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Wire Poll on Mayor Race, Re-Wire Policy Conference, Government shutdown

We have poll results out from our first Wire Poll, and some suggested topics to share for this fall’s first Re-Wire Policy Conference.

So, while summer is just days away, we’ve got a few things we think are worth keeping your eye on as you find time to hit the beach and mountains this season.

1. Wire Poll:  Results in Seattle Mayor’s race

The Washington State Wire fielded a poll in the Seattle mayor’s race over the weekend, and found some interesting results. You can get the full summary here, or take a look at the topline results here.

Jenny Durkan is solidly in the lead and has a good favorability rating.  Second place is tight but Bob Hasegawa has a slim lead, and favorables comparable to Durkan.

Two other things to watch.  If Ed Murray jumps back in the race, it’s likely he gets through the primary, taking significant votes from Durkan.  If Nikkita Oliver gets out (I see no sign she will), enough of her voters move to Mike McGinn that he could squeak through to the general.

2. Convening Panel for the 2017 Re-Wire Policy Conference

We’re building a policy conference for the fall with the intention of bringing together one of the most diverse and most senior groups of policy makers and private-sector executives to address the challenges of our politics and economics today.

The agenda development process relies heavily on a diverse, bi-partisan group of folks on our Convening Panel.  It’s an impressive group.

The Convening Panel met recently to talk through a series of topics they’d previously offered.  That conversation distilled topics into a few more concrete ideas, which we’re sorting through now.  If you’d like to offer your feedback, we’d love to have it.  You can take this survey ranking the various topics we are teeing up.

3.  Elway on the urban-rural electoral divide

Stu Elway has been tracking and measuring trends since 1992. We don’t always think of him this way, but he is one of America’s pillars of public opinion polling, something that first developed in the 70s. Nate Silver gives him an A+ rating, one of six in the country.

In a post at the Wire, Elway argues that the “Cascade Curtain,” the mythical element dividing Democrats and Republicans along the mountain range summit, has shifted. “The great divide now is urban–rural more than east-west,” Elway says, meaning the areas in play are now fewer and focused on specific suburban areas outside Seattle.

4. State government shutdown contingency plans

We’re getting to that place where OFM and state agencies are prepping for a world without budget authority starting July 1. Some legislators are beginning to paint the picture for constituents about what things will look like if government “shuts down.”

Few believe we’ll actually get to a shut down, but the prospect does seem somehow more likely now than in prior games of brinksmanship.

It’s not clear which side will earn the blame if a deal isn’t struck, but a recent editorial in The Olympian laid most of the blame at the feet of ideology about taxes. Another editorial in The Seattle Times by former Representative Brendan Williams places the blame on lack of incentives to avoid a special session and the lack of discussion between the chambers.

5. Everett’s mayoral race intriguing, too

There is an interesting race for mayor of Everett (pop. 106k) where only 11,000 ballots are expected to be cast in the primary.  Brian Sullivan is on the County Council, spent time in the legislature and actually served as the Mayor of Mukilteo in the 1990s. He’s raised almost $100,000 and lined up support among organizations he’s been close to throughout his career: labor, enviro groups, local Dems.

He’s facing City Councilmember Cassie Franklin, who has a bi-partisan lineup of what I think of as “new Everett” leaders.  These individuals – like Ray Stephanson and Bob Drewel – may have been around for years, but they are focused on economic growth in ways that transcend partisan politics. This generally includes expansion of Paine Field, something Alaska Air is pushing and which Sullivan has long opposed.

City Council President Judy Tuohy is running as “the Everett native in this race.” She’s got a good endorsement list as well, raising about as much money as Franklin – both at about $50,000.

Gender dynamics, “old labor” versus “new economy,” native versus transplant: this race has a lot going on.  But, with only 11,000 votes expected in the primary, one may only need 3,000 ballots to get to the general.

6. WA insurance rates and political response

Health plans requested rates increase from 9.8% to 38.49% for the 2018 individual market. These rates have become the benchmark for measuring health care under the ACA. It’s an incomplete barometer, but an important one – and certainly one that DC policy makers highlight.

One county will have no individual plan at all: Klickitat. I’m told legislation is getting drafted that might allow for individuals there to buy into Medicaid plans, a potential pre-cursor for a Medicaid-for-all model.  If commercial rates keep going up, it’s possible the Medicaid option could become a policy option for legislators concerned about costs