February 26, 2006


Cantwell must convince E. Washington voters she represents their voices (Rick Eskil, 2/26/06, Seattle Times)

Eastern Washington's soil is known for the wheat, wine grapes and sweet onions it produces.

But U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is looking at Eastern Washington as fertile ground for something else — votes. The senator and her campaign staff see the region as having the greatest potential to improve on her 2000 showing in which she beat incumbent Slade Gorton in a squeaker.

Frankly, Cantwell has nowhere to go but up. She was crushed throughout Eastern Washington. Gorton, a Republican, outpolled Democrat Cantwell by at least a 2-to-1 margin in most counties.

Matt Butler, Cantwell's campaign manager, said his candidate plans to spend considerable time and devote resources to Eastern Washington in this fall's campaign against her Republican challenger, Mike McGavick.

McGavick must convince W. Washington voters he's mainstream (Joni Balter, 2/26/06, Seattle Times)
Former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick is the Republicans' best hope in six years to grab a U.S. Senate seat in Democratic-leaning Washington state. McGavick is young, smart and speaks moderate GOP-ese. He has the distinction of being fresh and new and therefore a candidate with minimal baggage.

Eight months before the U.S. Senate election in Washington, President George Bush is wildly unpopular in our state. McGavick mentions his Republican status and, subliminally, his connection to Bush only in the last seconds of an introductory TV ad. But Democrats will remind voters at every turn McGavick is another vote for Bush and the equally unpopular Republican Congress.

Therefore, if McGavick wants to beat Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell in suburban King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, where the 2006 election will be decided, he has to play against type. He has to offer a mainstream GOP message clear and distinct from the Bush White House.

McGavick largely agrees with the president on the Iraq war, a position problematic in Western Washington, where voters are ready to hear the words "end game." McGavick believes it is foolish to announce a timetable for leaving because it reveals too much.

He also agrees with Bush on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, on renewal of the Patriot Act, on confirmation of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

McGavick distinguishes himself from Bush, however, by being moderately pro-choice. He is for a woman's right to choose, but against federal funding for abortion, which unnerves those who bristle at limiting rights for a class of women. He won't say if Roe v. Wade should be overturned. His limited pro-choice stance must be reconciled with his support for Alito, who is almost certainly another vote to overturn Roe.

Republicans can say whatever they want about "choice" as long as they keep voting against it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2006 9:10 AM

I used to live on both sides of the state. Unfortunately, there are less voters in eastern Washington than in western Washington; doubly unfortunate that they cheat in western Washington, especially King County.

Posted by: pchuck at February 26, 2006 11:50 AM

How dare you accuse Ron Sims and Dean Logan and the King Co. Machine of cheating. They are just "creatively enfranchising" voters. And what's wrong with saying the voting's not over until the Dem's ahead? Whose fault is it that the lazy, forgetful and procrastinators tend to vote Dem?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 26, 2006 2:45 PM

Purple fingers for King County voters.

Posted by: Genecis at February 26, 2006 3:37 PM

Great idea! Maybe King Co. can include little packets of purple ink, like the ketchup you get at the drive through, along with every mail-in ballot they send out.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Well, the byline explains it all. It's no surprise that Balter writes "President George Bush is wildly unpopular in our state" when she really means "President George Bush is wildly unpopular in Seattle".

Posted by: Kirk Parker at February 27, 2006 12:48 AM