Morning Fizz: The Nagging Backstory
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring underwhelming numbers, surprising job description, and nagging backstory.
1. A couple of days ago—still waiting for King County to officially certify the election— we flagged the lowly voter turnout in the August 5 primary.
King County Elections certified the numbers yesterday afternoon, and it's official now: Just a 30 percent turnout.
KC Elections, based on analogous off-year elections, had predicted at least a 38 percent turnout.
The underwhelming turnout provides some much-needed good news for Democrats. As they try to win back the state senate, one key race is in King County's 45th District—Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville—where Democratic hopeful, Navy vet and Amazon manager Matt Isenhower got 46.21 percent to incumbent and powerful budget chair state Sen. Andy Hill's (R-45) 53.79 percent. Pundits say challengers need to get more than 45 percent in the primary to be a threat in the general and Isenhower is the only Democrat who cleared that hurdle.
If money is the key, consider this: Hill, who has raised $508,770 to Isenhower's $186,000, has $288,166 cash on hand right now to Isenhower's $46,000 cash on hand.
Low turnout is historically better for Republicans, while high turnout is historically good for Democrats. If 2010's general election turnout—the most recent analogous year—is any indicator for this November's turnout, Isenhower has reason to be hopeful. That year, 71 percent turnout in King County put U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) over the top in her 52.36 to 47.64 win over Republican challenger Dino Rossi; Murray got 64.59 to Rossi's 34.91 in King County.
Who really knows if 2014 mirrors 2010. And then-challenger Hill got 50.89 to then-Democratic incumbent state Sen. Eric Oemig's 48.96 that year anyway, helping advance the pending GOP takeover. But certainly, Isenhower's respectable showing in the sleepy primary is good news for Democrats as they look toward a much different electorate in the gneral.
However, if money is the key, consider this: Hill, who has raised $508,770 to Isenhower's $186,000, has $288,166 cash on hand right now to Isenhower's $46,000 cash on hand.
2. Looking for a backstory on the latest Mayor Ed Murray spokesperson to bail on the gig? (Yesterday Murray spokeswoman Megan Coppersmith was the second spokesperson in eight months now to leave.)
We've heard only that Coppersmith was a bit surprised at how primetime the job was and also that future plans—her husband's job—may take her out of town.
3. It's a little too early to be making predictions about the 2015 legislative session, but the word is: Don't expect legislators to propose or even work on a transportation funding package next session.
"McCleary is going to take up all the oxygen," one legislator, a transportation diehard, told Fizz.
Given that legislators have been talking about $10 billion to $12 billion in infrastructure projects for the last two sessions (520 funding anyone?) and Gov. Jay Inslee identified new transportation spending as the key to economic recovery when he was elected two years ago, escalating the urgency that May after the Skagit River bridge collapsed, inaction on transportation is emerging as the nagging backstory in Olympia.