Spokompton has been doing some great stuff on the upcoming lands commissioner race in Washington State next year and they point out the main difference between the Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark and the incumbent Doug Sutherland.
Goldmark is a rancher from the eastern, rural side of the state. Sutherland is a career politician and government tactician from the urban Puget Sound.
More from Spokompton on Sutherland:
Sutherland served on the Tacoma city council in 1980-81, before being elected Mayor of Tacoma. He held that post until the end of 1989, when he took the job of City Manager in the newly incorporated SeaTac. He was there until 1992, when he took over as Pierce County Executive. That post he held through the end of 2000, when he began his first term as Commissioner of Public Lands. In his first campaign he defeated Democrat
Jennifer Belcher(actually it was former Gov. Mike Lowry, eoc), after successfully painting her as a stereotypical far-left liberal. I recall that election season in Eastern Washington for the great deal of talk about endangered owls and how little they mattered to Washingtonians. In 2004, Sutherland fended off Democrat Mike Cooper in a much lower-profile race, likely due to the national political conflagration that was President Bush’s Reelection.
So, how does it work out that a government establishment Republican from the urban Puget Sound runs a race against an insurgent Democratic rancher from the rural east? What kind of themes does Sutherland pick up? Stay the course?
Prairie populist Goldmark is giving us a look at what his themes may end up being:
I want to return the office to the people of Washington. I will treat our public lands-and the people who use them-with respect. It is vital that we treat our public lands as a long-term resource, to keep Washington's forests and fields healthy.
Emmett O'Connell | July 19, 2007 | Comment on This Post (1 so far)
This is wonderful:
The New West Project, headquartered in Denver, will conduct research and develop strategies to secure and exploit recent Democratic gains in the Western states, party sources said.
At least four Western governors - Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Bill Ritter, Colorado's governor-elect - are expected to lead the group's advisory council, the sources said. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado and other members of Congress will provide "strategic guidance."
Reid confirmed the creation of the new organization, which he said would "build upon the leadership of people such as governors Napolitano, Richardson and Schweitzer" and "work to focus attention on the West."
This is a high level group. Consider the Western Strategy in play, my friends. It is wonderful to see this sort of institutional arrangement that will only benefit our local, state and national candidates long term. It looks like part think tank, part strategy firm, part communications development - all aspects that will be welcome by the plethora of candidates that will be running these next few cycles to take advantage of our our new promise out here in the west.
The best part of the article? The quote from an unnamed "Western Democrat":
As an example of what the new organization may do, the Western Democrat said that political professionals would analyze such questions as "the difference between first- and second-generation Hispanic voters, ... what motivates them and how we communicate with them," as well as "why a recent transplant from California, who has voted Republican all her life, is now voting for Democrats."
Good question, "Western Democrat" - it just leaves me amazed to see our namesake invoked so strikingly in an article. Methinks the author of the article, John Aloysius Farrell , might just be an reader of our humble site. If so, thanks for the article John - we'll be watching for you in the future.
It's great to have a new project designed for this express purpose and examining the multitude of new questions that are arising from the new political climate in the West. Now, if any of those people involved in the project are paying attention it would behoove them greatly to include netroots and blog outreach as an element of the project. You see, since major political focus has been absent from the West for awhile the netroots and blogosphere have been proliferating and recruiting top candidates all over the place. It would be an essential element of any plan that you should put together.
Here's the The New West Project!
Landon Mascareñaz | December 6, 2006 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)
I know I've been throwing out a lot of love to Idaho lately, but Democrats in that state are running strong and part of the party's resurgence in the West. New polling shows that the Idaho Governor's race and the 1st Congressional District race are both statistical dead heats.
For the first time since the early 1990s, the outcome of a statewide election appears in doubt with just 10 days to go.
An Idaho Statesman/Today's 6 poll says races for governor, 1st Congressional District and school superintendent are essentially tied.
In the governor's race, Republican U.S. Rep. Butch Otter leads Democratic newspaper owner Jerry Brady by a single percentage point. Republican state Rep. Bill Sali has a 2 percentage point lead over Democratic businessman Larry Grant for the congressional seat that runs from West Boise north to Canada. In the race to oversee public schools, Democrat Jana Jones leads Republican Tom Luna by 3 percentage points.
The key here is that for the first time since the early 1990's Democrats are running strong and poised to win seats that they haven't controlled in years, and all of this is happening in one of the reddest states in the union.
