The winners not on the ballot

Notes and quotes: Also, try finding a newspaper to save. ... Women could rule on Whidbey Island. ... Gov. Chris Gregoire's surprising margin. ... Countering conventional wisdom, Seattle-area voters said yes to higher taxes. ... A therapeutic celebration. Updated
Crosscut archive image.
Notes and quotes: Also, try finding a newspaper to save. ... Women could rule on Whidbey Island. ... Gov. Chris Gregoire's surprising margin. ... Countering conventional wisdom, Seattle-area voters said yes to higher taxes. ... A therapeutic celebration. Updated

Reporting and analysis by Crosscut writers, with the most recent entries at the top.

Try finding a newspaper

By Peter Lewis

Wednesday, 5:59 p.m., Seattle — I was calling around trying to locate a copy of today's Chicago Sun-Times because I was so taken by the front page and wanted a copy to frame. On the paper's Web site, they said they couldn't keep up with demand and were publishing extra copies. I e-mailed the chief editor but I'm probably only the 5 millionth person who has.

Anyway, I decided to phone Bulldog News on University Way in Seattle, and the woman who answered told me they're "sold out of every daily newspaper we carry."

For today anyway, newspapers aren't dead!

Happy, but not ready to celebrate

By Benjamin Lukoff

Wednesday, 5:35 p.m., Seattle — Don't get me wrong: I am pleased with last night's election results. Initiative 1000, which has personal resonance for me, passed easily. And until recently, this biracial son of immigrants thought it would be at least another decade, if not two, until America was ready to elect someone like Barack Obama to the highest office in the land. Yet as I sat with my sister and girlfriend last night at the Madrona Eatery & Ale House, watching the spectacle unfold, I felt oddly detached from the nationwide jubilation. I don't know if reality has yet to set in — or perhaps the reality had set in that, as momentous an occasion as this is, now comes the hard part. Maybe I was just getting a head start on what The New York Times' Tara Parker-Pope calls the "post-election blues." (Local freelancer Diane Mapes weighs in on this phenomenon as well, for

In his victory speech last night, Obama called on the country to "resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long." In his concession, John McCain encouraged us to "come together ... to bridge our differences ... and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans." This election is no quick fix, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. I am now guardedly optimistic about the future. If we heed the candidates' words, we will be that much closer to fulfilling the promise of Obama's campaign — and perhaps it is then that you will find me dancing in the street.

The burden, lifted

By Clark Fredricksen

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m., Seattle — What a night it was. Here are some gut reactions to this historic moment.

Charles Blow, The New York Times

And then they wept: History will record this as the night the souls of black folk, living and dead, wept 'ꀓ and laughed, screamed and danced 'ꀓ releasing 400 years of pent up emotion.

Tom Toles, The Washington Post:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Ratified November 4, 2008.

David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Lincoln rose above his own prejudices and upbringing to start America moving on this path. Today, Lincoln's dream was fulfilled. Whoever your favored candidate may have been for president, that is something of which all Americans can be proud. For myself, I am also proud of my daughter and son's generation. No matter what part of the country they come from, most young Americans have grown up without the prejudices of their elders. This election demonstrated that the fearful, narrow-minded old guard is passing away. The torch has been passed to a better generation.

Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times:

His election won't be the end of racism or the culture wars or any of the other old grudges and grievances that have crippled American society. But that was one potent symbolic shift. As Obama said last night, who can now claim that America isn't still the land of promise? Where anything is possible? For anyone?

Ezra Klein, The American Prospect:

These were crowds that were utterly joyous at the prospect of what they had just done: Elect a black president. Strike a blow for civil rights that many had presumed impossible. A win by a more traditional Democrat would have put Bush in the past, but there was a sense last night -- inchoate, but present -- that Obama's victory somehow represented a more decisive transition into the future. That wasn't a political judgment and it wasn't connected to policies. It was just a sense that an America that could do this was a different America than the one we had been living in for the past few years.

Ross Douthat, The Atlantic:

This may be a bleak day for the Republican Party and for conservatism, but come what may in the years ahead, it's a great day for our country. Barack Obama deserves congratulations, tonight, but so does the nation he's about to govern: We've come a long, long way.

George Packer, The New Yorker:

We will have a President who can think and feel and speak; we will have a grownup who will treat us like grownups. The Bush era is over. And the Clinton era. And the Reagan era. And the 1960s.

Sam Taylor, Bellingham Herald:

The politics blog is quiet. I'ꀙm almost not even sure what to do today. A year of coverage. Lots of it. On top of a full beat. It was fun. We had good times. But what do we do the day after?

The winner calls

By Lisa Albers

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m., SeattleReuven Carlyle trounced John Burbank in a 36th District state House race in Seattle, taking 65 percent of the vote in this Dem vs. Dem contest. It was the triumph of the entrepreneur over the steadiness presented by an insider. Carlyle seemed cut from the same cloth as Barack Obama — an angle he played up during the race — while Burbank evoked Clinton-esque appeal for many, and his failed "latte tax" was no help.

