1. King County is predicting a 35 percent return rate for Tuesday's August 6 primary. So far, 50,000 Seattle ballots had been returned as of two days ago, meaning we're more than a third of the way there (35 percent turnout would be 145,000 votes cast.)
Trend lines from the recent mail-in elections going back to when they started five years ago show that there's usually a final rush of ballots in the final weekend through Tuesday.
There are lots of theories about how the relatively low turnout will impact the race, but it seems to favor Peter Steinbrueck (his iconic name and neighborhood pitch resonates with the older voters who dominate low-turnout elections) and incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn—the smaller the turnout, the more the crowded field divvies up the anti-incumbent vote, which means McGinn merely needs to hold on to a core base to make it through while his rivals steal votes from one another.
Big footnote: The last poll showed undecided voters at 25 percent, the biggest share of all. Depending on how those voters break (and who knows?), all the top-tier candidates—Steinbrueck, Bruce Harrell, and Ed Murray—are positioned to possibly go through. Murray was the highest among the candidates in the last poll—at 22 percent, which has some pundits thinking we're looking at a McGinn/Murray showdown in November. Though with McGinn's numbers remaining flat at around 21 percent, there's also chatter that he's not guaranteed to go through.
2. The much-expected United Food and Commercial Workers Union pro-Mayor McGinn independent expenditure was filed with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission yesterday; it already shows a $10,500 expenditure for media work.
The UFCW opposes the Whole Foods development in West Seattle—the chain is non-union—and McGinn has come out strongly against the development because the chain doesn't pay a "living wage."
Both the living wage issue and—another strike against Whole Foods—their recent announcement that they've decided to sell genetically engineered food, are making national headlines.
3. File this one under "Isn't It Weird That..." Isn't it weird that an independent expenditure mailer for Murray features yet another unintelligible signature? (as one commenter noted regarding an earlier Murray mailer featuring former mayor Charley Royer: "At first I thought, 'Who's Oakley Rovier?' before I realized it was Charley Royer")?
The new signature comes from Joan Bartz, who's married to Adam Bartz (pictured in the mailer with Joan and their kid in front of Safeco Field). Adam Bartz heads the former Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, now named the Washington Senate Democratic Campaign, the election arm of the state senate Democrats. Murray used to chair the committee, though state Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34, W. Seattle), who chairs it now, chaired it when Bartz was hired in April. Bartz used to be a legislative aide to Murray back when Murray was the state house chair of the transportation committee in the mid 2000s.