Support Public Service Journalism

Morning Wire: Rep. J.T. Wilcox, 10th CD general election, Lt. Governor write-in campaign

Learn to trust the Wire. We’ve been bringing you news and insights among the state policy community well ahead of other outlets, providing a window into the conversations taking place among insiders across Washington State. And, we’ve got a couple of items today that will be in the broader conversation in the weeks ahead. But, you heard it here first…!

If you get something from our reporting that you can’t get elsewhere, and if we help you do your job in a way that is uniquely valuable, we’d appreciate you making a financial contribution! Every bit helps as we continue to try to grow the Wire ahead of the next legislative session. So, thank you for your support!

1. How a Republican like “Rob” or “Dave” wins the Lt. Governor race

With two Democratic candidates on the ballot, you wouldn’t think Republicans would pay much attention to the Lt. Governor’s race. However, state party officials have been meeting with candidates about the possibility of a write in campaign. With two Democrats splitting the vote, so the logic goes, a Republican simply has to hold the 40% base to win the seat. You can read about some of the conversations I had on this with Republican operatives here.

Washington State as a “sore loser” law so candidates who ran for Lt. Gov and lost can’t mount a write in effort. Tim Eyman? He said he was approached but he is out. Joshua Freed is already telling folks he is in, but one insider tells me the party is unlikely to galvanize around Freed. With liberal voter intent laws, voters could simply write in “Rob” or “Dave” – for Rob McKenna or Dave Reichert – and votes would count. Another insider says “This isn’t a persuasion campaign. You don’t have to convince anyone to change their mind. You just need Republicans to write in a name.”

2. Q&A: Catching up with Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox

In a Facebook post last week, House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19. Rep. Wilcox’s announcement was received against the backdrop of primary results and continued questions over when the Legislature should reconvene.

As legislative Republicans lobby for a special session to address the state’s cash deficit and revenue shortfall, reporter Michael Goldberg spoke to Rep. Wilcox about what convening during a pandemic could look like. He also offered his analysis of the primary results and the issues he thinks could power Republicans to victory in November. 

3. New Democrats and Congressional Progressives wade into 10th CD general election

After receiving the most votes in the primary, Marilyn Strickland was added to the New Democrat Coalition PAC’s “Candidate Watch List.” Founded in 1997, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), of which incumbent Denny Heck is a member and Adam Smith has been a long time figure, describes itself as “a group of forward-thinking Democrats committed to pro-economic growth, pro-innovation, and fiscally responsible policies.” 

Leading up to the primary, the political arm of Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) spent $140,000 on TV ads for Doglio. The ads, which highlighted Doglio’s support of Medicare for All, are part of the CPC’s broader effort to defeat centrist candidates in open primaries, according to The Intercept’s reporting. The Wire looked into how competing factions within the House Democratic Caucus are wading into this contest, as well as the way this race could invert a dynamic that was present in several noteworthy Democratic House primaries of late.

4. August economic & revenue update

Major General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue collections for the July 11 – August 10, 2020 collection period came in $382.3 million (25.3%) higher than the June forecast. Cumulatively, collections are now $643.0 million (19.6%) higher than forecasted, according to a report issued yesterday by the Economic Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC). Most of this month’s surplus once again came from higher-than-expected taxable activity in retail trade, the result of the allowed opening of non-essential retail, said the ERFC.

The Council cautioned that it remains to be seen whether the increased retail activity is sustainable or just the result of a temporary release of pent-up demand. Consumer confidence declined in July, likely in response to the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. 

5. Could Murray head to HHS in Biden cabinet?

In an extensive New York Times report on how Vice President Joe Biden came to select Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, Biden was said to value having a personal relationship with his team and a placed an emphasis on coalition building. Also last week, some of my DC sources started telling me they were hearing Sen. Patty Murray’s name bandied about as a possible pick to lead the Dept. of Health and Human Services. 

That’s a rumor worth watching. Biden and Murray go back to 1993 when she arrived in the Senate. He has campaigned out here repeatedly for her over the years, including as the headline for her “Golden Tennis Shoes Award” luncheon. Moreover, she is also the lead Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) where she has been the Democrat’s lead voice on health reform. That includes having built the most prominent health legislation in recent years, the Alexander-Murray compromise bill, though McConnell wouldn’t let it come to the floor. 

Your support matters.

Public service journalism is important today as ever. If you get something from our coverage, please consider making a donation to support our work. Thanks for reading our stuff.