Although we don't like the front-running Republican in the race, Pierce County Council Member Shawn Bunney, we do like the other one, Enumclaw School Board Member Cathy Dahlquist.
Bunney is terrible on some of PubliCola's make-or-break issues—transportation and the environment. As a Pierce County Council and Sound Transit board member, he has advocated consistently for highway expansion (supporting, for example, the highway-heavy 2007 "roads and transit" measure, but opposing a subsequent light-rail-only measure because it didn't include funding for highways), and against environmentalists (fighting for the environmentally irresponsible Cross Base Highway, which would serve sprawl and pave over some of the last remaining oak prairie in Western Washington).
The other Republican in the race, the one we like, Dahlquist, is running on our other big-deal issue: education reform. Dahlquist's Obama-esque ed reform position—upping graduation requirements, holding teachers accountable—earned her the endorsement of PubliCola faves the League of Education Voters and Stand for Children. (Both groups also made hefty contributions.) The legislature needs members who will focus on education reform, especially after, in an embarrassing reality check this week, Washington State got knocked out of Race to the Top, Obama's education grant program.
The Democrat in the race, South Prairie Mayor Peggy Levesque, has a boilerplate D agenda—invest in clean energy, raises for teachers, and progressive tax reform.
PubliCola picks Cathy Dahlquist.