This is more of a Morning Jolt than a Fizz. Here are some Election Night Winners & Losers
1. Winner: Mayor Ed Murray
Murray marked the one-year anniversary of his own election victory with two new big wins at the polls last night.
The Metro funding sales tax increase (Prop 1) and the preschool funding property tax increase (Prop 1B)—both measures he pushed to the ballot and stumped for—won big. The preschool measure, which faced a competing and combative well-funded union campaign, won 61.17 to 32.83. The Metro measure, not a huge surprise, got nearly 60 percent.
With those two wins added to Murray's "Done" list, the new mayor has now passed: an annual $54 million permanent parks funding district (which he got on the ballot and stumped for in August); the four-year $60 million preschool funding program; and the long overdue $45 million annual Metro expansion.
Add to the list hammering out a $15 minimum wage law and Murray has more signature accomplishments (there's also the ride share compromise Murray hashed out after council tried to cap ride sharing) in his first year than most mayor's bust out over the course of a term. Or two.
For example, compared to Murray's three big ballot initiatives passed in just his first 10 months: Over two full terms former Mayor Greg Nickels passed six, including two housing levies and a transportation infrastructure levy known as bridging the gap. Another measure, 2008's parks levy passed over his opposition. Meanwhile, former Mayor Mike McGinn passed three measures—a families and education levy, a libraries funding measure, and the seawall measure—over the course of his four years, while losing on one, a transit funding measure. That last losing measure was a $60 vehicle license fee, the same thing Murray won on last night to expand Metro service.
Murray is surely going to lose a policy fight at some point (and the tunnel debacle is looming), but so far the guy's win record is ferocious.
2. Loser: Unfunded Mandates
Not only did Prop 1A, the aforementioned competing preschool measure (an unfunded union mandate to raise childcare workers' pay, create a union-heavy training board, and set up a vague taskforce) lose big in its direct standoff with the funded preschool class measure, but another unfunded mandate, a class-size reduction measure funded by the teachers' union, was slightly behind last night—50.97 to 49.43.
If the measure goes on to win—which is likely given that later voters tend to be more liberal and the measure was polling well with Democrats—the close call is still notable. The measure, 1351, had no organized opposition to its $5 million campaign. And Elway had the measure at 66 percent two weeks ago.
(We came out against the measure noting, in part, that the unfunded mandate would add $4 billion to the $5 billion McCleary bill between now an 2018 plus another $3.8 billion per biennium going forward according to the state Office of Financial Management.)
Even if it eventually wins, it will be a Pyrrhic victory for unfunded mandates; this one will come under sharp scrutiny in the upcoming McCleary session when forcing the legislature's hand on a single policy line item will backfire on the union and the Democrats (who officially endorsed the measure).
3. Winner: Nick Hanauer
Wealthy lefty Hanauer has completed his trifecta. In 2012, he bankrolled a successful charter schools measure. In 2013, he helped fund ($25,000) Sea-Tac's $15 minimum wage campaign and subsequently helped broker Seattle's own $15 minimum wage law on Murray's task force. And last night his $1.3 plus million helped I-594, the universal background check measure (something the Democratic state house couldn't even pass) win big: So far, it's at 59.72.
4. Loser: Environmentalists
Not all lefties saw their investments pay off, though. The Washington Conservation Voters spent nearly $1 million trying to help the Democrats win back control of the state legislature.
In the key state senate races where WCV jumped in with independent expenditures to help the Democrat—state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond) vs. Democrat Matt Isenhower race (WCV spent $390,000), state Sen. Steve O'Ban (R-28, Lakewood) vs. state Rep. Tami Green (D-28, Tacoma) (WCV spent $300,000), and state Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale) vs. Democrat Seth Fleetwood (WCV spent $100,000)—the Republican candidate won (big) helping the GOP to its commanding 26-23 advantage in the senate.
You can trace the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund spending to California billionaire and green activist Tom Steyer whose political committee, the NextGen Climate Action PAC, gave $750,000 to WCV's cause. Steyer had pledge $100 million nationwide to electing environmentalists nationwide.
It didn't work here.
5. Winner: Microsoft
There is some spending that did pay off, though. Microsoft, as Fizz outed last week, made a conscious decision to prioritize Republican spending at the state level this year to help the GOP control the state senate.
The Redmond firm spent nearly $30,000 more on Republicans (the first time the company has gone all in for the GOP) than on the Democrats: $95,950 vs. $67,238, a 43 percent difference in favor of the Republicans.
And when it came to all the key senate races, Microsoft only went for the Republican.
Pressed to comment on their allegiance to the GOP this cycle, Microsoft would not go on the record with an explanation.