FEDERAL

UNITED STATES SENATOR
In 2008, Washington became the first state in the union to conduct a Top Two Primary, meaning that the two candidates who receive the most votes in each race will advance to the General Election. In this race for United States Senator, Patty Murray will be one of those two candidates. She’s been an outstanding senator since 1993, voting against the Iraq War, advocating for veteran rights and fighting for education reform.

The only interesting component of this race is which of Murray’s 16 opponents will advance to the General Election to lose to her in November. Some of them are fairly bizarre, like Donna Rae Lands who says, “I saved my babysitting money to get my name on the ballot because my hubby said I could spend it anyway I wanted too [sic].” Yikes!

Also on the ballot is Uncle Mover. Uncle has run for office 17 times since 1988, and used to be known as Mike the Mover. He changed his name this election year so he could "be the Uncle” to kids who don’t have one. A sweet sentiment, but I’m voting for the Mom in tennis shoes.

VOTE PATTY MURRAY

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE,
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT NO. 7

Brady Walkinshaw lost my vote the moment he entered this race. An inexperienced Walkinshaw was appointed through the backdoor as a state representative for the 43rd District (my district) in 2013. He then ran unopposed for the seat in 2014, and before serving even a full term, dumped us in pursuit of something sexier in Washington DC.

My friend, Steve, says that Walkinshaw at least deserves credit for putting pressure on “Congressman For Life” Jim McDermott to retire. Yes, McDermott may be a bit past his expiration date, but I will miss him. He will always have my undying support for being an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War and a supporter of real health care reform. But it’s pretty clear than McDermott saw the writing on the wall as soon as Walkinshaw entered the race and decided it was time to go.

When it comes to stick-to-itivness, Pramila Jayapal isn’t much more tenacious than Walkinshaw. In her first term as state senator, she is bailing on the 37th District to run for U.S. Representative (but, hey, what do I care...I don’t live in the 37th!). Jayapal’s resumé is much stronger than Walkinshaw’s, especially when it comes to civil rights. After 9/11 she founded Hate Free Zone (now called OneAmerica), whose goal is to protect the rights of immigrants, especially Arabs and Muslims. And depending on who wins the White House in November, this could be one of the most important issues our representatives in Washington DC face in the coming years.

VOTE PRAMILA JAYAPAL

WASHINGTON STATE

GOVERNOR
The outcome of this vote is pretty much a forgone conclusion: the leading Democrat, Jay Inslee, will likely face the leading Republican, Bill Bryant, in November’s General Election. And unless you like shallow idiots with a lot of hair who are quick with an insult but short on details (hmm...sound familiar?), you should vote for Inslee in November.

Inslee and Bryant are not the only candidates in this race, however. They have nine worthy opponents for the big seat in Olympia, including Goodspaceguy (R-Saturn), who has run for office over a dozen times, and in last year’s primary came in second place in the race for Port Commissioner. Can he do it again? Who knows? If the planets align just so, maybe Goodspaceguy can get more votes than the vapid Bill Bryant on August 2, and find his name on the ballot in November alongside Inslee. Stranger things have happened in politics this year. Right?

VOTE JAY INSLEE

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Washington state’s current Lieutenant Governor, Brad Owen, is the longest serving Lieutenant Governor in the United States, having had the seat since 1997. Recently he’s been beset by some ethics scandals (and frankly is kind of a wienie) and has decided not to seek re-election. Eleven candidates have thrown their hat in the ring to succeed Owen in what is perhaps the most boring job in state politics. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate and assumes the Governorship if the Governor dies while in office (which has happened three times, but not since 1919). That’s it.

Karen Fraser has a ton of experience in state and local government. She’s served in the State Senate for the past 23 years, so she knows the machinations of that chamber better than anyone. Before that she was a State Representative, County Commissioner, Mayor and City Councilperson. She’s 71 years old. This job will no doubt be her political swan song rather than a stepping stone to something bigger, so she shouldn’t have a problem telling the Senate to shut up and get to work.

She’s also an avid hiker who has summited Washington's four highest peaks, and would be the first woman Lieutenant Governor is Washington’s 127 years of statehood. Please let this be the Year of the Woman.

VOTE KAREN FRASER

SECRETARY OF STATE
The Washington Secretary of State oversees elections in our state. Personally I’m not a big fan of our current all-mail-in-voting election process. I miss polling places with the Mother's Circus Animal Cookies, the volunteer retirees and the “I VOTED” stickers. I also liked having up until Election Day to write this voter’s guide.

