Primary Pointers and Prognostications


Today is primary day. That means every political flack, newspaper hack and blogging quack is going to be chipping in with their two cents over the next week about what tonight’s results really mean.

Pundits like to peruse the primary polls to prognosticate, predict and persuade instead of viewing them as a simple indicator of how races are progressing.

Here are a few simple rules about how to analyze tonight’s results.

1) The primary results don’t mean anything.

2) The primary results don’t really mean anything.

3) Unless you’re an obscure candidate or have a contested race with someone in your own party, the primary results don’t really mean anything.

4) Democrats generally turn out in heavier numbers than Republicans for Washington primaries but not so often as to be completely predictive.

5) The primary results don’t mean anything.

With that said, here’s some prognosticating, predictions and punditry…

Gov. Christine Gregoire vs. Dino Rossi

The Governor had better get more votes than Dino tonight. Polls have been showing the race fairly even with the incumbent keeping the advantage by a couple percentage points. If Rossi scores around the mid-40s his campaign is right on track. If it is more, Terry Rossi might want to start checking out the Bed, Bath and Beyond catalog for new curtains at the Governor’s Mansion.

Rep. Dave Reichert vs. Darcy Burner

The race for WA-08 has been one of the most hyped congressional contests in the country for three election cycles now. In 2004 Democrat primary candidates outpolled Republicans by around 12,000 votes. In 2006, Burner garnered 2,200 more votes than incumbent Reichert. In both instances, “The Sheriff” won in the general. The odds are Burner will repeat her performance. But if Reichert winds up “winning” the primary, donors that have been flushing millions of dollars into Burner’s campaign coffers might start having second thoughts.

Rep. Rick Larsen vs. Sheriff Rick Bart

Despite representing a nominally conservative leaning district (WA-02 was Jack Metcalf territory once upon 2000) Larsen keeps getting elected. He has got that overwhelming charisma and those natural good looks going for him but it is still perplexing that Republicans have not made a better showing up north. In 2006, Larsen and the “Big Blue Wave” sunk Doug Roulstone, a former admiral. Sheriff Bart needs to accrue at least 40 percent of the vote so his supporters don't have a cow.

Rep. Brian Baird vs Christine Webb or Michael Delavar

Although his name is damned by Seattle Democrats because of his stance on the Iraq War, Baird seems to have a firm grasp of the constituency in WA-03. The real race is between Republicans Christine Webb and Michael Delavar. Webb is the “establishment” choice for the GOP and rates high on the babe-o-meter scale. Delavar represents the insurgent Ron Paul coalition and their strongholds in Portland’s Washington suburbs.

Terry Bergeson vs. Randy Dorn

The race for Superintendent of Public Instruction has gotten more attention than any statewide contest short of governor. Randy Dorn and Terry Bergeson should progress to the November election. The question is how many Republicans Bergeson has convinced to vote for her.

Doug Sutherland vs. Peter Goldmark

Sutherland, a Republican, had one of the worst weeks ever for a Washington politician after a duo of news stories hit the exacta against the incumbent Lands Commissioner accusing him of negligence over flood prevention and soil erosion along with being too handy around female staffers. Democrat Goldmark, an Eastern Washington rancher, was the darling of the Netroots and progressive donors in 2006, after they squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting his futile candidacy against Cathy McMorris Rodgers in WA-05. Since then he has had more difficulty roping in supporters.

Update: Readers should prepare for political spin stating that because it is only August, and everyone is on vacation or enjoying the weather, voters in such-and-such precinct or such-and-such county didn't bother to go out and vote.

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