Dow Constantine Says Susan Hutchison Has an Obligation to Explain Her Views to Voters
King County Council Member Dow Constantine—one of five major candidates running for King County Executive—put the spotlight on "the empty chair" today, saying that former KIRO-TV anchor Susan Hutchison, the frontrunner of the five, has been absent from the public view during the campaign and has "an obligation to voters" to answer questions about her political positions.
At a press conference today, Constantine said he was "frustrated" that Hutchison has "avoided candidate forums, avoided talking to the press, and avoided revealing her political ties."
Constantine at today's press conference
As PubliCola first reported last week, Hutchison has hired political consultants and a campaign manager with ties to the right wing of the Republican Party. Constantine noted those ties—which connect Hutchison to Mike Huckabee and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and the arch conservative Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) lobby. Constantine stressed that the BIAW—a major Dino Rossi supporter—has called environmentalists "Nazis."
Constantine also calmly checked off Hutchison's other well-known GOP bonafides: Donations to Bush; meeting with former hard right Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) to discuss a potential Hutichson run for U.S. Senate; and sitting of the board of the Discovery Institute—the main proponents of teaching "Intelligent Design" in public schools.
Calling her "pleasant" but "far to the right of the electorate of King County," Constantine said, "that's fine, everybody has a right to their political opinions, but if you're holding yourself out as a candidate for the highest office in King County, you have an obligation to voters to tell them where you stand."
Constantine wanted to know where Hutchison stood on a women's right to choose—which he said was a relevant issue for King County Executive because King County Health runs health clinics, like one in White Center, that counsel low-income women on pregnancy issues.
State Sen. Karen Kaiser (D-33, Burien), chair of the health care committee in the State legislature, spoke alongside Constantine to echo the point saying "profound issues" were at stake.
Constantine also wanted to know how Hutchison would vote on preventing suburban sprawl beyond the urban growth boundary—an even more prominent issue under the County's purview.
I have a call into Hutchison.
"Like you, I got to know Susan as the pleasant anchor on TV," Constantine said, "but we're not in the studio anymore, we're in the real world with real issues at stake. Frankly, it's frustrating that the candidate with the big numbers hasn't been at the table with the other candidates."
KING 5 has Hutchison polling at 34, with the other candidates, all Democrats, trailing far behind: King County Council Member Larry Phillips 9, Constantine 8, State Rep. Ross Hunter 5, and State Sen. Fred Jarrett 5.
Rather than responding in person to my call, Huthcison's campaign manager, Jordan McCarran, sent out a press release. I've posted an excerpt below the fold. (P.S. I called again to ask a question about the release):
SUSAN HUTCHISON ISSUES STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO
CONSTANTINE’S NEGATIVE ATTACKS AND MUDSLINGING
It’s disappointing my opponent has decided to attack me with outright lies.
The issues he has raised have nothing to do with county government, and while I am disappointed, I am not surprised. Mr. Constantine finds himself well behind in the polls, and with no positive vision for our county. His only hope is to sling mud and engage in personal negative attacks.
Mr. Constantine's campaign is one of partisanship and divisiveness. Voters decided last year to make the county executive a non-partisan office because we need to bring people together, not divide them. Working together with business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, and environmentalists and community leaders behind a common good is what I've done in the private and non-profit sectors over the last two decades. It's what I'll continue to do as King County Executive.