I’m also not a big fan of the two frontrunners in this race. Kim Wyman, the Republican incumbent, has experience running elections, but her partisanship swings a little too far to the right for me. Tina Podlodowski, the Democratic challenger, lacks much electoral experience. She served one term on the Seattle City Council in the late-1990s, where she was too pro-business and even supported Mark Sidran’s stupid poster ban. She was last seen at City Hall advising our idiot mayor, Ed Murray, on police practices (how’d that go?).

So I’m rolling the dice on this one and supporting the third party candidate, Tim Turner. I don’t know much about Turner, except that he wants third party candidates to have more access to the electoral process. And he drives a Delorean. Let’s go Back in Time.

VOTE TIM TURNER

TREASURER
John Paul Comerford has five master’s degrees, a ton of letters after his name (ChFC, RF, AIF, PPC, GPHR, TGIF), a bunch of real world financial experience and a relationship with Jimmy Carter. He’s a proponent of tax reform in our state, believing (correctly) that our system of income taxes and property taxes is way too regressive. He’s a proponent of a Green Economy and wants to divest our state from fossil fuel investments. He’s the man you want looking after your money. He's not super exciting, but I bet he owns a cardigan.

VOTE JOHN PAUL COMMERFORD

AUDITOR
The Washington state Auditor is responsible for independent oversight of all government spending in the state. Unfortunately, the last guy we elected to this office, Troy Kelley, was removed from office after being indicted for mortgage fraud in 2015. So choose carefully!

Jeff Sprung sounds like a tough guy, which is not surprising since his dad escaped a Nazi death march in World War II Germany. Sprung is an attorney who has represented whistleblowers calling out private companies that stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the government. He’s also served on the board of Planned Parenthood Votes and promises to protect women’s health funding from partisan (ahem, Republican) audits.

Another good candidate in the race is Pat McCarthy, who served as the Pierce County Auditor and was the 2015 Auditor of the Year. More recently she served as the Chair for the U.S. Open Championship at Chamber’s Bay, which I attended and whose landscape I found to be incredibly hard to navigate. I’m going with the tough guy.

VOTE JEFF SPRUNG

ATTORNEY GENERAL
With only two candidates in this race, you can vote for whomever you wish, because both candidates will also appear on your November General Election ballot. Kind of stupid, right?

Joshua Trumbull is the challenger, and much of a challenge he will not provide. His campaign website is a template with no content. The main header reads, "TO ADD A TITLE HERE, PLEASE GO TO CUSTOMIZER, 'BIG TITLE SECTION'". Is this the man you want in charge of protecting your Constitutional rights? Probably not.

The incumbent is Bob Ferguson, who has been a good Attorney General for the past four years. My high school principal was also named Bob Ferguson, who I haven't seen since Grad Night at Disneyland. Different guy, I'm pretty sure.

VOTE BOB FERGUSON

COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS
This down-ballot position sounds a bit mundane, but it is important. The Commissioner of Public Lands is the head of the Department of Natural Resources and is responsible for environmental protection in the state. Like clean air and water? Want to see our public lands properly cared for? Hate mudslides caused by dangerous logging practices? Then pay attention!

Seven candidates have lined up to replace retiring Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. Most speak of clean energy, healthy forests, wildfire prevention and the Oso mudslide. The differentiator to me is experience. Hilary Franz is currently the Executive Director of Futurewise, whose goal is to promote smart growth and protect our natural environment. She wants to end steep slope logging, curb carbon pollution and be a kickass steward for conservation. And she lives on a farm with a herd of goats and three teenage boys, so I'm guessing she's got firsthand knowledge of flora, fauna and natural gas.

VOTE HILARY FRANZ

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Current Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, announced last October that he will not be running for re-election, basically saying that no one in Olympia will work with him, so he's taking his ball and going home. Eight teachers and one school nurse have filed to be the next in line to take the heat for lack of school funding, overcrowded classrooms and low teacher pay. Gluttons for punishment, all.

I don't have kids, so I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do believe that the children are our future, we should teach them well and let them lead the way. You know the rest.

Erin Jones has experience as both a teacher and administrator, including serving as an Assistant Superintendent in the Office of Public Instruction. She wants to focus on closing the educational opportunity gaps that exist between the wealthy and the poor. She will fight for school funding as mandated by state law, and is not a huge fan of charter schools. She grew up in the Netherlands and speaks four languages. Her resume is as well-rounded as her bitchin' afro.

VOTE ERIN JONES

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
My wife and I recently got screwed over by our health insurance company. I emailed everyone I could think of for help. Regence didn't give a damn. The Health Care Marketplace said their hands were tied. Frank Chopp and Jamie Pedersen's offices tried to help, but couldn't do much either. But the Office of the Insurance Commissioner had my back. One of Mike Kreidler's compliance analysts spent a lot of time listening to my issue, then started busting heads (or at least writing letters) until our problem was solved. Thanks, Dan!

