Richard Pope, the perennial candidate and perennial loser, figures he has a shot, so to speak, at winning in November. His King County Council opponent, incumbent Jane Hague (or as she's known in court, Miss Springman), is of course battling a DUI arrest. Hague's allegedly woozy drive homeward that June night was a trip of political ironies: She was first spotted unable to negotiate the eastbound double lanes of the Evergreen Point floating bridge whose lane expansion is one of her priorities, and she was tailed by a county deputy whose departmental budget she helped fashion as part of the council's Budget Leadeship Team. (At least she didn't cause a mishap, considering she has in the past proposed recovering emergency-response costs from any drunk driver involved in an accident). In this case, she did no damage except perhaps to her re-election campaign, elevating Pope's chances as she blew .13 and .14 on a WSP Datamaster breath-alcohol analyzer - though she may now have legally maneuvered around that in court (an audio record of the hearing indicates a county prosecutor didn't question an order that suppressed the test results until after the hearing had concluded). All of which leaves Pope in the catbird seat, he thinks. "I got 45 percent of the vote last year," when he ran for a judgeship in the county district court system - where Hague is now being tried - crusading against drunk drivers. "That's not a bad showing," he says proudly. A party quick-change artist, the sometimes-Republican Pope filed as a Democratic at the last minute this year, declaring Hague shouldn't run unopposed. The folks most upset by that were his fellow (for now, anyway) Dems, who put up a write-in candidate. "They had lots of money, 100 volunteers, and two months to campaign," says Pope, an Eastside attorney who had lost 10 assorted campaigns in a row, "and I beat them." A one-man bandwagon with expenses of $1,281, the "not qualified" "gadfly" Pope drew 8,588 primary votes and Demo opponent Brad Larssen got most of 3,607 write-in ballots. Hague, unopposed on the GOP side, got 10,962 (there were also 66 GOP write-in votes for various people or, as is often the case with write-ins, cartoon characters). If primary vote totals mean anything, that's 12,195 on the Democratic side and 11,028 on the GOP side. "I'm still trying to figure out why certain people in the Democratic Party hate me so much," says Pope. "I got all these votes and I haven't even started to campaign yet!"