August Primary results: Lascelles will face Chopp in race for 43rd

(Image: Sherae for State)

Sherae Lascelles, an activist who put aside more traditional campaigning efforts to focus on their work with Decriminalize Seattle and securing emergency housing for those in need during the COVID-19 crisis will take on incumbent Rep. Frank Chopp in the race to represent Capitol Hill and the rest of the 43rd District in Olympia.

That result was one of the few unknowns sorted out in the first ballot counts in Washington’s August Primary Tuesday night. Now, we also know which Republican will take on incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee in November. Continue reading

August Primary election endorsement round-up: 36(!) candidates for governor, the most ‘contentious’ race on your ballot, and help making your choice for things like ‘Insurance Commissioner’

There are lots of names to choose from on the ballot for the governor’s race but probably only one you should really choose

Ballots have been sent out for August’s primary election giving Capitol Hill voters the opportunity to cast a ballot and help set the course for races for a handful of seats in the state legislature, the governor’s office, and one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

ENDORSEMENTS: 43rd District Democrats, King County Young Democrats, The Urbanist, The Seattle Times, The Stranger

  • Position 1, 43rd Legislative District: Two-term Democratic incumbent Nicole Macri is up against Republican Leslie Klein and independent Brandon Franklin. She has received widespread endorsements from 43rd District Democrats, King County Young Democrats, The Stranger, the Seattle Times and The Urbanist, with the latter pointing to her healthcare initiatives and efforts against Washington’s rent control ban.
  • Position 2, 43rd Legislative District: This race is a bit more contentious with longtime Democratic incumbent Frank Chopp running for reelection against newcomers Sherae Lascelles of the Seattle People’s Party and Democrat Jessi Murray. The Seattle Times recommends Chopp, given his 25 years of experience and prominent initiatives like affordable housing, and King County Young Democrats endorse Murray. The Urbanist and The Stranger both endorse Lascelles, citing their experience in forming organizations to help sex workers and their firsthand experience dealing with institutional racism and living as a sex worker.  CHS took an in-depth look at the race here.
  • UPDATE: 37th Legislative District: In the race for Position 1, incumbent Sharon Tomiko Santos gets the nod across the board. In the race for Position 2, you can almost feel the endorsement editors struggling over two worthy candidates. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington executive director Kirsten Harris-Talley gets the pick from the Young Democrats, the Stranger, and The Urbanist, while the Times backs city employee and activist Chukundi Salisbury for his “thoughtful, informed” approach.
  • Governor: Somehow, there are 36 candidates running for governor, including “anti-tax” activist Tim Eyman and community organizer Omari Tahir Garrett. King County Young Democrats, 43rd District Democrats, The Urbanist and The Stranger all endorse two-time incumbent Jay Inslee, with the latter pointing to his climate change action promises and that he has “done a good job steering the state through the pandemic.”

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Politics through a pandemic: How the race to represent Capitol Hill in Olympia is shaping up in the summer of COVID-19

(Image: Elect Jessi Murray)

Jessi Murray was ready to start door-knocking.

The candidate for the 43rd Legislative District’s Position 2, representing the areas of Capitol Hill, Madison Park, and Montlake, had ordered her nametag and was prepared for the campaign’s first day of action with canvassing in late March.

But with social distancing restrictions and stay-at-home orders quickly levied in the state to stunt the COVID-19 pandemic, Murray and the rest of the field have had to recalibrate their campaigns on the fly to unprecedented circumstances as attention has partially turned away from politics to a global pandemic that has left hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians unemployed and killed over 1,400.

Murray first pushed the kick-off a couple weeks thinking maybe “this will blow over.”

“A week later, we were like ‘This is not gonna happen.’”

Murray’s first move was a big push toward digital campaigning, with weekly town halls on Thursday nights on various topics and some text-banking. The campaign has also invested more in targeted mailing campaigns, focusing on areas where voters may be more interested in a new candidate who fashions herself as running to the left of the longtime incumbent, Rep. Frank Chopp. Continue reading

Proposal for November sales-tax renewal vote includes plan for smaller Seattle transit district spend, with focus on ‘working people and communities of color’

(Image: SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons)

Seattle’s budget crunching from the COVID-19 economic crisis will include asking voters to spend less on bus service in the city.

