WA Made History
Last night Washington State did something that has never been done before. By popular vote, Washington citizens voted to approve Marriage Equality and to legalize the recreational use of Marijuana.
Referendum 74 is currently winning by a 3% margin statewide, and Land-of-Dorothy King County is still counting ballots. We'll likely see an even higher win percentage over the coming days and weeks.
Washington is joined by Maryland and Maine, both of which also extended marriage rights to same-sex couples by popular vote. Together these three states marked an historic change, one in which voters approved Marriage Equality with majority votes. Prior to last night, whenever a popular vote was taken, gay marriage lost.
War On Nugs:
Marriage Equality wasn't the only victory for social justice advocates last night. Washington State fully legalized the recreational use of Marijuana. The ACLU's successful initiative put a stop to the state's prohibitionist arrests and prosecutions of an inordinate amount of people of color for a non-violent crime.
Initiative 502 is currently passing with more than a 10 point lead statewide, and across a majority of counties. This isn't an issue passing in metropolitan areas alone - across the state voters have said it's time for a change.
Colorado also passed an amendment legalizing recreational marijuana, while in Oregon a measure attempting to do the same thing failed.
Marijuana is still illegal federally. Whether the Federal government will attempt to impede state law is unknown, although they've so far allowed for the medical use of marijuana (also illegal) as long as dispensaries followed state law.
Think of the Children:
Charter school legislation is currently passing by 3%, a much smaller margin than polls predicted. Populous King County is coming out against the Initiative, while Pierce and Snohomish Counties, also very large, are both coming in for the Initiative. With ballots still being counted, it's hard to predict how this initiative will fair.
"It's very possible the Initiative could be defeated," reports Ben Lawver, an organizer for the No on 1240 campaign. "I'm optimistic."
Initiative 1185, requiring a 2/3rds super-majority to raise any revenue, passed in every single county last night. One need look slightly further down ballot to see the results - both attempts at raising revenue were voted down by voters.
Advisory Vote 1 would have removed a tax deductions for banks. Advisory Vote 2 would have extended a tax on petroleum products. Because neither one could get past a 2/3rds majority hurdle, they were put up to a public vote and subsequently repealed. This is why Washington is failing to fulfill our most paramount duty. Whether or not we find a way to fund our state is up to the Supreme Court now.
Sheryl Gordon McCloud solidly defeated Richard Sanders. Sanders was voted off the court back in 2010 after claiming blacks had a "crime problem" and gays "had more sexual partners". Rather than recognize defeat, he stayed on the court in the equivalent of a volunteer role and attempted to earn his place back by running for another seat. Perhaps this time he'll get the message.
Jay Inslee beat out Rob McKenna with a safe 3 percent margin. As is usually the case, the Democratic Inslee safely pulled in most of the coastal areas, including a whopping 63% in King County, while McKenna performed strongly in Eastern Washington. Inslee likely was boosted by a strong turnout for Obama and Marriage Equality. Of note, so far Obama has received 87,221 more votes than Inslee, meaning some Washington voters split their ticket between Obama and McKenna.
Bill Finkbeiner's (R) progressive endorsements weren't enough to unseat the reigning Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen (D), who has been in the seat for 15 years.
Bob Ferguson (D) defeated Reagan Dunn (R) despite a slew of outside expenditures. The Attorney's General seat receives a lot of attention because in recent years it's been a stepping stone before running for Governor, which worked for Gregoire and not so much for McKenna.
Secretary of State:
Kim Wyman (R) is currently ahead in the race to be Washington's Secretary of State, but with a less than 1% lead in the ballots. Her Democratic challenger, Kathleen Drew earned 61.77% of the ballots in King County, which is still being counted. It would be very easy to see this race change up as late ballots are counted.
Tacoma's Jeannie Darneille beat out her self-funded challenger Jack Connelly by 15 percentage points. Darneille likely benefited heavily from her 12 years in the House representing Tacoma. And maybe a bit from a huge core of volunteers who love her.
Noel Frame looks to have lost her election against Gael Tarleton, despite an impressive ground game. Tarleton currently has a 15 point lead in the race.
Firefighter Bud Sizemore trails traditional burger enthusiast Mark Hargrove by less than 100 votes in the 47th. King County elections has only verified 61% of the ballots they've received within that district. We'll know in the coming days and weeks who comes out ahead in this race.
Cyrus Habib has a strong and commanding lead against his opponent Hank Myers. Beyond being an amazing campaigner, Habib will be the first blind man to serve in the state house. Habib has been an advocate for people with disabilities throughout his life, and will take this stewardship to the legislature.
Marriage Equality advocate Mary Margaret Haugen looks to have lost her race against her Republican opponent Barbara Bailey. Haugen was targeted by conservative groups for her support of Marriage Equality after being the deciding vote back in January.
North Seattle had a few really close races, and former Transportation Choices Coalition director Jessyn Farrell appears to have beat out Sarajane Seigfriedt for the 46th's Position 2 Representative. In Position 1, UW professor and education activist Gerry Pollet beat out Sylvester Cann.
Spokane's urban 3rd district stayed Democratic, re-electing Andy Billig, Marcus Riccelli and Timm Ormsby. It's less urban 4th and 6th districts continue to be held by Republicans. In the 4th Matt Shea beat out Democratic challenger Amy C. Biviano by 13 points. Biviano performed well in what's normally a very conservative area.
The same held true in the 6th, where Dennis Dellwo (D) came close but was unable to beat Jeff Holly (R).
On Mercer Island, Steve Litzow (R) beat out Maureen Judge (D) in the Senator's Race. Litzow was an early supporter of Marriage Equality, and was one of only a few Republicans who voted for the bill.
In the same district, Marcie Maxwell (D) beat Tim Eaves (R) for the contested Representative position.