2014 Election Predictions

by lewwaters

Voting boothI usually shy away from predicting the outcome of elections, but decided I’d throw my two cents in concerning the Clark County, Washington elections in November. It’s a bit early, yes and predictions are subject to change as information comes available. But this initial post will indicate how I see the outcome of the elections.

A disclaimer of sorts, these predictions are solely based on how I see the current information and read the current political tea leaves and are by no means infallible. They also may not be how I would personally like to see a race come out, but are how I view the reality of it.

First, apologies to the people in the 14th and 20th Legislative Districts. Your districts cross county lines and I simply do not have access to other counties at this time, so I am unable to predict how those races will go.

I’ll begin with the 3rd Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, challenged by Democrat Bob Dingethal. Herrera Beutler will retain the seat easily this election.

I base that on the dismal fundraising on behalf of Dingethal as well as his refusal to answer simple questions asked by potential constituents. I also base it upon the re-districting for the 10th Congressional District that created more of a Republican leaning district.

Dingethal has indicated, with his refusal to respond to simple questions, that he would be even more distant and inaccessible than Jaime has been.

I see Jaime Herrera Beutler holding the seat handedly.

Moving on to the 17th Legislative District, two seats are being vied for in the State House of Representatives, one held by Democrat Monica Stonier and being challenged by Republican Lynda Wilson and the other held by Republican Paul Harris, challenged by Democrat Richard McCluskey.

Position 1, held by Stonier, looks to be the closest race this year and could go either way. Wilson received more votes in the primary, but Stonier does have the incumbents’ advantage. Stonier has been very effective in her claim of not supporting tax increases, although her remaining keeps her party in the majority that easily passes tax increases without her vote.

Of concern with Stonier is why, considering how the Democrat Party has ousted every other elected representative that did not follow and vote lock-step with the party, does Stonier receive a pass? My belief is she receives a pass to continue fooling voters and holding a seat that should be occupied by a Republican like Lynda Wilson.

Stonier took the lead by a slim margin in a 2012 recount, 139 votes out of nearly 55,000 cast. It is very possible that we will see a repeat as Democrats will do everything they can to retain this seat, but in spite of a couple missteps by a few of her supporters, I predict the slim margin this time will go to Lynda Wilson.

For Position 2, Paul Harris will easily retain his incumbency. The new leadership in the Clark County GOP has cooled towards Paul, but voters have twice elected him by healthy margins, liking how he represents them.

For the 18th Legislative District, a solid Republican stronghold, I see no changes.

Position 1 is currently held by Republican Brandon Vick and he is being challenged by newcomer, Democrat Mike Briggs. Vick’s first term has been uneventful, but that seems to have resonated with voters in the primary as he easily outpaced Republican challenger, John Ley.

Briggs is an outspoken liberal that has come down on the wrong side of every issue affecting Clark County and the 18th. He foolishly thinks his having received the highest number of votes in the primary ensures him a win in November, not realizing the Republican vote was split and they will band together once again to return Vick.

Briggs is in for an embarrassing defeat when reality sets in and he sees Brandon Vick reelected.

Position 2 is held by a popular Republican, Liz Pike and her challenger, Democrat Maureen Winningham is largely unknown outside of a small circle of Democrats.

Winningham’s campaign so far has been efforts to accuse Pike of “bullying” because they disagree on issues. She has roots in corporate America when a massive outsourcing of jobs occurred. She has not articulated a message that will resonate in the 18th and will be easily defeated by Liz Pike.

The 49th Legislative District, on the other hand, is a Democrat stronghold and has not seen a Republican elected to the House since 1998 for position 1, 1972 for position 2.

In all likelihood, they will hold the 49th.

Position 1 is currently held by Democrat Sharon Wylie, appointed to replace Jim Jacks in 2012, who was forced to resign in disgrace. Wylie is being challenged by newcomer, Republican Anson Service.

Service is trying a new approach with his “100% Vancouver” shopping and labeling himself a “true Progressive” early on, but the 49th has shown an abhorrence to voting for Republicans, no matter how they appear.

Service will give it a good effort and will likely end up doing better than past Republicans have, but Wylie will pull it out due to her being a Democrat in this district.

Position 2 is held by Democrat Jim ‘da Taxman’ Moeller who has won the seat five times. He is being challenged by Republican, Lisa Ross who unsuccessfully ran for Vancouver School District in 2013.

