Westlake Divide: Women for Hutchison Rally Downtown. Constantine Supporters Congregate Across the Street.

By Jake Blumgart November 2, 2009

[Update: This story was originally posted at 2:20 pm. We've updated it with video interviews from from the Hutchison rally and the Constantine rally across the street.

Editor's note: NARAL spokeswoman Alison Mondi isn't correct when she says Hutchison's Simonyi Fund has contributed to anti-choice causes. However, as we reported in the Fizz this morning, the Stewardship Foundation—where Hutchison is a board member—has contributed $600,000 to anti-choice organizations in recent years.]


Here are some highlights from this afternoon's "Women for Susan Hutchison" rally at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle.

Walking down Pine from the waterfront, about 15 to 25 upbeat Hutchison supporters lined the north side of the street, waving campaign signs. Hutchison mingled with her fans, offering encouraging words and thanks, and sticking closely to her talking points. Namely, that the rambunctious Constantine supporters, who set up shop across the street, do this for a living, and—addressing Planned Parenthood's latest anti-Hutchison broadside—asking: what do abortion rights have to do with the King County Executive race anyway?

Generally, her supporters tried to steer the conversation away from reproductive rights and toward what they see as King County’s one party state. “You have a party in power for too long—you’ve got to clean it out,” one woman told me. (That seems to run against Hutchison’s non-partisan pitch.) They also expressed confidence in Hutchison’s ability to staunch what they characterized as a steady flow of businesses from the Puget Sound region, the latest, of course, being Boeing.

The Dow counter-protesters outnumbered Hutchison’s people by almost two to one. The ones I talked to expressed serious concern about Hutchison’s past support of anti-choice candidates and her unwillingness to clearly state where she stands on reproductive rights.

They vehemently disagreed with her position that King County Executive has no effect on a woman’s right to choose, noting that the county provides crucial funds for family planning clinics (which provide abortion referrals, the morning after pill, and birth control for low-income women). They easily drowned out Hutchison’s supporters with persistent pro-Constantine sloganeering.

Hutchison came over to engage with them (a couple TV cameras in tow), but the protesters responded by shouting, “Vote For Dow.”

She turned to the TV cameras to reiterate her point that reproduce rights had nothing to do with the race, calling the controversy “silly.”

Constantine leads Hutchison in the latest KING 5 poll, released this afternoon, 53-43.
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