Dec 13 | 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference | Learn More

Morning Wire: Election update, Pfizer, SeaTac plane incident

We wanted to pull in the latest vote totals from last week’s primary to get to you today.  So, our Morning Wire email is a bit more of a Noon Wire email.  We appreciate your patience!  Lots for you here from our team including Marjie High and Emily Boerger.

And, as you know, we’re looking to hire another Olympia correspondent.  If you’d care to apply, take a look at our job description.  Drop us a note if you’re interested.

1. The shape of the next Democratic House majority

The primary election returns in Washington State portend a major wave for Democratic candidates in legislative races. Based on election night returns, I thought House Democrats might pick up as many as 23 seats, giving them a 73 seat majority for the first time in 80 years.  Now that we’re a week out, and Republican votes have trickled in, Democrats look to be somewhere between 63 and 69 members in the House.

Some key incumbents to watch include Paul Graves in the 5th LD, the two Republican incumbents in the 10th LD, close races in the 35th LD, and potential Democratic pickups in the 42nd. Of course, demographics and turnout differ between the primary and general electorate, but data suggests these trends to likely hold true in November.

2.  An expanding Senate Democrat majority

In July we brought you an op-ed by government relations professional Isaac Kastama on the “fraught pathway” to a Republican State Senate majority in 2019. With primary results in, it appears nearly all the steps along this pathway are heading in the Democrats direction. For example, in the 44th LD, Steve Hobbs sits comfortably with a 14 point lead over his Republican challenger. In the 48th, Patty Kuderer leads Rodney Tom by over 30 points, and as of now, a Democrat leads in the race for retiring Jan Angel’s seat.

On top of this, there are a few unexpected Senate races that may help widen Democrats lead in the Senate. In the 6th LD, late primary results have helped Republican Jeff Holy take the lead against Democrat Jessa Lewis, but the race remains tight. And in the 42nd, Doug Erickson has 45.96% of the vote, while his Democratic challengers combine for 54.04%. In total, Emily Boerger on our team sees four seats where Senate Democrats could expand their majority.

3.  Pfizer to be an Event Sponsor of Re-Wire

We are about to begin our Convening Panel process for our 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference coming up on December 13th!  So, we are also excited to announce that Pfizer has partnered with the Wire to be one of this year’s three Event Sponsors!

We’re thrilled, to be candid. Pfizer is one of the biggest names in American pharmaceuticals and their participation and support at this year’s event is a great validator of our approach to covering and convening Washington State’s most important policy makers.

So, save the date – December 13th!  And, if you’re interested in sponsoring, speaking, or joining our Convening Panel, just reply to this email and let me know.  I look forward to the conversation.

4. Three WA districts “at risk” of impacting US House control

While US House Democrats face an uphill battle flipping the 24 House seats needed to regain control of Congress, the 8th, 5th, and 3rd CDs here in Washington will likely figure prominently. A few days prior to the August 7th primary, the Cook Political Report highlighted these races as “at risk” seats likely to impact US House control. With the majority of votes now counted, state primary results are reinforcing this prediction.

While late voter tallies have shifted the results slightly in Republicans favor, the races are tighter than expected, and certainly tighter than in recent years. Cathy McMorris Rodgers currently leads Lisa Brown by about 3 points. And in the 8th, Dino Rossi has 43.17% of the vote while his Democratic challengers combine for about 49%. In the 3rd CD, Jaime Herrera Beutler sits at about 42% of the vote (other R’s adding 8.86%) while the Democratic candidates total 49%. Following the early primary results, the Cook Report shifted JHB’s district from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”

5.  Seattle Times writer calls out Sen. Chase on Twitter

On Thursday, Seattle Times editorial writer Melissa Santos wrote a column fact-checking a op-ed in which Sen. Maralyn Chase defended the legislature’s recent attempt to push through a bill exempting lawmakers from the Public Records Act. The following morning, Chase sent out a fundraising email claiming she was being targeted by “half-truths and vulgarity” from members of the media.

Santos followed up with a Twitter thread where she defended her reporting and challenged Chase’s claim using excerpts of a transcript of Chase’s recent interview with The Seattle Times editorial board. The thread includes quotes not previously released to the public related to the Senator’s willingness to turn over records and the legislature’s motivation for pushing through the controversial legislation. You can read the full thread here.

6.  US Senators drop bill to “clear the way” for coal terminal

U.S. Republican Senators from Montana, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Oklahoma are sponsoring a bill to amend the Clean Water Act, in order to “clear the way for construction of the Millennium Bulk Terminal” in Longview, Washington. The bill comes after six states, including Wyoming and Montana, filed an amicus brief in support of Millennium Bulk and its lawsuit against Gov. Inslee’s administration for blocking progress on the coal terminal project.

The bill would require states to publish clear water quality requirements and only allow states to consider on-site discharges when determining water quality. Both Everett King, President and CEO of Lighthouse Resources, as well as Montana Attorney General Tim Fox issued statements in support of the bill.

7.  Four noteworthy items from the SeaTac plane incident

Some in the mainstream media didn’t quite know how best to cover the recent SeaTac plane incident. It didn’t fit into the normal stolen plane narrative. But, Twitter was all over this, with audio files of the pilot, observations about language, and the bracing realization that while tragic, this could have been devastatingly so.

In this post, I outline four key things to consider as policy makers consider what to make of it.  Perhaps the most important thing you might do is listen to the audio recordings. They give you a window into a person’s state of mind in the moments between knowing they face certain death but before the actual event. It’s a head space few of us ever get access to, so it’s worth reflecting on when we have the opportunity.