in the House.
In the neighboring 45th District, voters were sure to hire a man named Bill from Kirkland to represent them in the Senate. They went with the man with a last name of Finkbeiner, the Republican incumbent, over Bill Grace. Finkbeiner will continue to represent parts of Woodinville, Redmond and Kirkland as well as the lower Snoqualmie Valley.
Laura Ruderman, the former Microsoft manager, appears to be beating Rep. Bill Backlund (R-Redmond), and Kathy Lambert (R-Redmond), running unopposed, returns to Olympia.
In south Snohomish County's 44th District, John Lovick was leading Rep. Bill Thompson (R-Everett). The pair sent out numerous flyers in the week before the election, blasting each other's record on taxes.
Elsewhere in the 44th, Rep. Dave Schmidt (R-Bothell) defeated Eric Goodrich, an Everett paralegal, and Senator Jeanine Long held onto her seat by beating challenger Kerry Watkins.
Overall, Democrats wrested the Senate from the GOP, and appear to control 26 of the 49 seats.
In the state Supreme Court, King County Superior Court Judge Faith Ireland defeated the so-called country lawyer Jim Foley, and Judge Barbara Madsen was re-elected by defeating a colleague of Ireland's, Judge Jim Bates.
Maleng returned, ASCENT 21 shot down
At the county level, voters gave King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng another term. He defeated Fred Canavor for a sixth term.
By a three to one margin, voters in Snohomish County stomped a five-part proposal from ASCENT 21 that would have raised property, gas and real estate taxes. The package would have raised funds for road and sewer improvements, and parks and open space.
Kenmore voters approved annexing into the Northshore Fire District, and Charlie Meyer defeated Arnold Young for an Evergreen District Court judgeship.
Results on statewide measures also showed King County differed with the rest of Washington. It was the sole county where a majority voted against I-200, and, along with San Juan, the only to vote against Referendum 49.