Moeller is a very experienced politician and knows how to build support. Ross is more of a novice without a clue of what she is doing, evidenced by her recent side by side interview on CVTV, reading every answer to questions, including her personal history, verbatim, word for word from papers held up at eye level.

Her slogan of “Choose More” leaves one wondering, more what?

To date she has voiced what sounds more like talking points that a majority of voters in the 49th have repeatedly rejected.

I predict Moeller will remain in the House by a wide margin this election, possibly one of the largest he has ever won by.

Moving on to Sheriff, we have two candidates, Chuck Atkins and Shane Gardner. Gardner is a Sergeant in the Sheriff’s Department and Atkins is a highly experienced, retired commander. Gardner has broadcast he knows he doesn’t have the experience for the office by announcing his choice of a retired Washington County Sheriff to be his undersheriff.

Gardner is a good and valuable deputy, but he is just not ready to be Sheriff. Atkins will win Sheriff by a wide margin.

For County Commissioner, we have two vying for the seat abandoned by Steve Stuart, Democrat Craig Pridemore, who can’t seem to make up his mind what he wants, having left the County Commission early to run for State Senate, launching an unsuccessful bid  for the 3rd Congressional District, leaving the Senate to run for State Auditor where he was eliminated in the primary and took a job with the Dept. of Licensing in Olympia, only to leave that now to return and run for County Commissioner again, all in less than 9 years.

Republican Jeanne E. Stewart, who was voted off of the Vancouver City Council in 2013, in part due to a smear campaign by downtown special interests, is also running.

Pridemore came out ahead in the primary when only one district voted, but the General will see the entire county voting and I predict Ms. Stewart will pick up a lot of support, voters seeing Pridemore’s wandering around, support for the CRC boondoggle light rail project and blatantly lying about the reasoning for a Home Rule Charter he supports compared to Ms. Stewart’s solid, steady support of citizens over special interests over the years.

Jeanne E. Stewart should easily win this race, barring the GOP pulling some sort of boneheaded move.

For County Assessor, Republican Peter Van Nortwick will easily hold the office against the challenge by Democrat Darren Wertz.

Van Nortwick has made good on promises to modernize the Assessor’s office and Wertz has not articulated any viable reason to elect him over Van Nortwick.

The County Clerk position is currently held by Republican Scott Weber and he is challenged by Democrat Deanna Pauli-Hammond, a political novice that articulated her desire to run for the position as her “family is raised and she has a little bit of time” to get involved in the community along with “You know, I was working 70 hours a week, I was answering emails all weekend and, I needed life balance” as her main reasons for seeking the position.

Weber ran last time on a platform of ending the office and has not done much to move in that direction, but the office has operated smoothly under his guidance and I predict voters will see no real reason to oust him just to help Pauli Hammond find “life balance.”

Scott Weber will retain the office.

For Prosecuting Attorney, Democrat Tony Golik will easily retain the office against Republican challenger, Josie Townsend.

Many Republicans that know Ms. Townsend have thrown their support to Golik, even before her history of rubbing many people the wrong way came to light.

The County Treasurers Office has been held by Democrat Doug Lasher for several years. He is being challenged by Republican Lauren Colas.

A look at the return on the County’s investments shows very small returns, an issue Ms. Colas has voiced under a promise of “improvement, transparency, and accountability.”

Lasher has been treasurer for over 30 years and has the incumbency as well as name recognition. He bested Ms. Colas by 8% in the primary, but voter turnout was pathetic.

Voters pay little attention to the race for County Treasurer, unfortunately and even though I would like to see Lauren Colas take over the office, I predict Lasher will once again be reelected.

Last and certainly by no means least, the Home Rule Charter, drawn up because Democrats that have long opposed any change in county government decided they did not like having a conservative majority on the County Commission and are pissed over the hiring of State Senator Don Benton to head the Clark County’s director of environmental services.

Freeholders were elected to draft the new charter and the process was highjacked in a way to radically change county government in high hopes of Democrats being returned to a majority.

Past efforts to change county government all failed and in spite of a high dollar, high pressure campaign by Democrats, I predict that once again the effort will fail as voters realize they are being sold a bill of goods in order to undo the 2012 election.

