July 2020 Endorsements for Washington state elections

It’s primary voting time! Here in Washington state that means sitting down with your ballot in the comfort of your home where you can take your time and study the candidates. And that means you have no excuse not to vote all the way down the ballot.

Now, I have some biases. If you have issues you are pushing, you had better be running for an office that has the authority to do something about those issues. If you’re running for state superintendent of schools, I want to see that you’ve been at least on a school board before. And if you can’t write a coherent candidate statement and run spellcheck on it, why do you expect me to take you seriously?

Here’s my choices this time around (it was a pretty easy election, honestly):

Congressional District 8: Kim Schrier. There are 17 physicians among the 535 members of congress. Kim Schrier is the only pediatrician among them. She’s done a good job in general, and removing medical expertise from congress right now seems like a poor choice.

She’s also the only serious candidate on the ballot for this position. We have an independent who is pushing the abolition of daylight savings time and switching to the metric system, and wants term limits for federal offices unless you are “awesome.” We have a former army ranger who has no elected experience and who, among a few vague campaign promises, vows to “defeat the Socialist ideologies on the radical left.” And we have a guy who wants Trump to be dictator of the USA. We have someone pushing ranked choice voting, not realizing that this isn’t the right office to be doing that. Run for secretary of state, county auditor, or the like and we’ll talk. And last, we have a career Seattle Police Department officer and head of the Police Union, because sending someone who is tied up in Seattle’s history of resisting police reform to congress is a great idea.

This lack of serious candidates is a recurring theme in this primary.

Congressional District 9: Adam Smith. Again, he’s been doing a decent job, and he’s the only actual candidate. We have two Trump fellators and a guy who reveals a complete misunderstanding of economics, and then takes a potshot at Anthony Fauci for being economically ignorant.

Governor: Oh my dear god. Where did these people come from? There is only one candidate: Inslee. We have a Trump-ite who copied and pasted the same word salad in multiple times as his statement. We have a campaign manager who has never run for office (sorry, run something smaller than the state first). We have a guy who can’t spellcheck who is up in arms about something and seems to think that Trump create FOIA requests. We have a union socialist…but, again, wrong job. We have Tim Eyman. Why is he still in this state? Can’t we deport him to Honduras already? We have a green party candidate who wants to “transform Amazon into a public utility owned by the people.” We have someone who is going to end partisan gridlock (from the governor’s office?) and promises to “help solve our students.” One, in his statement, says he’s running for the senate. One lists his instagram account as his elected experience. A couple are college students. We have a crazy anti-semite who thinks Jews caused CoVID-19 and lists himself as “Prefers Fifth Republic Party” which I assume is not referring to the French Fifth Republic. And I haven’t even gotten through them all.

Oh, and Goodspaceguy. But wait! Goodspaceguy’s usual statement about the importance of becoming a multiplanetary society has turned into an anti-government screed. Will the iniquities of this year never end? That lovable fixture of our political system has been corrupted.

Now, one guy has an actual platform that makes sense on the surface…until you realize that his platform either mathematically doesn’t make sense or pushes issues that that this is the wrong job for. He should be running for superintendent of schools or one of Seattle’s council member positions.

So, again, Inslee is the only actual candidate.

Moving on, Lieutenant Governor! Marko Liias. The Lt. Governor’s main job is to preside over the state Senate and step in as governor when necessary. That means you had better have been a state senator long enough to not get eaten alive and you have to be a viable candidate for governor as well. Otherwise you’re not qualified to do the job. So tossing out those whose elected experience is “frosh student council president” in high school we have Marko Liias and Denny Heck. Heck pushes civility as the important thing. Liias responds “civility is the way the white power structure prevents change” (see Stranger endorsements). They both would be fine for the job. Plus Liias was the state senate majority leader, so he is probably better qualified for the job.

Secretary of State: Gael Tarleton. We have a guy running on the platform of implementing approval voting. Thank you! The right algorithm and the right position! But again, elected official is “most inspirational” from his high school track team. We have a guy who is the director of the No Vote By Mail Project, so he’s automatically off the list. Kim Wyman fucked up rolling out the new voter registration system, so, sorry. Gael Tarleton has been a state rep for many years, and has an interesting background as a DIA analyst.

State Treasurer: Mike Pellicciotti. The incumbent has failed to show up for the treasurer’s business meetings for his time in office and has categorically halted any investigation of a state bank for Washington. Pellicciotti is coming from the state house of representatives and the budget committee there, so he’s probably running because he’s tired of trying to kick the incumbent into doing his job. This one’s a no-brainer.

State Auditor: Pat McCarthy. There’s a police officer running who doesn’t seem to have any particular qualifications. There’s a CPA who insists that the office should be filled by a CPA. It never has been. Perhaps it should. But if that’s the only argument you have for why you should be elected, then I’m going with the incumbent, who’s been doing quite well.

Attorney General: Bob Ferguson. This is an easy one. You have Bob Ferguson, who has been one of the most important protectors of rule of law in the USA for the past few years, and a bunch of Trump fellators with huge amounts of dark money pouring in from outside the state to back them.

Commissioner of Public Lands: Hillary Franz. This lady was born for this position. Our other options? A guy who pushes organic hemp farming as the way to create living wage jobs for Washingtonians and wants to speak for the animals, and a UW Fisheries Biologist. The UW fisheries department folks are some of the only people left in the world who think that salmon farms are an ecologically okay idea and are regarded as cranks, kooks, and shills by the rest of the biology community. No way should be anywhere from that background be anywhere near this position.

Superintendent of public instruction: Chris Reykdal. So, plenty of loonies in this one. A former state superintendent that hates the common core and is more concerned that children know the pledge of allegiance, that artifact of McCarthy-era witchhunts, than that they learn why screwing stranger bareback is a bad idea. There’s a reason why he’s a former state superintendent. There’s a guy who was on the Snohomish school board, but he doesn’t actually have any actual proposals about what needs to be done. A couple of folks who haven’t even served on a schoolboard. And then Reykdal with a panel of things that need attention, such as mental health support and education access in rural communities. Again, only one candidate.

Insurance commissioner: Mike Kreidler. This one is sad, as one of the candidates openly declares himself as autistic, and his statement makes it very clear that his disabilities preclude him from successfully executing the duties of this office. And then there’s the guy who has no experience, and whose concrete proposals are what Kriedler is already doing. Kriedler, meanwhile, has actually done some important things with his time in the office.

Legislative District 41 state senator: Lisa Wellman. Okay, so we have an incumbent who’s done a pretty good job, and we have a contractor who didn’t get someone to proofread his statement and appears to think that Kirkland’s economy is in shambles. The incumbent it is.

Legislative District 41 representative position 1: Tana Senn, running unopposed. Been doing a decent job and no one registered to run against her. Okay.

Legislative District 41 representative position 2: My-Linh Thai. I actually know My-Linh’s voting record and wide ranging actions from my wife’s involvement in a Bellevue school board race last election. She’s impressive. The phrase from Hamilton comes to mind: “Immigrants. They get the job done.” Then we have a youngster who is worried about education, a physician worried about the medical system during CoVID, and a engineer worried about I-405’s traffic capacity (again, wrong job!—and, looking at his positions, I think his heart is in the right place but there are a bunch of things he doesn’t know about the issues he’s writing about). I agree that the first two are serious problems, and I think that My-Linh is more likely to get traction on both of them than the other two are on either of them. But this is the least loony set of inexperienced candidates that I have seen.

So there you have my ballot. There was one election on this ballot where there were two reasonable choices. One!