At last, E-Day

Got time to read the state's hulking voter guide at the last minute? Neither do we. Here's the two-sentence version, our quick-and-dirty recap of the presidential, federal, statewide, and local races.
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Got time to read the state's hulking voter guide at the last minute? Neither do we. Here's the two-sentence version, our quick-and-dirty recap of the presidential, federal, statewide, and local races.

It's been a long haul, and here's the short version, two sentences on each of the major races or issues on your local ballot. Oh, and don't forget to send it in.

  • President and vice president: What more is there to say about the historic 2008 presidential race? The chance to elect an African-American as president is a first, and a woman is on a major-party ticket for only the second time.

  • House of Representatives, Washington District 8: The race between Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and Democratic challenger Darcy Burner in suburban and rural King and Pierce counties has been wire-to-wire since Reichert won the Aug. 19 primary by 4 percentage points. While the polls said Burner pulled ahead near the end of October, recent headlines about her exaggerated claim of having a degree in economics from Harvard University could have dire consequences on today.

  • Washington governor: Republican challenger Dino Rossi has lifted the "change mantra" from the Obama campaign in hopes it will help him unseat Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who beat Rossi by just 133 votes in 2004. In what promises to be a record turnout, the big question is whether Obama voters will lean Democratic and re-elect Gregoire or lean Change and give Rossi the governorship.

  • Lieutenant governor: If the latest polls are any indicator, it looks like incumbent Lt. Gov. Brad Owen will handily beat Republican challenger Marcia McGraw, thanks to the "prefers Democratic party" that appears next to Owen's name on the ballot. The funny part: Owen is the candidate of choice for the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), state Democrats' biggest enemy and Rossi's biggest (and most controversial) backer.

  • Secretary of state: While state Republicans have plenty of reasons to dislike Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed — for one, he presided over the 2004 gubernatorial recount scandal which "stole" the election from Rossi — it appears he is well on his way to defeating Democratic challenger Jason Osgood. Stefan Sharkansky, the Sound Politics blogger who broke the story in 2004 which led to the recount, says while Reed is "one of the least competent and most dishonest elected officials in Washington politics," Osgood's "fundamentally unserious" plan for universal voter registration makes "none of the above" the best choice in this race.

  • State treasurer: Here's the interesting thing about the race to fill the seat of retiring Mike Murphy: Murphy, a Democrat, did not endorse Democratic nominee Jim McIntire. Instead, Murphy says Republican Allan Martin, who has been the assistant state treasurer for several years, is far more qualified for the job.

  • Attorney general: Incumbent Rob McKenna should have no trouble beating Democratic challenger John Ladenburg. McKenna, a Republican, currently leads Ladenburg 57 percent to 36 percent, according to a SurveyUSA poll published Oct. 28. (Far more interesting: If Rossi loses, some speculate McKenna may go for the governorship in 2012.)

  • Commissioner of public lands: To maintain his slight lead in the polls, incumbent Republican Doug Sutherland has had to weather a small-potatoes sexual harassment scandal and a Seattle Times exposé about the state's failure to regulate timber companies whose clear-cut logging led to massive mudslides. Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark hopes those issues, along with this year's supposed massive Democratic turnout, will help him beat Sutherland in what could be the closest of all down-ballot races.

  • Superintendent of public instruction: Supporters say incumbent Terry Bergeson has made several successful reforms to the state's education system during her 12 years as the superintendent of public instruction. Yet according to several polls, she trails challenger Randy Dorn, who has promised to rid the state of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), the controversial test which Bergeson implemented.

  • 36th Legislative District: In the race to fill outgoing Democratic state Rep. Helen Sommers' seat, Democrats Reuven Carlyle and John Burbank were neck-and-neck going into Election Day, though Carlyle appears to have the edge. A technology entrepreneur, Carlyle has been endorsed by three major Seattle newspapers — The Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Stranger — who all say his background in both the public and private sectors make him a better candidate than Burbank, a longtime tax-reform advocate.

  • 46th Legislative District: This race has been long and ugly; when Democrats Scott White and Gerry Pollet had to vie for their party's official nomination, it was, in a word, chaos. It still is; last week officials said White violated the King County ethics code.

  • Initiative 985: Tim Eyman's statewide "traffic congestion relief" measure, which would, among other things, reroute local revenue from red-light traffic cameras into a general state transportation fund and limit HOV lanes to narrow time periods, has been widely panned by newspapers, politicians, and federal transportation officials. According to the latest Washington Poll, 55 percent of voters oppose the measure, while only 40 percent of voters support it.

  • Initiative 1000: It would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Washington state, and while it is highly controversial, it appears the measure will easily pass. According to the latest SurveyUSA poll, only 37 percent of voters oppose I-1000, while 54 percent support it.

  • Initiative 1029: Much to the chagrin of state politicians, I-1029 will probably pass by a huge margin. Opponents say the measure, which would require licensing and better training for the state's long-term health care workers, is the sort of "specialized bill that belongs in the Legislature."

  • Sound Transit Proposition 1: The key question about whether voters will approve the agency's $17.9 billion light rail expansion measure is if economy-conscious residents of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties vote with dollar bills in their eyes or mass transit in their hearts. My money is on the money.

  • Seattle Proposition 1: Supporters of this measure say now is the time to spend $73 million on much-needed improvements to the basic plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems of the Pike Place Market. Again, it's a money question — of whether voters will vote to protect pocketbooks or preserve a cultural institution.

  • Seattle Proposition 2: Even Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says he's voting against this $145 million parks levy, which would fund the acquisition, development, and restoration of parks and recreation areas. It's the economy, stupid.


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