Government and Politics

Political news

How To Pass A Ballot Measure

Nov 15, 2012

The folks over at CFM Strategic Communications, a prominent Oregon lobbying/public relations firm, have written up an interesting post-election analysis of the campaign to pass Ballot Measure 79. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. - In Olympia, a new revenue outlook shows a shortfall in the next state budget cycle. That is putting renewed attention on promises not to raise taxes.

Washington's Democratic governor-elect Jay Inslee made such a pledge during the recent campaign. So did many Republicans elected to the Legislature.

The chief budget writer for House Democrats, Ross Hunter, says he's working on a no-new-taxes spending blueprint for the next two years. But Hunter Wednesday predicted the product will include so many unpalatable cuts, he doubts it could pass.

Austin Jenkins

SEATTLE, Wash. – Washington Governor-elect Jay Inslee says states are the incubators of new ideas – and that should extend to marijuana legalization. Inslee Wednesday said he’s hopeful Washington’s new recreational pot law can take effect without federal interference.

Inslee didn’t support Washington’s marijuana legalization initiative. But now that it has passed he says, “The voters have spoken.”

Inslee says he will work in a “rational and mature” way to persuade the Obama administration to allow Washington to implement the law.

McKenna Concedes Wash. Governor’s Race

Nov 9, 2012

Former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee has declared victory in Washington’s tight contest for governor. The announcement came Friday night shortly after Republican Rob McKenna conceded the race.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democrat Jay Inslee says he has a 95-percent chance of ultimately winning Washington’s race for governor. That’s based on an internal statistical analysis his campaign released Friday. But with hundreds of thousands of ballots still uncounted, Republican Rob McKenna is digging in for the long haul. Meanwhile at county election offices the ballot counting is getting slower, not faster.

There are still three-quarters of a million ballots to be counted in Washington’s too-close-to-call governor’s race. Democrat Jay Inslee holds a narrow lead over Republican Rob McKenna.

But McKenna isn’t conceding. To overtake Inslee, McKenna would need to gain a significant advantage among voters who waited to cast their ballots. C With so many ballots yet uncounted, there’s no reason to call the race right now.

Washington’s race for governor still hasn’t been called. Hundreds of thousands of ballots remain uncounted. A disproportionate number of those votes are in heavily Democratic King County, with nearly a third of the state’s electorate.

That would seem to bode well for Democrat Jay Inslee. Inslee retains a narrow lead over Republican Rob McKenna.

The conventional wisdom and the statistical analysis would seem to suggest that while the race may tighten that Jay Inslee will be the next governor of Washington but nobody’s conceding and nobody’s declaring victory just yet.

The campaign against same-sex marriage in Washington conceded defeat on Referendum 74. Its passage upholds the state legislature's law allowing gay marriage in Washington.

Late arriving ballots are still being counted, but Preserve Marriage Washington chairman Joseph Backholm concedes it's very unlikely his side can stage a comeback. They're trailing 52 to 48 percent right now.

Backholm challenges the notion that voter approval of same-sex marriage in Washington and two East Coast states represents a "historic" turning point.

SALEM, Ore. – Republicans in the Oregon House will be in the minority after this week’s election. A historic 30-30 split in the chamber has ended with Democratic wins Tuesday night in key districts. But Republicans say they hope the recent bipartisanship will carry over into the next legislative session.

LYNNWOOD, Wash. - Supporters of same sex marriage in Washington declared victory Tuesday. But opponents of gay marriage are not prepared to concede defeat on the statewide Referendum 74. They point out that there are more than a million ballots yet to be counted.

Nonetheless, Preserve Marriage Washington chairman Joseph Backholm has considered why he may end up on the losing side. Last night, he said the result has a lot to do with being vastly outspent.

The race for Washington governor remains too close to call. But Democrat Jay Inslee said Wednesday he’s already forming a transition team to prepare to take office. The former congressman leads Republican attorney general Rob McKenna 51 percent to 49 percent.

