I'm breaking this down much like the Secretary of State's site - Federal, Statewide, Legislative, and Judicial. It's a good enough place to start, and will hopefully prevent these from getting too long. I'm not going to cover every candidate this time (sorry, Mike the Mover), but call out the most likely and the ones with notable entries in the Voters' Guide. I do recommend the Voters' Guide, because it has a strong sense of self-selection - you can get the idea of those who really want to serve against single-issue candidates and those who use the space and attention for personal rantings, free verse, and political word salad.
Turn over your papers and let's begin. My recommendations are in boldface, only because I can't put them in Comic Sans.
US SENATOR: Maria Cantwell is the incumbent, and at this point you even like her or you don't. She's strong on Boeing, Pell Grants, small business reigning in Wall Street excess and investigating gas-price spikes. I like her, think she's made the case for re-election and has help down the progressive end of spectrum pretty well. She's my main choice, and will likely be that choice this fall.
That said, Michael Baumgartner sounds like that type of Republican that I often fear is a dying breed - sane, consensus seeking, and positive. His Voters' Guide write-up hits all the right notes for a Republican in a very Blue state - fessing up to the fact that our economic problems go back more than four years, that its time to bring troops home from Afghanistan, and does not shy away from his faith but shows how it moves him delivering on it through good work. This is great first introduction to the candidate, and while I know that the Reps are treating this as a road-kill position this year, he's setting himself up nicely for future political work.
US 9th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: I'm going to miss Dave Reichert, my former congressman, but in the reapportionment they shifted him to a district that is safely red, so he won't be threatened by nasty techno-progressives from the north. No, this time he's getting challengers from the RIGHT, and if you want good reasons to vote for Reichert as a moderate, go read challenger Earnest Huber's write-up in the Guide, which spends most of its time not promoting its candidate, but railing on all the durn lubral votes that Reichert made in office. My favorite line? "He [Reichert] voted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, enshrining homosexuals in our military". Enshrining? Can't wait to see the Stations of the Cross on that one.
Now this office is in the 9th District, the new "minority-majority" district, a designation that riles me just a tad. Specifically designating a district for have more minority members sound like it operates off the assumption that diverse minority groups lockstep the same way (or even that all members of a particular ethnic group voice one way). And of course, the first election for this "majority-minority" district is five white guys. Um, tah-dah?
The incumbent here is Adam Smith (no, not the one from Wealth of Nations - the other one). Much like Reichert, his district has shifted, and he's lost Fort Lewis (Smith is the leading Dem on the Armed Services Commitee) and picked up the more techno-friendly areas of Bellevue and Mercer Island. And cue the irony in that he's being challenged on the LEFT for his military votes by progressive Tom Cramer, who has been the one candidate robo-calling (way too much) in our district. I'm going to go with Smith, but recognize that if you looking for more of a progressive, take a look at Cramer (oh, all right - the rest are traditional Republican Jim Postma, "FDR Democrat" (read LaRouche Democrat) Dave Christie, and Libertarian John Orlinski. Well at least there is diversity in the political positions (though everyone seems to want to bring back Glass-Steagall).
PRESIDENT: There's no primary for these guys in Washington State this year, but you knew that, right? Besides, I think you know who's running.
Next time, we go State-wide.
Big Bend National Park: East Side Trails - For the remainder of our stay at Big Bend, we pushed toward the distant eastern side of the national park. As we drove toward Rio Grande Village, we cros...
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