So since it's late in the game to be donating money, if you live in Idaho (or on the border in eastern Washington or eastern Oregon), please do what you can to help these candidates get out the vote. These races are going to be won by a superior ground game and they need all the volunteers they can get. That's not to say that races in Washington and Oregon aren't important, but we need to help our neighbors when we can.
To volunteer, please contact:
Joaquin over at The Plaza (Bill Richardson's campaign blog) showcases some new economic incentives the Governor is proposing. The main focus is tax cuts for working families, veterans and people that invest in New Mexico. Some highlights (I used ellipsis to designate snipping, check the post to read the whole package):
WORKING FAMILIES Working Families Tax Credit - the centerpiece of the Governor's tax-cut package, which is modeled after the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. This tax credit will reward work, and help working families--who earn between $11,000 and $36,000. As many as 139,000 taxpayers will benefit by an average of $180 per return...
MILITARY AND MILITARY RETIREES...
Tax Cuts for active-duty military - exempting military pay from state income taxes, which means an average of $1,340 in tax benefit to 7,000 New Mexicans...
Gross Receipts Tax Deduction for Hospitals - Most of the hospitals affected operate in small, rural areas and on the front lines when it comes to caring for those most in need. This tax cut will allow more money that can be invested in local jobs, technology and direct patient care.
Gross Receipts Tax Relief for Mutual Funds - an incentive for investment management firms to bring well-paying financial services jobs to New Mexico.
Angel Investment Credit - an incentive for New Mexicans who invest in high-tech, start-up companies.
Now I know that tax cuts aren't the natural red meat for Democrats around the country. But isn't that the point? In Chain Reaction: The impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (Norton, 1991), the authors argue that
The tax revolt was a major turning point in American politics. It provided new muscle and new logic to the formation of a conservative coalition opposed to the liberal welfare state. The division of the electorate along lines of taxpayes versus tax recipients dovetailed with racial divisions...The tax revolt provided conservatism with a powerful internal coherance, shaping an anti-government ethic, and firmly establishing new grounds for the disaffection of white working- and middle-class voters from their traditional Democratic roots.
It is wonderful to see Democratic politicians such as Richardson using the language of taxation to advance a progressive and electorally successful agenda. Since working families have a higher marginal propensity to consume, the state of New Mexico will even see greater rewards from this system. Too often in national or local politics, conservative Republicans use the language of the tax revolt to mobilize white working or middle class, decades after the true revolt occurred. That is because the language is power (your money, your freedom) and Democrats have often neglected to speak the language effectively.
I look forward to the day where national Democratic politicians challenge the GOP along these lines in a highly publicized way and ask them to come out against tax cuts for working families and veterans while supporting those for millionaires.
Landon Mascareñaz | October 18, 2006 | Comment on This Post (1 so far)
With some good poll numbers coming in showing him only a few points down from Jon Kyl, it looks like Jim Pederson actuall has a chance. Despite what I wrote here, he seems to be gaining some post Labor Day ground against who I thought would be a good target.
wactivist has a pretty good explanation of what might be going on:
Arizona activists on blogs, in Democratic meetings, and while talking with their friends and families have in the past been quick to criticize and dismiss Pederson’s chances. Let’s just admit that outright. The truth is, the guy isn’t always given much of a chance by the same people who probably are most dedicated to him winning.
There are always a bunch of reasons given – some that might be true, some that definitely aren’t – but the consensus around these parts is that the Pederson campaign was still-born – he is a good guy – has the resources to win – but for whatever reason, Kyl will roll to victory.
People reacted similiarly to Jason Williams’ campaign. For whatever reason, activist chatter dismissed Williams – and look what happened? He quietly put together a strong effort, with disciplined message and good outreach. He shocked everyone but himself by winning – and I think Jim might be in that same boat.
Over the past few months, under the guidance of new campaign manager Sky Gallegos, an agressive communications team, and a more than amazing public schedule (heh, had to say that) – the Pederson campaign has been getting their message out in the media, has been airing effective TV ads both for Jim, and against Kyl – and the net result is a determined campaign clawing their way out of a hole that some of us worried was insurmountable as they close in on a lead.
Plus, Kyl going negative may put the incumbent in a much worse light than he would have been:
On the other hand the Kyl campaign has gone all buck-wild. Attacking Jim for being wealthy and putting his own money into his campaign … an attack which CLEARLY has no traction – but they are in love with. This money thing seems especially foolish when you realize how much money Kyl has in the bank from special interests. I’ll take a guy putting his own hard cash into what he believes ANY DAY over a guy who is getting checks from every evil special interest in America to do his bidding.
