Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Political Desk: State Executive Offices

So we've run through most of the Washington State Executive already back in the Primary, so most of this should not be a surprise. But some things have changed, so let's go down the list.

Governor: Jay Inslee is still my choice, despite getting more black eyes this term than a beholder in a boxing match. His opponent, Bill Bryant. comes out of my favorite hive of scum and villainy, the Port Authority, and wants everyone to forget about inviting that Shell drill rig into Puget Sound without telling anyone. Oh, and he doesn't like Trump, anymore. Sorry to take so long to tell you.

Lt. Governor: I still support Cyrus Habib. He's my nod to a trouble-maker candidate, one who promises to shake things up from its moribund nature of the position under Brad Owen. Fun Fact: His opponent, Marty McLendon, is co-host with Doug Basler (from the previous entry) of a radio talk show, and the only state-wide candidate to openly support the Republican presidential nominee.

Secretary of State: Man, this one hurts. I tend to really support professional people who do their jobs well, which gives incumbents a real leg-up. And Kim Wyman has been a good heir to the even-handedness of predecessor Sam Reed. But since the last election, there have been a series of announcements and miscues that really give me pause about Ms. Wyman. We have the Attorney General dinging her campaign for its record-keeping, which is minor as scandals go, but still telling. Then there was a screwup telling folk in Pierce County that they have to mail in their ballots by the 4th, not the 8th, but that fight is with the county's current auditor. But we do have the Spanish language version of the Voters' Guide that uses the word "felony" wrong, which smacks of vote suppression. But the big one was a trying to push a state voting ID card on the back of the recent tragic shooting at the Cascade Mall, claiming the shooter was not a Washington citizen (he was). So, yeah, I'm done. There's another option.  Let's go for Tina Podlowski this time out.

State Treasurer: Well, we're getting a Republican, regardless of who you vote for. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I know, people are grumbling over the top-two election, but to be frank, we have a lot of local positions where there are not any Republicans running, so there is enough to complain about from both sides. Duane Davidson gets good marks as the treasurer for Benton County, but the Stranger reveals that in the primary stages, he said he would be voting for Trump, and everyone in the room, including his opponents, tried to talk him him out of it. Since then he has moved to a more to a more aggressively neutral position, but still, there's that. His opponent, Michael Waite, an Australian immigrant and financial professional, doesn't have the governmental chops, but has moved around large chunks of cash. Yeah, Duane Davidson, I suppose.

State Auditor: This might go GOP as well, since the last guy in the office was a Dem with a very sketchy business history and who resisted all attempts by everyone (including the Guv) to get him out (Protip: Never trust any politician who plans on running government like a business). The idea of a party flip  is sad, because Pat (Patrice) McCarthy, Pierce County Executive, came up through the ranks as an auditor and looks fine for the job. The Times did a epistemological backflip to support her opponent, declaring "McCarthy's service is laudable, but the state Auditor's Office would benefit from having a leader who has not worked for and led major agencies that it must scrutinize". So according to the Times, experience is a BAD thing. Mind you, the current Auditor, who also had not worked for the agencies that must be scrutinized, is the one that has damaged the office, and someone who actually knows what she is doing, like Ms. McCarthy, would be the best person to restore trust.

Attorney General: Bob Ferguson is a tough cookie. He's gone after major corporations and actually has led the country on cracking down on Kickstarter fraud. So yeah, Bob Ferguson (with a note that if you prefer the GOP, you're out of luck, but we DO have a Libertarian in Joshua B. Turnbull).

Commissioner of Public Lands: Hilary Franz wasn't my choice in the primary, but she's good, with a stronger environmental background. Her opponent has anti-government extremists lined up behind him, though he is trying to distance himself from them, he isn't doing a very good job.  Hilary Franz.

Superintendent  of Public Instruction: OK, let me be frank, Both Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal are good choices. This blog supported Erin Jones by a whisker in the Primary. And since then, some ... stuff ... has shown up, where she's less than supportive of the LGBTQ community. She's fessed up to her mistake, she's opened the doors, and she takes responsibility. That's all good. Better not to cast one's self down the rabbit hole in the first place, a rabbit hole which her opponent, Chris Reykdal, avoided nimbly. So I'm conflicted, and will go back and forth a couple times on this before I put pen to ballot. I'm going to say that both candidates have strong resumes and are dedicated to education, and will be key in the coming year as Education must be hacked out in the courts. I am still supporting Erin Jones, but I feel that both she and Chris Reykdal will be up to the task.

And finally, Insurance Commission Mike Kriedler has been doing a good job. Let's keep him.

More later.