Note: We don't do solo shows; Seattle Weekly only endorses in seriously contested primary races. General-election endorsements may be different.
KING COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Coasting incumbent Norm Maleng, who has let the prosecutor's office list while chasing one statewide office after another, is overdue for a serious challenge. Fred Canavor looks like just the Dem to give it to him. Canavor has terrific background for the job. He's helped write a legal code (for the Micronesian state of Pohnpei). He's run a prosecutor's office (as a popular San Juan County prosecutor). And he has the trial experience that Maleng lacked, gained in both San Juan (small-county prosecutors must plead their own cases) and private practice. He's well attuned to the King County office's shortcomings, from untrustworthy—hence often unsought—civil advice (remember the ombudsman boondoggle) to erratic charging and poor morale. And, though he promises not to get as hung up on lobbying the Legislature as Maleng, he vows to try to undo the damage Maleng helped do in pushing the state's determinate sentencing laws. A prosecutor who wants to shift discretion back to the judges—that's our kind of prosecutor.
Richard Pope, the other avowed Dem in the race, is a feisty gadfly who tenders even sharper criticisms of Maleng's "political grandstanding" and tardy charging of suspects. But Pope, who ran as a Republican for attorney general two years ago, is a sharp lawyer in the best and worst sense and lacks the experience and temperament for the prosecutor's job.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 1—Bothell, Brier—Position 2, Democrat
Two strong Demo candidates. We'll pick Jeanne Edwards, a Bothell City Council member and journalist-turned-hospital-PR-director, over teacher/businessman Ted Jensen. She looks to have the better organized and funded campaign, and the better chance at saving us from the dimwitted, gay-bashing incumbent, Republican Mike Sherstad.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 30—Federal Way, Tacoma—Pos. 1, Republican
Mark Miloscia has a free ride to the Democratic nomination for this open seat. On the Republican side, Federal Way City Council member/Mayor Skip Priest offers a common-sense, bring-business-values-to-government approach, and he has the business experience (with a law degree) to back it up. Federal Way School Board president Ann Murphy talks about shrinking government and gets support from Human Life and the Washington Rifle & Pistol Association. Pick the Priest.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 31—Auburn— Pos. 1
Of several presentable Republicans for this open seat, Sue Singer, graphic-arts business owner and Auburn City Council member, looks to have the deepest community roots, strongest campaign, and best chance of beating the one who surely should be beat: Dan Roach, who mimics the loopy positions of his right-wing mother, Sen. Pam Roach. Stopping him justifies a crossover vote.
But if you must vote Demo, vote for Michael Stensen, president of the Enumclaw School Board and former City Council member. He opposes I-200, which Democrat opponent Darrell Carrier backs.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 32—Shoreline, Innis Arden—Pos. 1, Democrat
One-term incumbent Patty Butler has serious opposition from Carolyn Edmonds and looks very shaky. Butler's House seatmate, Senate counterpart, and County Council representative all back Edmonds, and the district's Democratic organization voted not much confidence in her with a dual endorsement. Butler's voting record, otherwise fairly solid, is marred by too-enthusiastic backing of the Mariners stadium deal. We second the change.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 37—Central and South Seattle—Senator, Democrat
Yes, Adam Kline, the appointed incumbent, has probably been a more effective legislator than challenger and fellow Dem Dawn Mason And yes, Mason has pulled one switcheroo too many: She first passed up the appointment that then went to Kline, on grounds she was needed in the House; then, after failing to gain an appointment to the Seattle City Council, challenged him. But we admire her spunk and independence. She's a rare and authentic voice in Olympia. Even when her positions (for charter schools and public schools sharing textbooks with private ones) run against the conventional liberalism Kline espouses, it's the Zion Prep, not the Lakeside, crowd she speaks for.
