The incredibly diverse and populated Capitol Hill has a lot of say on who gets into office this coming election. CHS decided to talk to upcoming candidates and see if they agree with this and if they will be swinging for the Capitol Hill vote.
Speaking with Jay Inslee’s Press Secretary, Jaime Smith, she says that Capitol Hill voters are “absolutely” important to an election win, and tells CHS, “We know voters in the Capitol Hill neighborhood support Jay’s forward-looking vision for Washington on issues like marriage equality, choice and creating jobs in innovative new industries such as clean tech and life sciences. Every single vote will count in this election and we encourage everyone to be sure to vote – both in the primary and in November.” Inslee has been seen most recently on the Hill at a Street Party attended by Stranger savant Dan Savage.
Tom Barr, of Rob McKenna’s Digital Communications Team, tells CHS that McKenna has attended the “AIDS Walk for the last 15 years,” and that he recently attended, “A Child Haven event on July 20th.” When asked if he thinks the Capitol Hill vote is important to an electoral win, he replied, “Definitely” saying that McKenna’s stances on education positively affect everyone in Washington “including Capitol Hill.” Barr also posits that most Republicans dare not tread on the Hill.
One candidate however sees Capitol Hill as a lost battleground. Jami Herring, communications director for Michael Baumgartner (R) (running against Maria Cantwell (D)), says, “We don’t see ourselves doing particularly well there.” Noting the liberal background of the area and has not held any events on Capitol Hill recently but a “while back” had supporters handing out anti-war fliers in the area. When asked if the Hill would be integral to a win, she replied, “We wouldn’t say it’s the most integral part.”
Campaign Manager for the Maria Cantwell (D) campaign, Robin Brand says Capitol Hill is going to be “very important” towards an electoral win. She tells CHS that the Capitol Hill voters will be key in passing Referendum 74 legalizing same-sex marriage, an issue which Cantwell is a supporter of. As noted in my previous article she held an event on Capitol Hill at Taylors Shellfish Farm to promote shellfish conservation picking up some environmental kudos. Cantwell most recently attended an event in support of Peter Goldmark who is running to keep the seat as Commissioner of Public Lands on July 15th on Capitol Hill. Brand says the campaign is now focusing on, “encouraging Democrats who don’t normally vote to do so.”
Up and coming candidate, Andrew Hughes (D) who is running a hard race against the popular Jim McDermott (D) sees Capitol Hill as the center of his campaign. Hughes Campaign Manager, Jeff Upthegrove, says, “He is finding his cores of support are his younger progressive voters,” which he says is “very concentrated on Capitol Hill.” He recently appeared at Capitol Hill Block Party and held a kick off campaign in the area. They are currently not focusing on Capitol Hill, Upthegrove saying, “We’re appealing to other demographics,” and are currently “field operation oriented” as opposed to holding events.
Jim McDermott’s presence on the Hill can be traced back to when he won the 43rd Legislative District race in 1972, says Political Director, Dayna Lurie. “He hosted a Coffee with your Congressman where he listened to the concerns of and answered questions from Capitol Hill residents at Caffé Vita,” last year. McDermott also appeared at the 2011 Pride Festival where, “he emceed and awarded prizes during the Doggie Drag Costume Contest.” Lurie says, “The Capitol Hill vote is absolutely integral to the Congressman’s campaign strategy and that is why he has spent so much time in the neighborhood, listening to the concerns of the residents.” His most recent event on Capitol Hill was a fundraiser at the La Spiga restaurant on July 16th with special guest, actor Tom Skerritt.
Democrat Frank Chopp, now running unopposed took a moment to personally speak with CHS about his campaigning on Capitol Hill. He tells CHS he recently, “sponsored an event this past Sunday on Capitol Hill at the Cal Anderson Park…The Sunday event was a BBQ for the 43rd District Democrats.” He goes onto say, “(I) have numerous meetings in the area,” and “last week I toured the Bailey-Boushay House and talked with the staff and clients that day about health care reform.”
Seattle Central instructor Kshama Sawant (SA) has had arguably the biggest noticeable presence in the area holding many events and raising awareness at the Sunday Farmers Market. Sawant an outspoken Socialist has recently been utilizing CHS as an awareness tool posting ads for events such as this. A recent ad states she will be holding a dance party on the 25th of August at Radar Hair. Inquiries to the Sawant campaign have not been returned.
Sawant opponent Jamie Pedersen (D) was most recently seen at the Capitol Hill Pride Festival but has not done much campaigning in the area outside of this. The openly-gay candidate likely sees the Hill as a sure shot win so may be appealing to other constituencies as the Hughes campaign is doing. Pedersen has not returned calls for inquiry.