In a Seattle press conference, Inslee acknowledged ballots are still being counted. But he said he’s confident enough to begin the transition process.

The two candidates for Washington governor are still awaiting more voting tallies in an election contest that remains to close to call. At this hour, Democrat Jay Inslee leads Republcan Rob McKenna 51.3 percent % to 48.7 percent. The McKenna campaign is hoping for a turn-around in the numbers.

Statistically, it is still within the realm of possibility. The reality is that Democrats think that they have a victory here, a victory at hand. But they also think it’s going to be a one-point margin for Jay Inslee.

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Republican Rob McKenna says it could take until Friday to know the winner of Washington’s closely contested governor’s race. With a little more than half the expected ballots counted, McKenna was trailing Democrat Jay Inslee by about two-and-a-half percentage points.

Mixed Results For Northwest Marijuana Measures

Nov 7, 2012

PORTLAND – The Northwest delivered mixed results were mixed for two marijuana legalization measures on the ballot. Voters in Washington approved an initiative to legalize pot in limited quantities. But voters in Oregon rejected an attempt to allow recreational use of the drug.

Measure 80 chief petitioner Paul Stanford says he's not giving up.

"We'll be back with another initiative in 2014. We're here to stay. We're not going away. And we're going to see full national legalization of marijuana over the next five years. I'm sure of that."

BOISE - Idaho voters delivered a resounding defeat to three new education laws. Voters said no to limits on teacher bargaining rights, to creating a pay-for-performance system and to ramping up classroom technology. Opponents were successful, in part, by billing the laws as an attack on teachers.

When the first results came in, the Vote No campaign brought out the bagpipes.

Opponents of Props 1, 2 and 3 went head-to-head with Idaho's Republican state superintendent Tom Luna, who pushed the laws through the legislature.

Same-Sex Marriage Sponsor Says Votes Send National Message

Nov 7, 2012

If current trends hold, Washington appears headed toward legalizing same-sex marriage. But opponents of Referendum 74 say the vote is still too close to call and they’re not conceding defeat. At this hour, the “pro” side is leading 52 to 48 percent.

State Senator Ed Murray was the chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the Washington legislature. He said he's confident the same-sex marriage referendum will pass.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Last night’s election put Washington’s electoral map on display. For the most part, Western counties near the Puget Sound voted one way, while Eastern Washington voted more conservative on the issues of same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana and in the race for governor. Correspondent Anna King attended a Republican campaign party in Richland,

An alleged case of ballot tampering in Oregon’s Clackamas County has implications for races statewide. Officials say a volunteer elections worker is suspected of marking votes for Republicans in races a voter had left blank.

Clackamas County is considered a key swing area in statewide races in Oregon. It's also home to several hotly contested legislative districts that could determine the balance of power in the Oregon House.

Pastors Use Pulpits To Ease Election Day Rancor

Nov 4, 2012

PORTLAND — In this election, religion has sometimes played a divisive role. But on election night, churches throughout the Northwest — and the country — will try to use their pulpits to ease the rancor of politics.

Electoral politics don’t always have the nicest soundtrack. You’ve heard the ominous music in the ads.

“Good for them — bad for us,” says one spot.

“Doesn’t America deserve better?” says another.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – New polls show Washington’s open race for governor remains close. Already hundreds of thousands of Washington voters have returned their ballots. Many more will do so in the coming days. But county auditors have a warning to voters who wait until the last minute.

In Oregon you have to have your ballot in by 8pm on Election night. But in Washington you just have to have your ballot postmarked. That means for days after the election ballots keep on rolling in and they get counted -– unless the postmark is past the due date.

What if there was a crystal ball that could reveal the outcome of an election? Turns out modern day campaigns use forecast models to project the winner of a race long before a single vote is counted.

In vote-by-mail states like Washington or Oregon, political parties and campaigns have an advantage. They can find out on a daily basis if you’ve returned your ballot.

