Recommendations in Statewide Races

By Washington State Wire editorial board

[NOTE:  Washington State Wire reporter Erik Smith did not participate in these endorsements.]

We asked a collection of staff, readers, occasional contributors and capitol insiders to help us fill out our ballots. Here are our endorsements for statewide races in 2012:

U.S. Senate:

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

They say you need a reason to replace an incumbent. When it comes to Maria Cantwell we can’t come up with one. She works hard, is learning to work across the aisle and is a tireless advocate for all things Washington State. Current State Senator Michael Baumgartner has run a respectable campaign, distinguishing himself as a pragmatic conservative willing to challenge his party on the war in Afghanistan and drug policy. Selfishly, we need leaders like him in Olympia. With a few more political accomplishments to claim we think he will make an excellent candidate for statewide office.



Rob McKenna, Republican candidate for governor.

In 28 years of Democratic control of the state’s chief executive office, state government has collected a lot of dust. A recent report by State Auditor Brian Sontag’s Office on the multitude of failed management efforts underscores the need for real housecleaning. The simplest way to do that is to elect Rob McKenna who will shake up the seats at the table and provide a needed reset. Our message to Democrats and Independents too is simple: if in four years’ time you are not satisfied there will be no shortage of Democratic hopefuls in 2016 far more convincing than Jay Inslee to vote for. Inslee has just not shown a functional grasp of key state issues, and has offered a business as usual agenda that has too often failed our state on critical issues such as education. If McKenna loses, it’s hard to imagine another Republican able of surmounting a viable challenge the next go around. So the real number to be concerned about is not 28, it’s 36. That’s just way too long for one party to be in charge. We join the thinking people, and all of the state’s major newspapers with our endorsement of Attorney General Rob McKenna for governor.


Lieutenant Governor:

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, Democratic candidate for governor.

Again, is there a reason to replace Brad Owen? We think not. Former Sen. Bill Finkbeiner’s platform of government reform is intriguing, however it is misdirected at Owen, who has been a model for bipartisan action. Finkbeiner would do a fine job, but we say stay the course with Owen.


Secretary of State:

Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, Republican candidate for secretary of state.

In the race to replace Secretary Sam Reed, Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman stands out as the competent, non-partisan, and wonky leader to bring elections management into the next century. Unlike her suspiciously partisan longtime political operative opponent Kathleen Drew, Wyman actually has experience managing an office of people and is respected by those in the elections field (she is endorsed by an impressive list of Democratic and Republican County Auditors). With hotly contested debates over registration, integrity and fragile public confidence Wyman has to get the nod.


State Treasurer:

State Treasurer James McIntire.

We like the job Jim McIntire has done, so we suggest he keep doing it. McIntire has come out publicly supporting fiscal responsibility in the face of his own party’s “light-bulb-snatch” funding plans. We respect anyone who steps up to run for statewide office, but being treasurer of the local little league team is not sufficient background for the job of keeper of the state loot. Ms. Hanek needs a little more time on the field before she is ready for the state stage.


State Auditor:


James Watkins, candidate for state auditor.

Auditor Brian Sonntag refers to the office as the “window into our government.” It’s a job that demands the ultimate trust of citizens. That’s why our pick is James Watkins. Watkins has the experience and commitment to carry on the great job done by Sonntag. His opponent, Troy Kelley has too much swirling around his candidacy to lay a foundation for trust and openness.


Attorney General:

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, Republican candidate for attorney general.

Reagan Dunn is our choice for this statewide counselor post. Dunn is a former Federal Prosecutor / Assistant US Attorney, Western District of Washington, Terrorism and Violent Crime Unit; Special Assistant US Attorney, Southern Florida and District of Columbia; Senior Counsel to the Director, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. His opponent has served three terms on a King County Council that has distinguished itself in its effort to dig tunnels and build even more sports arenas. This position is about the law, not roads and basketball.

Tagged as
  • Bird in Hand

    When did the Washington State Wire become a Republican mouthpiece?

  • Jim King

    So Erik did not participate, but we don’t know who did.  Editorial boards normally publicly acknowledge their membership

    • Jim Boldt

      To WSW,

      To all those liberal and conservative malcontents out there who
      place endorsements on the same level as canonization, and when their saints
      are slighted, see heretic conspiracies, I say two things — remember,
      opinions are like other parts of our body, most of us have one, and please
      take a breath, have a drink and get a life. As a former manager and blogger
      at the Wire I am one of the inquisition priests who came up with
      the endorsements. And we did it not on partisan or ideological grounds
      but based on our poor blind ambition to grasp at any glimmer of light that
      might in different ways force Olympia to get real. And we had a great
      working dinner.

      – Jim Boldt
      President, Duckabush Communications
      Lilliwaup, Washington 

  • Kage McClued

    Perfect.  I didn’t vote for any of them except Watkins, who seems to be less of a crook..

    Confusing McKenna and Dunn with Republicans is the problem, you see.  Brad is a crook who’s jacked his office budget into the stratosphere, while $10′s of thousands have vaporized; McIntire is a state income tax addict, Wyman is endorsed by that utter waste of political skin Sam Reed (meaning she’s likely to be equally worthless) and Cantwell’s only accomplishment to date is to break up several marriages (really, Maria?  Ron D.  a few days before he was married to someone else?  Seriously?)

    I see that as the problem with this state’s politics.  Who is it that said I’d never want to join a club that would allow me to be a member?