Upcoming Conference | 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 10, 2019 Register

Morning Wire: Election security, political advertising, Topical Agenda

Two weeks from now is Election Day. Twelve weeks from now, the 2019 legislative session kicks off.  So, as soon as one hurdle gets behind us, another is on the horizon.  That said, the date you’ll really want to pencil into your calendar is December 13th. We’ll host about 300 of Washington State’s most important policy makers and issue advocates at the 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference.  We’d love to have you with us.
With help from Emily Boerger and Marjie High

1. Fake campaign pushes write-in candidates to split Democratic vote

In multiple legislative districts across the state, voters have received mailers urging them to vote in “real progressive” candidates, rather than the Democratic candidates listed on their ballots. But the group responsible for the ads, “Conscience of the Progressives,” lists conservative activist Glen Morgan as their executive director.

In the 19th LD, the ads ask voters to write in Teresa Purcell, who ran for the State House in 2016, rather than 2018 candidate Democrat Erin Frasier. Primary results in the 19th LD show a tight race for Representative separated by 136 votes between incumbent Rep. Jim Walsh and Frasier. In districts like these, splitting even a small portion of the Democratic vote could impact the outcome.

2. How has election security improved since 2016?

Last week, Gov. Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman held a press conference to discuss updates to Washington State’s election security. Prior to the 2016 general election, Washington was one of 21 states targeted by Russian hackers. Though the hackers were unsuccessful in Washington, the attempt confirmed the importance of continuing to bolster state’s election security.

Since the 2016 elections, an influx of nearly $8 million from Congress has allowed Washington to add multiple layers of physical and electronic security. The Secretary of State’s office is also working in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and the Washington National Guard to identify cybersecurity threats. Our rundown of the election security updates can be found here.

3. ICYMI: Our Topical Agenda is now out!

In case you missed it, last week we released our Topical Agenda for the 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference. This year’s conference is coming up on December 13th and will tee up some of the most important conversations coming in the 2019 legislative session!

As you may know, our agenda is built with input from stakeholders from across the political spectrum who represent some of the most thoughtful leaders and advocates in Washington State policy circles. At the event we’ll explore lessons learned during the midterms, state fiscal and economic issues, and private sector issues as well. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions on what we should include, you can send those my way. And if you haven’t already registered, we’d be honored to have you join us!

4. Tacoma Councilman back from 6 month tour in Afghanistan

You don’t hear about elected officials in Washington State going off to military service very often. Sen. Steve Hobbs had a deployment this year in Estonia for “a few short weeks” on a NATO training program. Another example of an elected official getting called up is Tacoma Councilman Robert Thoms.

Thoms just returned from six months in Afghanistan – a theater where the US finds itself still at war since invading in late 2001. He surprised his son by throwing out the first pitch at his son’s baseball game last week.  Thoms tells me that he got out “in the nick of time as several members of my team were attacked just a few days ago.”

Thanks for your service, Councilman.

5.  New Data: Health care the top issue in political advertising

Health care continues to be a key issue in federal midterm races across the country, according to a new analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project. Between Sept. 18th and Oct. 15th, 45.9 percent of broadcast television ads for federal races mentioned health care. In pro-Democrats ads, health care was mentioned in 54.5 percent of ads, a major jump from 2016 when it was mentioned in just 10 percent of ads.

The analysis also tracked races with the most political ad airings. The data shows Washington’s 8th CD race between Dino Rossi and Kim Schrier ranking in the top 20 House races in the country based on ad airings during the month long period. In this race, where health care is also a key issue, 6,217 ads aired during the month, estimated to cost $4.2 million.

6.  57 questions for Sen. Joe Fain from his accuser

The rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain got some early media attention. Fain called for an investigation to clear his name, and denied all allegations.  Except there is no independent investigative authority to review such claims.  In the case of Matt Manweller, it was the House Republican Caucus that pushed Manweller to step down from his position, but only after a complete investigation had run its course.  Now, Fain’s accuser has outlined a set of 57 questions that she says any investigation should explore. The questions are compelling, powerful, and read like a cross examination.

We don’t pass judgement on this sort of thing at the Wire.  But, we believe that – once the issue has been raised in the public domain – relevant information should be available for all parties to clear their name or support their claim. So, after considerable discussion, we’ve decided to highlight these 57 questions for you in the Wire.  I think the question is now this:  what investigative role should the state Senate play (and specifically the Republican Caucus) in this matter to resolve any open questions?