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Campaign Fizz: Why Jane Hague's In Trouble

By Erica C. Barnett August 22, 2011

Your one-stop shop for the day's local campaign news, gossip, and analysis.

• Although we won't know today's vote count until 4:00 or so, King County Council incumbent Jane Hague has been doing progressively worse in every vote count since last Tuesday's primary election, with the most recent (Friday) count showing her in second place to challenger Richard Mitchell, 34.4 to 33.6 percent.

Since Tuesday, Hague's daily percentage has slipped from 39.3 percent to 35.5 percent to 33.6 percent. With about 500 ballots left to count, Hague has a total of 37.97 percent to Mitchell's 30.05 percent. Conventional wisdom is that an incumbent who gets less than 50 percent in the primary is in trouble in the general, which puts Hague---an 18-year incumbent who was arrested for drunk driving in 2008---in an extremely vulnerable position.

• A couple of things we didn't mention in our Fizz item about this year's City Hall primary election pool: The last-place finisher in this year's pool was Susan Crowley Saffery, the former director of the city's Office of Intergovernmental Relations, who got just one answer (of seven) right: Whether perennial candidate Stan Lippman would finally make it through a primary election in his bid for mayor of Lake Forest Park. (He didn't.) Saffery got every other answer wrong.

Also, Josh beat me in the pool, with four right answers (to my three). We both thought the tunnel would lose, though---Josh by a margin of 52-48, and me by a margin of 53-47.

• Channeling---and quoting---the Seattle Displacement Coalition's John Fox, the PI.com's Joel Connelly argues that a proposed $60 car-tab fee, which Seattle voters will approve or reject in November, is "regressive" and "too high"---"especially when voters are being asked to increase [the] Families and Education [Levy] by 99 percent."

• At TVW, Niki Reading has an interview with former state Department of Transportation director Doug MacDonald about Tim Eyman's Initiative 1125, which would bar variable tolling, require the state legislature to set toll rates, and restrict the use of tolls to building the road on which they're collected. Noting that "roads don't last forever," MacDonald compares the cost of building and maintaining a road to the cost of building a house: Just because you've paid off your mortgage doesn't mean you won't need money to replace the roof.

"There are tolls that paid for the Lake Washington bridge on I-90 that, if those tolls had stayed in place at a moderate level after construction was paid off, you’d have money to maintain the bridge at a moderate cost and state taxpayers would not be responsible for it," MacDonald said.

• The Republican writers over at the Political Bistro make the case that Kathy Lambert and Jane Hague, the two King County Council Republicans who voted to pass a $20 vehicle license fee for Metro transit service rather than putting it on a countywide ballot, made the right call, noting that without the fee, the majority of the  600,000 hours that would have been cut would have come from Eastside bus service.

• Finally, the New York Times reports on last week's decisive pro-tunnel vote, calling "a sharp rejection of Mayor Mike McGinn, who built his 2009 campaign on opposition to the tunnel and has spent much of his term fighting it."
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