As I said in the beginning, these predictions are subject to change as more information is seen from each campaign.

As much as I would like to see different results in some races, especially in the 49th, this is how I see it so far.

I hope to see more voter turnout than was seen in August for the primary.

Urge your friends and neighbors to register to vote, if they aren’t and then fill out those ballots.

Your side can never win if you don’t vote.

14 Comments to “2014 Election Predictions”

  1. Agreed.

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  2. Lew I believe you are right on with these predictions. I want to hope that you are wrong about the County Treasurers race. We need to get Lauren elected because she would be a great addition to the county. I am working to educate people I know who know little about the County Treasurer as to why we need Lauren Colas and I am hoping that maybe the tide will turn this election against Doug Lasher.

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  3. Micheline, the main thing I see working against Lauren is Lasher’s name recognition. Few people actually pay much attention to this race, most leaving debates before they come on.

    Y’all need to do everything you can to get her name out there and make it known why they need to pay attention to the Treasurer race.

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  4. I suspect that you are spot on here. I certainly hope that Wilson wins and the charter fails and Stewart wins. The rest I am pretty sure are solid predictions. Good luck to us all!

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  5. I mainly tend to agree with your predictions. I don’t have a feel at all for the Charter outcome – sure hope your right on that one. If enough people vote who are paying attention, Stewart should easily overcome Pridemore. If the turnout isn’t great, it could be very close.

    I think for a Democrat Stonier is a pretty good representative, but the problem as you say, isn’t really with her, but with the Democrat majority. On the other hand, I would hate to see someone who has stood on principle, and kept her word as Stonier has, be rejected by the voters. The message that sends to Olympia is that integrity has no real value.

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  6. I am not convinced that it is a matter of integrity with Monica.

    I find it very odd that other Democrats not following along and voting lock-step are ostracized by the party, yet they boast of her not following along the party line.

    Very curious and smacks of insincerity, all to hold a seat giving them the majority.

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  7. Ha! I just wrote a long post in response then realized that I was echoing exactly what you’re saying. The Dems are laying off her so they can hold the seat.

    However, I do think she has integrity. I was in contact with her when she was voting against the tax increase, and believe me, she was really being slammed in private by her caucus colleagues. It takes integrity and guts to hold out against that kind of pressure.

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  8. Her integrity is not at issue. A vote for Stonier means a vote for tax and spend fringe-left Seattle centric leadership… If she had all that much integrity, she wouldn’t be a democrat.

    Hinton

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  9. Yes, that’s while I’ll probably be voting for Wilson. I’m waiting for Stonier’s response on some questions I emailed to her campaign a while back before I make a final decision.

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  10. Since Monica is very much pro-education, the Lazy C once declining to endorse her due to what they felt was too close of ties to the teachers union, I can’t help but wonder where she will sit when Moeller and the rest propose the expected tax increases to make up for the McCleary decision.

    That is, if she is still in the legislature.

    I’m not in the 17th, but if I were, Lynda would get my vote.

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  11. “the Lazy C once declining to endorse her..” I suspect that their hesitation to endorse her due to her close ties to education will vanish. I fully expect that they will endorse her this time. Probably with some qualifier about how she has “grown in the job” or some such nonsense.

    Lew, you hit on something that is concerning me. The September 2014 finding by the Washington Supremes will give anyone who has pledged to hold the line on taxes an out. It will allow them to vote for a tax increase….”the Supreme Court made us do it”.

    I think the real answer to this question is to amend the Washington constitution. Eliminate the phrase “paramount duty” – that’s the phrase the Supremes fixated on in their 2012 decision.

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  12. As I see it Craig, that would be a cowards way out.

    What jurisdiction does the Supreme Court have on mandating how the legislators act in regards to bills or even tax increases?

    With us already spending a little over half of the budget on education, how can anybody claim it is not being properly funded?

    I agree with you on eliminating “paramount duty,” but don’t see it ever happening, no as long as teachers unions hold the power they do today.

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  13. Hard-core wonkiness here, but Lasher should be held responsible for the shortfall in county reserves after the “upgrade” that eliminated the float. At the least, the commissioners should have been warned (by Lasher) that big changes were coming…

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  14. I’d like to see Lauren win, but as I said, that is one race few pay any attention to and vote for the incumbent, believing all is well.

    I’ll gladly be wrong 😉

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