Representative Pos. 1, Democrat
Another tough call in a decisive Democratic primary for an open seat: Sharon Tomiko Santos and Juan Cotto are both able (if ominously smooth and well-connected) candidates—this year's Aaron Ostrom and Martha Choe. We'll opt for Camille Monzon, who shows more conviction with a similar agenda and has won plaudits in her many years running the Seattle Indian Center.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 41—Mercer Island, Renton—Pos. 1 and 2, Republican
Incumbents Mike Wensman and Ida Ballasiotes are strong incumbents with weak opposition from candidates even farther to the right in this decisive Republican primary.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 46—North Seattle—Pos. 1, Democrat
University of Washington prof/administrator Jim McIntire, though not our pick, is certainly well-qualified. But we'll go with the other Dem, Brian Peyton, recently appointed to the seat. Peyton is an unusually promising legislative figure who's achieved a rare balance between two usually exclusive roles, as a community activist and Democratic Party player. (Nick Licata's the only other example who comes to mind.) A former state health law judge who is still on the state payroll, he'll find new employment if elected. Peyton's a fighter hardened in the neighborhood trenches. He can play with the big kids without becoming captive— as Clinton/ Lockeera Dems increasingly are—to the corporate powers.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 47—Southeast King County—Pos. 1, Republican
Landscape architect Phil Fortunato gets the nod over business lawyer Mike Jensen in a battle of closely matched Republicans. It's hard to bypass a Republican who talks about the environment, and Fortunato has an impressive community record.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 48—Bellevue, Kirkland, the Points—Pos. 1, Republican
Loyalty should oblige us to back Luke Esser, an aide to County Council member Rob McKenna, in the fight to see which Republican will assume Bill Reams' seat. (Democrat Karen Howard will be the opposition in the general.) The big galoot wrote this paper's sports column until he decided to move up, or down, a rung on the popularity food chain by becoming a politician. But despite his brilliance in the press box, he's too conservative for our tastes; this Legislature needs different ideologies, not just smarter conservatives. We pick Sants Contreras, a moderate with deep community connections who has shown encouraging independence as a Kirkland City Council member, even standing up to development interests from time to time. Luke, forgive us—but we want you back!
STATE SUPREME COURT, Pos. 6, 5, and 1
This is a nerve-wracking trio of endorsements, especially when viewed together. This is a critical time for Washington's Court and its other governmental branches—not to mention the status of its constitution. Decisions now being undertaken will set the balance of power between those branches and the limits of state power for decades. And so far the advocates of expanding legislative authority and unbridled corporate welfare are winning. By upholding every public-private giveaway, from sports stadiums to downtown malls, the high court has effectively shredded the constitutional prohibition on lending public credit. And it's been no less obliging in upholding expansive police powers and dubious sentencing measures like Three Strikes.
A constitutional court should curb, not abet, the other branches' excesses; we need Supremes who know how to say no. And so we'll stick with the justice who says it more often than anyone: Richard Sanders, the court's arch-libertarian. His challenger, Greg Canova, is a pitbull prosecutor who should stay in prosecutions, where we need him.
Likewise we'll stick with Justice Barbara Madsen, a milder but still independent-minded dissenter, in Position 5. Challenger Jim Bates (like Faith Ireland in Position 1) is a well-regarded judge who'd doubtless bring a conciliatory tone to this bench—but conciliation is not everything when ideas must fight it out.
In Position 1, Hugh Spitzer has a great r鳵m鬠ability, and charm. He's also a leading exponent and practitioner of the giveaways the court should stop. We'll opt for Kris Sundberg, an outspoken battler against corporate welfare, eloquent advocate for realigning the court—and sure Sanders ally. And pray that shifting the court toward Sanders, formerly the state's leading property-rights lawyer, won't spell disaster for environmental protection.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 9—Portions of King, Pierce, and Thurston counties—Republican
Has solid centrist Adam Smith transformed the state's most notorious swing district into a Democratic stronghold in just one term? Seems like it, when you see the best the Republicans bother fielding. For what it's worth, Keith Peterson seems the mildest Republican in a race to the right that has Randy Bell trying to out-nut Ron Taber—no mean feat.
US SENATOR, Republican
If one-time King County prosecutor, Burlington Northern CEO, and self-proclaimed Reaganite Chris Bayley wins the primary, the choice in November will be between a Republican Big Business would love vs. a Democratic incumbent (Patty Murray) they can tolerate. Either way, the lobbyists and the state's corporate interests win. If, on the other hand, right-wing populist outsider Linda Smith gets into the final, voters will have a choice between two powerful women who could not be more different ideologically or stylistically. Imagine: It's Kitten-with-a-Whip vs. the Mom-in-Tennis-Shoes. Smith is wrong about a lot—from abortion choice to virtually every environmental issue—but she's right about China, free trade, and campaign finance reform. She'll spur a long-overdue debate about how politics is done in this state (and the other Washington) and force us to think hard about who it truly represents. Dig up the old Warren G. Magnuson campaign button that reads "Keep the Big Boys Honest" and wear it for Linda—as a reminder to Patty.