While at a breakfast meeting at Dish this morning, I saw Burbank come in, looking the way one would expect a candidate on the low end of a landslide victory to look the morning after. He received a call from Carlyle while waiting for a table and took it out in the parking lot, standing in the chill autumn air, running his hand through his hair.

Winners and losers

By David Brewster

Wednesday, 12:53 p.m., Seattle — Some early winners and losers from the local elections, including some who weren't even running. The envelope, please:

Winner: Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. He defied conventional wisdom and pushed for the Sound Transit vote, hoping to cash in on the big Obama turnout. He further gambled by more or less running the campaign from his political organization. Big win. Second big win: the parks levy, which passed despite Nickels' opposition. He now gets to dole out money for parks, cut ribbons, and proclaim to taxpayers that he was against it!

Winner: Attorney General Rob McKenna. He won reelection easily, as widely expected (it's almost impossible to defeat a sitting attorney general or prosecutor, since they get so much positive press). With Dino Rossi losing his second bid for the governorship, McKenna is now in full command of state Republicans and has a clear shot to run for governor in 2012. He can rebuild and modernize the GOP without the Rossi old guard.

Loser: King County Executive Ron Sims. He was banking on the defeat of Sound Transit so he could rebuild local transit plans and get more money for Metro Transit buses. He'll probably now look kindly at offers from the Obama administration.

Loser: Wireless executive John Stanton. Like Sims, Stanton needed Sound Transit to lose so he could make a case for a regional transit authority, centralizing transportation decisions and siphoning tax money from rail transit. Hard to see that idea getting much traction now. Maybe Stanton needs a fallback position for political influence.

Winner: Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin. He pushed through the parks levy, proving he could win over the mayor's opposition and making lots of friends in the neighborhoods and among green space advocates. His plausibility as a mayoral candidate in 2009 has gone up a notch, as has his reputation as a leader of the council.

Winner: State House Speaker Frank Chopp of Seattle. His artful recruiting of moderate Democrats who can win in swing districts continues to build up his majority, and the loyalists. One new member is Reuven Carlyle from the 36th District, who won easily over John Burbank, who had strained relations with the speaker. Now the question is whether Gov. Gregoire, energized by her strong victory, decides to lead more aggressively and defer less to the speaker.

Women are poised to rule Whidbey Island

By Sue Frause

Wednesday, 12:45 p.m., Langley, Wash. — When the county commissioners first met on Whidbey Island back in 1853, it was an all-male club. The three "commish" included John Alexander, John Crocket, and Samuel D. Howe. Their first order of business was to lay out a road from Coveland (Penn's Cove) on the east side of the island to Ebey's Prairie on the west.

One hundred fifty-five years later, the duties of the commissioners have changed. And so has the makeup of the group. For the first time, not one but possibly two women, both Democrats, will be part of this former male legislative body.

The Island County auditor's Web site reports that Helen Price Johnson is leading Republican incumbent Phil Bakke, 15,550 to 13,484. And Angie Homola is ahead of Republican incumbent Mac McDowell, 14,749 to 13,900. The third commissioner, Democrat John Dean, was not up for re-election.

As in most other small Washington counties, the Board of Commissioners is Island County's legislative body. Its three members are elected to four-year terms, representing three geographic districts of Whidbey and Camano islands. Their duties include overseeing county operations; financial and budgetary matters; and the adoption of laws that regulate county growth, health, safety, and welfare.

The sanctity of death

By Knute Berger

Wednesday, 10:53 a.m., Seattle — I thought the Initiative 1000 assisted-suicide measure was a long shot because there was no compelling public controversy to move it forward, and a somewhat similar measure had been defeated in the 1990s. One of the surprises of the night was the ease with which it passed.

The main issue here is choice for dying patients, and I think the compelling factor is that with an aging population, many of us have been, or will be faced, will difficult end-of-life situations. These involve painful, intense, personal choices, and I-1000 expands the options for a few on a less-slippery slope than opponents have predicted. Rather than former Gov. Booth Gardner's "last campaign" being an ego- trip about his own battle with Parkinson's disease, kudos are due to him for making us all think seriously about the one thing more inevitable than taxes: death.

The 'close' governor's race

By Knute Berger

Wednesday, 10:37 a.m., Seattle — The governor's race was supposed to be a nail-biter, yet Tuesday night NBC called it early for incumbent Democrat Chris Gregoire. GOP challenger Dino Rossi hasn't conceded, and given what happened in 2004, why should he? Go ahead and let the Fat Lady sing. No one would describe a Gregoire victory as an easy win — it was a tough, hard-fought campaign in which both candidates battled for Obama's coattails. But we're not seeing a replay of 2004 in which Dinocrats played a decisive role in forcing recounts. It looks like Gregoire's stylistic flaws did not trump the virtues of her substance.

Penny pinching — not!

By Knute Berger

Wednesday, 10:07 a.m., Seattle — Many pundits predicted that voters would sink spending measures in light of the economy. Yet the multibillion-dollar Sound Transit proposal passed (in all three counties), as did the two multimillion-dollar Seattle measures to fix the Pike Place Market and fund city parks. And the one statewide initiative that appeared to offer something for nothing — Tim Eyman's anti-congestion, open-the-HOV lanes Initiative 985 — went down to defeat. Despite vanishing 401Ks, Seattleites are in a yes-we-can mood still, even when it comes to paying higher taxes.