The Kyl campaign and the GOP are petty – making silly jokes and childish accusations – always confused that the electorate in AZ is always and forever locked into the conservative mold they hope it is.
But Arizonans, just like the rest of the country, are fed up with what is going on in Washington – and the Kyl campaign’s refusal to actually engage on the issues and put forward a postive agenda is going to be their achilles heel – no matter HOW MUCH money they have.
For those that are interested, I've been pointed in the direction of an exciting new location in the blogosphere.
Bill Richardson's website now has a working blog:
While the blog is still in it's early stages, you can already create a profile and start posting diaries. It says quite a bit that the campaign has put together a blog of this quality that allows such direct user interface and connection.
I'll also give props to those that put together the Guv's website - it's clean, very New Mexican and contains quite a bit of content for a man running for re-election at 65% approval rating.
I'm looking forward to seeing some Western Dem readers on that blog - I'll be posting as Frontier Democrat, my handle on DailyKos as well.
Let's keep some energy on the blog because you know the campaign's watching to make sure people like us use it. If you're a Richardson fan (I won't pretend to admit I'm not), head on over and start posting. If you're not, check it out anyway during this election season and learn some more about the man and what he has done for New Mexico.
See ya'll there.
In a modern democracy, the people's will must be able to be freely expressed through fair and honest voting systems. We all know the stories of Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Katherine Harris in Florida. Because of their malfeasance, the true intent of their state's voters will never be known.
Out in the West, we sense a growing demand for honesty and integrity in elections. Arizona has a clean money system for finance, New Mexico has a mandated paper trail for all its ballots and Oregon, with their vote-by-mail, sets a great western standard for civic participation (turnout in 2004 was 70.9%) and strengthening democratic ideals.
Enter the Secretary of State Project:
The Secretary of State Project was created by concerned citizens to provide an easy-to-use, low-cost vehicle for online donations to key Secretary of State races.
The Secretary of State Project evaluates candidates based on their positions on election issues - primarily support for a voter-verifed paper trail and transparency of the voting process, strict enforcement of laws preventing voter intimidation, opposition to any and all barriers to voting by and registration of citizens, and a committment to increasing voter turnout rather than suppressing the votes of traditionally disenfranchised groups. While a progressive enterprise at its heart, the Secretary of State Project does not screen candidates for issue positions unrelated to the duties of the office of Secretary of State, including but not limited to the war in Iraq, gay marriage, a woman's right to choose, or U.S. trade policy.
Money spent in these races will go much, much, much farther than money spent elsewher due to the nature of their usual competition and media markets. It's great to see organizations like this making the move and organizing off to the sides where it matters quite a bit.
Under the gun to meet tight election-day deadlines, the Secretary of State's office certified a kind of voting machine for Jefferson and Mesa Counties that does not meet state requirements.
The information comes from the deposition of John Gardner - the man appointed by Gigi Dennis as an expert and charged with certifying the machines.
But Gardner testified he is not an expert in the areas required by state law. He also admitted that the Secretary of State's office was under pressure to certify the voting machines because counties had already purchased them.
Democratic candidate for Secretary of State and state Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon issued a release today criticizing Dennis.
"I call on Secretary Dennis to immediately hire competent staff and perform adequate and thorough testing, as the law requires her to do," Gordon said in the release. "There must be a competent examination of these computerized voting machines before the election. There are critical decisions for Colorado to make this November. We cannot have trust in the results on election night if serious doubts surround our computerized voting machines."
Though Congress is definately the dog and pony show of 2006, down-ballot races such as these will make all the difference in the world. If you believe the battle for Congress is key to the future elections, how can we count on elections when we can't count our votes?
Support The Secretary of State Project.
Jon Tester is giving Sen. Conrad Burns a run for his money. Actually, I don't think anyone would be surprised come November if Burns was beaten by Tester.
Jack Carter in Nevada is starting to run even with Sen. John Ensign. Carter came into this race somewhat late, had a weird start with a smoking pot confession, and despite not being a politician, is turning up the heat in Nevada.
John Pederson, on the other hand, is still running in double digits behind Jon Kyl, the not so special junior Senator from Arizona. Kyl is certainly no Sen. John McCain in terms of being a maverick and is almost the poster child for the stalled immigration reform package. He's the harsh kind of partisan that you would think a smart Western Dem would have a good chance against.
