Race for executive a hot one

When it comes to politics, do voters around here still want change?

Political

Columnist

When it comes to politics, do voters around here still want change?

We’ll know later this summer, specifically Aug. 18. That’s when voters will decide which two candidates for King County executive advance to the November ballot.

The race for the region’s most powerful post was left wide open when Ron Sims resigned to take a high-ranking post in the Obama Administration. Some people believe that Sims left deep shoes to fill. Actually, what he left was a deep deficit that his successor will have to clean up. Five credible contenders want the job. Two are liberal county councilmen from Seattle who can’t stand each other. Two are moderately liberal legislators from the east side who are close friends. And one, the lone woman in the race, is a moderately conservative political outsider. Let’s start with her.

Susan Hutchison was a popular news anchor for KIRO-TV for more than 20 years. She now heads a local foundation and has more than twice the name recognition of any of her opponents. Her biggest advantage? She’s never run before. Her biggest liability? She’s never run before. But if voters want a genuine outsider – and they might – she is their candidate (susanhutchison.com).

If Hutchison is the best known candidate, Larry Phillips is the best organized, with the biggest war chest. He was in county government 25 years ago, served a stint in the Legislature from Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill area and soon jumped to the County Council, where he’s been eying the executive’s office for most of this decade. His major drawback: at a time when many people aren’t happy with King County government, he’s had more influence on its current size and shape than any other council member (larryphillips.com).

Phillips isn’t the only councilman who wants a promotion. Dow Constantine represented West Seattle in the state Legislature and moved up to the council seven years ago. He and Phillips agree about 90 percent of the time and despise each other. But rather than take on Phillips, Constantine has attacked Hutchison, reasoning that he’ll generate more headlines and accolades from liberal voters by ripping the more conservative newcomer than a fellow Democrat.

But sooner or later, Constantine has to make the case that he, rather than Phillips, should advance to the general election (dowconstantine.com).

And now for the eastsiders … Fred Jarrett wants end a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sectors by taking the reins of county government. A liberal Republican turned liberal Democrat, Jarrett offers himself as a suburban alternative to the Seattle Democratic machine that has controlled the courthouse for most of the last dozen years. Biggest drawback: skeptics wonder if Jarrett is too affable and not quite tough enough to force genuine change in county government (vote4fred.com).

Ross Hunter, a former Microsoft executive and rising star in the Legislature from Medina, announced his candidacy in late spring and has been eating into Jarrett’s eastside base with each passing day.

If Hutchison offers a new face, Hunter offers a fresh one. He is smart enough to know that union demands on a compliant council have created deficits and service cutbacks that simply cannot be sustained, let alone perpetuated. Biggest drawback: his campaign needs more energy, more populism, and less wonk-talk if he hopes to catch fire (rosshunter.com).

Even though politics isn’t a summer sport, follow this race. Elections reveal public moods. We may know as early as Aug. 18 what voters will likely do in November of 2009 and maybe November of 2010.

More in Opinion

Enumclaw boys, join the scouts

Troop 422 here in Enumclaw has taught me these things, and it has allowed me to be able to incorporate these things into my own life.

Concessions may be needed to enact carbon pricing

This is the sixth year Gov. Jay Inslee will try to convince lawmakers that the best means of fighting climate change is by making it more expensive to pollute.

Humility allows for tolerance of other’s opinions

Each of us has grown up in different circumstances. Each has been shaped by our life experiences. Each of us sees the world around us differently as a result. Why, then, should it be so difficult to understand that no two people will agree on every issue?

President Trump working toward the vision of our Founders

President Trump is working to return power and liberty to the people.

Inslee: ‘It’s our state’s destiny … to fight climate change’

In his State-of-the-State address, the governor made the case for an ambitious carbon tax.

Culture, politics have and continue to shape race relations

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

Better luck this year, Eyman

2017 was a stinky year for Tim Eyman. It ended with a thud last week when he confessed to not collecting enough signatures to get onto the ballot a measure that would reduce car tab fees and kneecap Sound Transit.

Don’t label all Trump supporters as racist

While the column correctly points out that Trump supporters are happy with his performance and still enthusiastically support him, Mr. Elfers had to inject the liberal “lie” that Trump supporters are racist.

Political turmoil makes nations stronger

Finish this sentence: “What doesn’t kill you___________.” This is how I introduced my recent continuing education class entitled, “President Trump a Year Later.” Of course, this quote is normally completed with the words, “makes you stronger.”

U.S., Russia agree on Middle East situation

Since Russia helped Syria’s Bashar al-Assad stay in power and helped to defeat ISIS, are Russia and the U.S. at odds in the Middle East? Is Russia threatening American dominance in the region? The answer to both is no.

Page-turners: Best books of 2017

Continuing an end-of-year tradition that dates back more than 15 years, the King County Library System has chosen its Best Books of 2017.

Anthem protests about equality, not disrespect

For all who write negative comments about the football players who took a knee and posted that “this is not the America we grew up in,” let me share a few of the personal events from my life growing up in Tacoma Washington as a white woman.