Was it that valiant but fumbled DWI explanation? The syrupy family-values TV spots? Did "Problem solver" sound too much like Bush's "The Decider"? Can anyone embrace a corporate exec who gets a bonus so big he can't remember the amount? Or does Mike McGavick's voice just sound too much like Nelly Furtado's?
Yes, it's only the primary. Perennial candidates Michael Goodspaceguy Nelson and Mike the Mover got a combined 12,000 votes and can now slink back to obscurity. But there's something to be made out of yesterday's election results that left McGavick, the Republican challenger, with 100,000 fewer votes than incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. She has her own issues - ducking debates she thought were so important when she first ran (mostly on her own money), insulating her campaign staff while she campaigns safely from D.C., and sporting a grating voice in her own right. (Forget issues - when people go into the voting both, the final decision comes down to whether or not they like a candidate - looks, voice, personna included).
Nonetheless, as of this writing, Cantwell has almost 309,000 statewide votes to McGavick's 207,000 - that's out of 582,000 votes cast for 11 Democratic and Republican Senate contenders. (King County voted for Cantwell 65,000 to McGavick's 27,000). November will bring a larger turnout, and of course people voting yesterday were doing so by party lines. But for a candidate trying to assess his chances, this is about as good a poll as you can get. With just two thirds the tally of the front runner, McGavick has about six weeks to come up with something other than, say, another good traffic violation to turn things around.