Also President Bush's support in Arizona is soft, and while Kyl's poll numbers have never been super, they have pulled up significantly as the election approaches. Actually, his worst performance was during the months of the immigration debate.
So, what are Tester and Carter doing well why is Pederson not getting any traction?
My main thought has to do with whether each candidate is an outsider. Tester fits the bill. Despite being a state legislator and a legislative leader, he had a primary race against a popular statewide elected.
Carter, on the other hand, is the true outsider. He really has nothing to lose and is running like it. He came from private industry, convinced by Katrina a year ago that public service was where he needed to go.
Pederson as the former chair of the Arizona Democratic Party is, probably safe to say, the most insider of the three. This probably changes his style a bit, while Tester and Carter can feel free to take chances, Pederson takes the well trodden road of candidates past. Historically, though, unless an incumbent falls down the stairs, they keep their office.
So, what are the other differences between these three? Or is Arizona a different place than Nevada and Montana, so you can't expect the same thing in three Western states?
Emmett O'Connell | September 1, 2006 | Comment on This Post (10 so far)
From the Rocky Mountain News:
Last week, dozens of Republican business executives met with Ritter at a breakfast in Denver to discuss economic development. Republican businessman Blair Richardson, former finance chairman for Mark Holtzman's campaign for governor, hosted the breakfast.
"There were 100 people there, and 75 percent of them were Republicans," Richardson said. "Ritter was very strong. He said he'd create an economic czar and put that person in the governor's office. He gave Bill Richardson of New Mexico as an example of a governor who is always marketing that state."
Richardson said Ritter "won a lot of converts" at the meeting. He has endorsed Ritter himself and now plans to host a series of breakfast meetings to introduce him to other Republicans.
Unlike some Democrats, I'm not turned off by the other side finding our candidate attractive. I think it would worry me if Ritter was bending over backwards to compromise principles in the method of corporate appeasment - but most of this transition has to do with Measure C:
"There's growing discontent in the business community about the position of many Republicans on Referendum C and finding the resources necessary to fund state services," Scott said.
That discontent has been a boon to Democrat Bill Ritter in his race for governor against U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez. Ritter endorsed Ref C, while Beauprez opposed it. Ref C was approved by voters last fall and allowed the state to keep billions in tax revenue that otherwise would have been returned to taxpayers.
Colorado business organizations played a key role in the passage of Ref C, fearing that huge cuts in higher education and transportation funding would harm the state's economy. Scott says many executives share Ritter's fear that Colorado is falling behind other states in funding its universities and roads.
If that is what makes Ritter appealing to Republicans, then sign me up. He currently holds a 10 point lead over Both Ways Bob. With this kind of momentum, Ritter will be the next governor of Colorado.
Something I yammer on here quite a bit is the ability for Western Democrats to bring both sides to the table. I'm glad to see Ritter bridging the gap in ever-blue trending Colorado. The inability of the state Republican party to build consensus on issues of education and infrastructure development has driven many former Republicans from the party:
"I said, 'That's it, I'm done,'" Kaufman said. "The people who run the Republican Party today don't care about business. What this party is about now is God, guns, gays and abortion. They don't care about education, health care or transportation. They think cutting taxes solves all problems."
In many ways, the futhering of this process in Colorado also stands as a bellweather for the rest of the Rocky Mountain West. With Democrats across the mountain west inheriting or inhabiting the governor's mansions (AZ, NM, CO, WY, MT and more around the corner) the Western Democrat is clearly in the ascendency.
Arthur Schlesinger described the period of post-WWII consensus in our country as "The Vital Center" - is it possible we are seeing a return to the Vital Center out in the West? If we are to establish a new era in policy, with Western Dems leading the way, then it could be possible to have a fundemental re-orientation of issues and politics.
This is something I've been meaning to do for awhile, but there are tons of great blogs being written across the West. I read a good portion of them, and every once in awhile, I'll do a basic post like this linking to notable posts.
From Square State (Colorado): Both Ways Bob Beauprez takes a belly flop on a ballot initiative that would have given citizens greater access to local government:
So let's get this straight: Holtzman is in the primary, Both Ways supports Amendment 38. Holtzman drops out, Both Ways is against it.
Left in the West (Montana): What if Tester-like style, not just Tester, Western Democratic politics, made it back east?
And, Spidelblog (Arizona): The Democratic Arizona AG takes on Walmart.
Emmett O'Connell | July 7, 2006 | Comment on This Post (1 so far)