Kreidler has been our Insurance Commissioner since 2001. The insurance industry is messed up: premiums are too high, coverages are confusing and bureaucracy reigns. But this is not Kreidler's fault. He stands on the side of the consumer and is willing to fight the many complicated injustices thrust upon us by large insurance carriers. He's also a good Lefty and a fellow UCLA Bruin.

VOTE MIKE KREIDLER

LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT NO. 43, REPRESENTATIVE POSTION NO. 1
This seat became available when Brady Walkinshaw spurned the 43rd District for the greener swamplands of Washington, DC. Nine candidates swarmed like dogs to a pork chop to represent Washington's most liberal district in Olympia. Only one Republican is in this race (Zachary Zaerr who considers fantasy football to be a "liberty issue") and it will be interesting to see if his party affiliation alone will get him enough votes from the Broadmoor Country Club to advance to the General Election where he will be trounced by a Democrat.

This Representative position is known informally as the "gay seat" because it has been held by a gay male for the past 30 years, starting with the late, great Cal Anderson, Washington state's first openly gay legislator. Will that streak continue? There's a chance.

Gay, straight and perhaps somewhere in between, there are many good candidates in this race, and to once again paraphrase my friend, Steve, it's a shame that liberals spend so much time, money and energy trying to out-liberal their fellow liberals, rather than spending that time, money and energy on races that could actually shift our Legislature in a more meaningful way. Oh well, Steve, here we are.

With very little differentiating the best candidates in this race on issues like transportation, housing, civil rights and the environment, I'm going with the guy I've worked with in the past. Scott Forbes was the Chair of the 43rd District Democrats when I volunteered with that organization a few years ago. I know him to be smart, honest and incredibly hard-working. Is he gay? Does it matter?

VOTE SCOTT FORBES

LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT NO. 43, REPRESENTATIVE POSTION NO. 2
Olympia's favorite dictator, Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, is running unopposed, which is hardly a surprise. If you cross the Great Mustachioed One, he will destroy you.

OBEY FRANK CHOPP

COURTS

WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT POSITION NO. 5
This race pits the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, who has nearly 30 years on the bench, against a Tim Eyman-backed hardcore law and order rodeo Republican and an overly hirsute disbarred Zamboni driver. The choice is as clear as ice.

VOTE BARBARA MADSEN

SUPERIOR COURT POSITION NO. 44
Unlike the race for the Supreme Court, this Superior Court contest has three very well qualified candidates. I really want to vote for Jackson Schmidt, who is an artist, rides a bike, and has hiked 80% of the Pacific Crest Trail as well as the Camino de Santiago. But maybe he's just a guy I'd like to have a beer with.

More qualified for this position, probably, is Cathy Moore, who has been a public defender and a mediator, worked in family law, and has experience on the bench as a Judge Pro Tem. I have no idea if she drinks beer.


VOTE CATHY MOORE

CITY OF SEATTLE

INITIATIVE MEASURE NO. 123
This initiative is just bizarre. Inspired by the view from the existing viaduct, it will build a "garden bridge" from the Pike Place Market to CenturyLink Field. I'm NOT AT ALL a fan of our tunnel project, but sooner or later it will become a reality (I think) and the best part of that reality is that we're tearing down the ugly viaduct that disconnects downtown from our waterfront. Why, then, would we want to build another bridge in the same location that disconnects downtown from our waterfront?

Comparisons have been made to the High Line in New York City. But the High Line is not directly on the water. And when you're on the water, you should be on the water, not 55 feet above it, disengaged from what's happening below.
So here's an idea: finish the stupid tunnel, tear down the viaduct and build me some bike lanes...on the ground.

VOTE NO ON I-123

PROPOSITION NO. 1
Proposition 1 replaces and expands an expiring levy which funds affordable housing in Seattle. Housing levies have been in effect in Seattle since 1981, but none have been nearly this big. This doozy is $290 million over seven years, which doubles the expiring levy.

What's your chunk? Well, if you own a home in Seattle assessed at $500,000 (yeah, I know, not many of those left), then you'd pay $125 a year on your property taxes, which is an increase of about five bucks a month over what you paid before.

What do you get? The $290 million would build 2,100 new affordable homes, provide services within homes to seniors and the disabled and provide emergency relief for people facing eviction. These are good things, but let's make one thing clear: this levy is not a solution to the staggering homelessness crisis Seattle now faces.

Look around. Seattle is awash in money. We have shiny new buildings sprouting up all over, but our middle class is struggling and too many people are sleeping on the streets. What's happening? Housing levies help, but we bigger, bolder and better solutions. How about a state income tax? Or increased developer fees? Or Bernie Sanders for President? Maybe someday. For now...

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 1