Northwest Election Law Hotlines Tend To Be Snoozers

Oct 30, 2012

This election day, the U.S. Department of Justice will have federal attorneys in every state, ready to take complaints. It's a long-standing program aimed at combating election fraud and voter rights abuses. But the hotlines tend to be pretty quiet in the Northwest.

The election day program has been around for decades. But attorneys in Oregon and eastern Washington say -– at least in recent memory -– they haven't gotten any complaints. Western Washington received a few calls in 2008 about voter registration issues.

Washington Considers Another Impact Of Wolves: Skinny Cows

Oct 30, 2012

Washington ranchers who can show that wolves are making their cattle lose weight could get reimbursed under a new proposal. The rule before the Fish and Wildlife Commission would expand a compensation program for ranchers living in wolf country.

Washington’s cattle ranchers aren’t the first to complain about skinny livestock. Ranchers in Idaho and Oregon also say the reintroduction of wolves has made sheep and cattle move more and eat less.

That translates into the bottom line, says Dave Ware. He’s the game manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Democratic Party says it will donate contributions from controversial spiritual leader JZ Knight to the Anti-Defamation League and the campaign to uphold gay marriage. That announcement late Friday follows the release of new video clips that show Knight making offensive and at times bizarre comments about gay people and people from Mexico.

The latest video clips were released by the conservative Freedom Foundation. In them Knight says gay men were once Catholic women. And attacks people from Mexico.

Washington Secretary of State

OLYMPIA, Wash. - In the presidential race, we hear a lot about the electoral map -- and the math to winning the presidency. It’s all about swing states like Ohio and Florida. At the state level, there’s no electoral college. The candidate with the most votes wins. But there’s still a formula for victory -- even in blue states like Washington and Oregon.

Former state Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt says the way to navigate a path to victory in Washington -- if you’re a Democrat -- involves what he calls a “salt water strategy.”

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Both candidates for Washington governor have said “no” to higher taxes. But, outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire says she will propose a new source of funding for public schools before she leaves office in January.

For months Gregoire has been saying the state will have to come up with a new revenue source for schools. This after the Supreme Court ruled Washington is not adequately funding education.

But now, for the first time, Gregoire confirms she will propose a new funding source as one of her last acts as governor.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Republicans have released documents that show Governor Chris Gregoire appointed a state senator to a $92,000 a year job –- despite concerns that the senator wasn’t qualified for the position. This is just the latest development in a political drama touched off by the appointment.

Most City Councils In Northwest Have No Latinos

Sep 24, 2012

YAKIMA, Wash. – According to an estimate from a database of Hispanic officeholders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, nearly nine out of 10 city councils across the Northwest have no Latino members.

One of the cities with no Latino representations is located in one of the most heavily Hispanic parts of our region, Yakima, Washington. And the ACLU is suing over the issue.

So why does the region's largest minority group have so little clout in the political arena?

Flip through the radio dial in Yakima and you’ll hear lots of Spanish.

Religion Not A Factor In Latino Politics

Sep 24, 2012

PASCO, Wash. - Religion is one of the most defining characteristics of Latino culture. But pollsters say it plays virtually no role in how they vote. And for two Mexican-American siblings, faith shapes the lives but not their politics.

I learn a lot about Marielena Hernandez just by where she wants to meet for an interview.

Marielena is 21 years old and she greets me while holding her infant daughter Nicole at her childhood home, in Pasco, in Eastern Washington where her parents still live.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There’s a government office in Olympia where employees travel the globe and titans of Wall Street are regular visitors. The singer Bono even dropped in once, after a concert.

We’re talking about the Washington State Investment Board. Its job is to maximize returns on an $85 billion investment portfolio. To do that the Board invests in some very exotic places.

About the closest most of us will ever get to Tahiti is a Paul Gaughin painting or the beach image on our computer screensaver. But Steve Draper’s been there several times.

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