Moving pictures

By Bob Simmons

Wednesday, 9:58 a.m., Bellingham, Wash. — Democrats jammed the ballroom at the Lakeway Best Western last night to watch election returns and celebrate Barack Obama's historic victory. Watch is the operative word.

The huge TV screens relaying network coverage were silent. The pictures were excellent, the network commentators' lips were moving, and they must have had something important to say, but no one at the party got to hear it.

The glitch was still a glitch at 8 p.m., when the networks declared Obama the next president. Bellinghamsters yelled, stomped, hugged, and danced, and poured onto the streets to join a wild celebration that reverberated through the night, from Boundary Bay to the Wild Buffalo.

One young celebrant joked happily, "We can win the most important presidential election in history, and we can't make the sound work. I guess that's what it's like to be a Democrat."

Cognitive harmony

By Knute Berger

Wednesday, 9:25 a.m., Seattle — Seattleites had good reason to dance in the streets. One big election winner: the city's mental health. The election of Barack Obama puts an end to an era in which Seattle, like other liberal Left Coast cities, found itself seeing a different America than the rest of the country. The America of stolen elections, "mission accomplished," "heck of a job Brownie," and Sarah Palin-swooning. We still have major problems: wars, the economic mess, climate change. But instead of pondering what's wrong with Kansas, we can now share a sense of what's right with Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, and Indiana, and imagine a way forward where we're closer to a shared reality than we've been for eight years.

Later returns show Gregoire pulling ahead

By Chuck Taylor

Wednesday, 12:07 a.m., Seattle — Like four years ago, we're hearing a lot about the supposed outcome of a governor's race. At the moment, incumbent Democrat Chris Gregoire seems to be pulling ahead from Republican challenger Dino Rossi. As I write this, the Office of the Secretary of State shows Gregoire leading . But not even half the ballots statewide have been counted, as Rossi's people point out. In King County, where Gregoire runs strongest,

Gregoire carefully avoids declaring victory

By Austin Jenkins

Tuesday, 10:28 p.m., Seattle — Gov. Chris Gregoire took the stage at the Seattle Westin Hotel, where Democrats are celebrating, just before 10:30 p.m. to chants of "four more years" from the crowd. She noted that the Washington governor's race has been called in her favor by several networks.

While speaking as if she's won four more years, Gregoire didn't formally declare victory. She thanked Republican challenger Dino Rossi for his service. She says Democrats called 1 million voters and knocked on a quarter of a million doors in an unprecedented get-out-the-vote effort in Washington. "I ask for your support as we work ourselves through these tough times," she said.

Gregoire press secretary Aaron Toso says the governor's speech was a victory speech. However, Rossi says the outcome of the race won't be known until Thursday or Friday, and he wasn't conceding.

Update: Gregoire held a news conference after her speech. She said: "You know, I was ready to wait [on declaring victory], but it's sure a lot better to hear tonight. It's been a long haul, it's been hard, but I'm ready to move on now with an amazing partner in the White House to make the dream and vision of America and Washington state real for all of our people. ... I was the last in the room to celebrate, but after CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and AP, everybody said you got to admit you won the race."

Washington Poll predicts a Gregoire win

By Peter Lewis

Tuesday, 10:11 p.m., Seattle — Democratic incumbent Chris Gregoire will defeat Republican Dino Rossi in the Washington gubernatorial race, according to projections made at 9:30 p.m. by a University of Washington political science professor.

"We project she will win 52-48," said Matt Barreto, basing that on the lead she held in Snohomish County. In addition, Gregoire is "doing much better in King County than in '04," when Gregoire narrowly won by 133 votes, he said.

"In '04, she underperformed [John] Kerry by 125,000 votes. In '08, we project she will underperform (Obama) by 80,000 votes ... That means she made up 45,000 votes."

Barreto helped lead the Washington Poll, a nonpartisan, academic research project at UW, which last Saturday released data showing Gregoire leading Rossi by 50 percent to 48 percent, with 2 percent undecided. The poll was based on 387 randomly selected registered voters interviewed Oct. 27-31. It had a margin of error of 5 percent.

A Washington Poll released Oct. 27 showed Gregoire leading Rossi by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided. That poll, conducted Oct. 18-26, was based on 600 registered voters statewide with a margin of error of 4 percent.

Both Washington Poll surveys were administered by phone by Pacific Market Research in Renton.

NBC declares Gregoire the winner

By Chuck Taylor

Tuesday, 10:06 p.m., SeattleNBC News has declared Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire the winner based on exiting polling.

As of this writing, the results posted by the Office of the Secretary of State showed Gregoire with 572,540 votes (50.85 percent) and Republican challenger Dino Rossi with 553,473 (49.15 percent). That would seem to be a very narrow margin, and it's based on the earliest release of results. But NBC has been spot-on tonight in calling the presidential race, consistently declaring winners before the competition, and I suspect they have a great deal of confidence in their numbers.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors