Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Local Politics: State Senate (47th)

Back to the local politics and our Voter's Pamphlet, this time with the State Senator position from the 47th. This is an open seat, since the BIAW is buying incumbent Stephen Johnson a seat on the State Supreme Court (but more about that later). We have a single GOP candidate for the slot and two Democrats running for the position.

Hey, how did THAT happen? Someone must have slipped up in shipping.

The two Democratic candidates are Claudia Kauffman and Ed Crawford, and both hit the ground with a fistful of personal background and endorsements. Kauffman? Lifer Democrat, mother, foster mother, Chamber of commerce, small business owner (her site DOES identify the business - Red Morning Star Enterprises (Native American Regalia)), director of Intergovernmental relations for the Muckleshoot tribe. Endorsements from Former governor Mike Lowry, Ron Sims, EMILY's List, League of Education Voters. Her mailers (attaining almost Reichert-esque levels of frequency and variety) show her with Maria Cantwell and Hillary Clinton. Heavy stuff to bring to bear just for the primary, but she's prepared for a fight.

As for Ed Crawford, he's a former (award-winning) Kent Police Chief, packing endorsements from the 47th District Democrats, the Washington State Labor Council, the Sierra Club, the Washington Education Association, and (an endorsement that carries weight in this area) the Kent Firefighters. No, I'm not making it up - getting the firefighters on your side (and often on your yard signs) is a major force. He also, according to his bio, A stand up guy. His mailer operation is a little more subdued, much more in the "hey, I'm running category".

The strange thing is, this sounds like a win-win situation, a choice between two positive, industrious candidates. To get a better idea, I went to the Municipal League site for advise. Crawford got an Outstanding rating, which Kauffman got a Very Good rating, which is nothing to sneeze at. So we are in that weird position where there are two good candidates on the ballot, either of one of which would be a strong contender. I am partial to Crawford only because I know a case of integrity - during the recent heated elections for Kent' Mayor, he said he'd step down from Police Chief is one candidate won. That candidate did win, and rather than back off or temper his decision, Crawford stepped down. Its a small thing, but in a field where politicos find reasons to back off earlier claims, it is noted.

On the GOP side we have one candidate, Mike Riley, who talks about 9/11 with actually a little more believability than most who wrap themselves in the debris of that day. This is his big background card - he was working in an air traffic controller during the attack, and in his own words "It was my job to tell unbelieving pilots that they had to land their plane mid-flight or they would be forced down". It may be cruel, but images of a Bob Newhart routine gone desperately, desperately wrong flashed through my mind when I read this. His positions are in the line of running for government with the intention of crippling that government's ability to get things done. Which, of course, has worked out so well for the past few years on a national level. And his site identifies him as the heir to Stephen Johnson's seat.

But more about Johnson next, as the nastiest battle lies just ahead.

More later,