OLYMPIA, Sept. 14.—The Association of Washington Business has announced its last remaining endorsements for the 2012 election – and as always, what’s not said is just as interesting as what is. The state’s leading business association chose not to make an endorsement in the contentious race for state auditor.
The reasoning, of course, is one of those matters that forever will remain a behind-the-closed-door mystery. But the board decision came during the organization’s annual Policy Summit at the Suncadia resort near Cle Elum, a day after Republican James Watkins and Democrat Troy Kelley sparred for an hour in one of the sharpest debates ever witnessed for a statewide position. Which, of course, might have had something to do with it.
AWB made two other endorsements in statewide races, urging re-election for Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, a Democrat who is seeking a fifth term in the post, and backing Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, a Republican, for the secretary of state position that will be vacated by Sam Reed. The organization also staged debates for Wednesday for those positions. Owen is challenged by former Senate Republican Leader Bill Finkbeiner and Wyman faces former state Sen. Kathleen Drew, a Democrat.
Other endorsements had been announced earlier, including Republican Rob McKenna for governor and Republican Reagan Dunn for attorney general, and the list also completed the organization’s legislative endorsements. Going down the list of races, one might notice another omission – no endorsement for lands commissioner. There Democrat Peter Goldmark faces a challenge from Republican tea-partier Clint Didier.
Here’s the press release:
AWB Announces Final Endorsements in 2012 Election
Employers Back Candidates for State Legislature, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State
OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business concluded its endorsements for the 2012 election cycle with the selection of Brad Owen for Washington lieutenant governor and Kim Wyman for secretary of state. AWB’s board of directors approved Owen and Wyman, in addition to several candidates for the Legislature, Thursday in conjunction with the association’s 23rd annual Policy Summit.
In June, the group endorsed Rob McKenna for governor and Reagan Dunn for attorney general.
“Voters have a chance this fall to help our state’s economy regain its footing after years of struggling,” AWB President Don Brunell said. “The governor’s race receives most of the attention — and we believe that Rob McKenna has a clear understanding of the issues affecting Washington employers — but he will need support from the Legislature to bring true reform to Olympia. Employers remain concerned about state spending that perpetually outpaces revenue and too often leads to calls to raise taxes rather than reset government. AWB’s endorsements reflect these concerns, and those of the 8,000-plus small, medium and large employers we represent.”
“Brad Owen has proven to be an effective lieutenant governor, presiding over the state Senate with strength and fairness,” added Gary Chandler, AWB vice president of government affairs. “His steady hand and cool head will be important next year as a number of new legislators take office and, hopefully, begin the hard work of reducing spending.”
“Kim Wyman has a strong track record running elections fairly and efficiently in Thurston County,” Chandler added. “Our members believe she is uniquely qualified to uphold the high standards that retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed established for the office.”
Candidate endorsements are the result of a months-long process bases on member input and candidate interviews. In the case of incumbents, any legislator with an 80 percent or higher voting record with the association receives an automatic endorsement. Automatic endorsements were also previously announced this spring, as were endorsements for Initiative 1185 (two-thirds vote for taxes) and Initiative 1240 (public charter schools).
AWB board members voted Thursday to endorse the following candidates for the state Legislature:
District Position Name Party
1 Rep. Pos. 1 Sandy Guinn R
1 Senator Dawn McCravey R
3 Senator Nancy McLaughlin GOP
4 Senator Mike Padden R
5 Rep. Pos. 2 Chad Magendanz R
5 Senator Brad Toft R
6 Rep. Pos. 2 Jeff Holy R
10 Rep. Pos. 2 Dave Hayes R
10 Senator Barbara Bailey R
11 Senator Kristin Thompson R
13 Rep. Pos. 2 Matt Manweller R
17 Rep. Pos. 1 Julie Olson R
17 Rep. Pos. 2 Paul Harris R
17 Senator Don Benton R
18 Rep. Pos. 1 Brandon Vick R
18 Rep. Pos. 2 Liz Pike R
18 Senator Ann Rivers R
19 Rep. Pos. 1 Dean Takko D
19 Rep. Pos. 2 Brian E. Blake D
19 Senator Brian Hatfield D
23 Rep. Pos. 2 James M. Olsen R
24 Senator Jim Hargrove D
25 Rep. Pos. 1 Shelly Schlumpf R
25 Senator Bruce Dammeier R
26 Rep. Pos. 2 Doug Richards R
27 Rep. Pos. 2 Jake Fey D
28 Rep. Pos. 1 Steve O’Ban R
28 Rep. Pos. 2 Paul Wagemann R
29 Rep. Pos. 1 Terry Harder R
30 Rep. Pos. 1 Linda Kochmar R
35 Rep. Pos. 1 Dan Griffey R
35 Rep. Pos. 2 Drew C. MacEwen R
39 Rep. Pos. 2 Elizabeth Scott R
39 Senator Kirk Pearson R
41 Rep. Pos. 1 Tim Eaves R
44 Rep. Pos. 1 Mark Harmsworth R
45 Rep. Pos. 1 Joel Hussey R
48 Rep. Pos. 1 Ross Hunter D
48 Rep. Pos. 2 Hank Meyers R