Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna gained slightly after yesterday's vote count, putting him  at 48.86 to Democrat Jay Inslee's 51.14. (Inslee had led 51.68 to McKenna's 48.23 on Tuesday night.)

In a video statement to his supporters, McKenna said the trend in later ballots was going his way, and he would end up winning the race.

However, besides noting that "only about 55 percent of the ballots have been counted," (that's based on total registered voters, not the actual 75 percent counted of actual estimated turnout, by the way) McKenna didn't provide the math to back up his optimistic claim. The Inslee camp estimates that McKenna would need to get roughly 60 percent of the votes outside of King County.

The harsh reality check for McKenna is in highly populated, deep blue King County where he's getting just 37.2 percent.  McKenna is certainly posting big numbers—well above 60—in smaller red counties, but for a reality check: In the more densely populated counties such as Clark, Cowlitz, and Skagit that he's currently winning, he's in the low 50s. Combine that with the counties that he's currently losing, and his overall average—outside of King County—is about 53 percent. 

The harsher reality check, though, is in highly populated, deep blue King County. McKenna needs 45 percent of the remaining King County vote to overtake Inslee, according to Inslee's camp.

King County Elections says it has about 985,000 ballots on hand—they've counted about 600,000 so far— and more of the 1.18 million issued are still coming in. (They're guessing they'll ultimately see 85 percent; they're currenlty at 83.4 percent in).

McKenna is currently getting just 37.25 of the King County vote.

2. Speaking of future governors, unstoppable, independent-minded King County Council member Bob Ferguson has won the race for Attorney General, according to the AP. Ferguson is beating Republican King County Council member Reagan Dunn, 52.8 to 47.1.

As of last night, Ferguson had not declared victory, nor had Dunn conceded.

3. In the key state senate race in Vancouver where Democratic state Rep. Tim Probst is trying to oust incumbent Sen. Don Benton, Probst is still holding on to the slim lead he established on election night.

Benton trimmed the margin, though, going from 49.72 on Tuesday to 49.88 after yesterday's count. He's trailing by just 102 votes now.

If Probst wins, the Democrats will have a comfortable 27-22 advantage. If Benton keeps his seat, the Democrats' 26-23 advantage will be undermined by two dissident Democrats, Sens. Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom, whose Republican sympathies will capsize things.

4. One Republican who did lose his seat? State Rep. Mike Armstrong (R-12, Wenatchee), the GOP house transportation leader. In one of the season's most unexpected upsets, another Republican, 35-year-old utilties anaylst, Brad Hawkins, won handily, 52.2 to 47.7.

5. The city council has completed an unscientific online budget survey of Seattle residents' budget priorities. Although the sample was self-selected (and, at just over 1,000 respondents, is relatively small), the survey includes some interesting conclusions about which neighborhoods have residents who are happy with Seattle and the city's government services and which areas are unhappy.

Most Seattle residents were satisfied with city services, including police, street maintenance, and services for the city's vulnerable.

For example: Asked how strong "the sense of community is in your neighborhood," the neighborhoods with the strongest sense of community were: Madison Park, Broadview, and the Central District; the weakest were Bitter Lake, Pioneer Square, and downtown.

Rainier Valley residents were the most likely to say they did not feel safe in their neighborhood, while Magnolia residents were the most likely to say they felt safe.

And most city residents, in general, were satisfied with city services, including police, street maintenance, and services for the city's vulnerable. 

Full survey results available here.

6. The city council seems poised to put off funding a $2 million, 180-car parking garage at Woodland Park Zoo, which Mayor Mike McGinn included in his 2013-2014 budget.

The parking lot was planned to replace a controversial proposed multi-level zoo parking garage, which some neighbors hated because it would have loomed over, and brought more cars to, the neighborhood. Representatives from the Fremont and Phinney Ridge neighborhood councils have written letters to the council and mayor expressing objections to the parking-lot project. 

The city's portion of the parking fund, $2 million, would be put in a special reserve fund (where it couldn't be spent for non-zoo purposes) until the council and mayor decide the best use of the money.