Mayor Jenny Durkan this week released her proposal for a new six-year Seattle Transportation Benefit District package to replace the project and spending plan approved by voters in 2014.

The 2020 version of the package will be a downgrade in total service but will focus the city’s transit spending, Durkan says, on serving communities of color. Continue reading

Jayapal launches reelection campaign for Washington’s 7th District seat in D.C.

Jayapal on Election Night 2016

Jayapal on Election Night 2016

Rep. Pramila Jayapal will launch her campaign to retain her seat representing Washington’s 7th Congressional District in an online event Thursday night:

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) will formally kick off her people-first Congressional re-election campaign tomorrow evening at 5:00 PT with a public rally hosted online at Facebook.com/PramilaJayapal. The program will feature remarks from Congresswoman Jayapal, State Senator Joe Nguyen and Chair of the King County Democrats Shasti Conrad in addition to live performances by musician SassyBlack and poet Claudie Castro Luna.

You can tune in to facebook.com/PramilaJayapal for the show.

Jayapal faces a slate of underdog challengers heading into the August top-two primary: Continue reading

Frank Chopp is ready to defend his 25-year ‘strong, progressive record’

Chopp began his first term in the state legislature in 1995

Frank Chopp, one of the longest serving members of the Washington State House of Representatives, officially filed for reelection of the 43rd district this week. Rep. Chopp, whose district includes Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Madison Park, has been serving since 1995 and was Speaker of the House for 20 years before stepping down last year.

“We have a more progressive legislature now than we had in the two previous ones, so a big part of my effort will be working on solving the budget dilemma,” Rep. Chopp tells CHS, “which is obviously caused in large part by the COVID virus.” Continue reading

Limited by COVID-19 crisis, Tax Amazon wants to take ballot initiative signature gathering online in Seattle

Friday’s “caravan” to Amazon (Image: @TaxAmazonMvt)

It’s not easy gathering 21,000 signatures during a pandemic.

City Council representative Kshama Sawant and advocates for a new tax on Seattle’s largest businesses are calling for changes in the rules governing signature gathering in the city during the COVID-19 crisis.

The group Tax Amazon announced Monday that the National Lawyers Guild is joining the fight to move the process online:

Across the country, organizers are evaluating the way forward for signature gathering for citizen-lead ballot initiatives and grassroots candidates. Organizers cannot canvass to collect paper signatures while respecting the scientist-recommended and necessary social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID19. Citizen-led ballot initiatives are an integral tool for working-class people to exercise democracy under this highly unequal political system. The National Lawyers Guild is standing alongside the Tax Amazon campaign to call on city and state governments to protect democratic rights during the pandemic. In the absence of online signatures, campaigns will be forced to rely on extremely expensive mass mailing campaigns, which will disproportionately benefit corporate-backed campaigns.

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Even with Washington’s presidential primary moved up, virtual Biden-Sanders Election Night tie might signal end game

An Election Day voter casts a ballot at the county drop box on Broadway

Moving Washington’s primary up to March was meant to give it more importance in the national race to pick a Democratic candidate. It appears to have come just as the race has ended.

In the first results of the state’s March 10th Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Joe Biden appear to be in a neck and neck tie in Washington. On a night when Biden already claimed Michigan and Missouri and with forecasts predicting Biden to do better in late voting in Washington, the Sanders campaign appears to have hit a wall.

Elizabeth Warren was managing a third place finish here with just over 12% of the vote.

The Biden-Bernie battle extended to the streets of King County where results also showed the two remaining candidates neck and neck with around 33 points each.

King County turnout in Washington state’s by mail and dropoff only voting stood at just over 41% on Election Day. About 65% of the ballots were counted as of 8:30 PM. For latest updates, visit results.vote.wa.gov.

Arizona, Florida, Ohio, and Illinois primaries are next in upcoming weeks.

Despite momentum turning away from their boss across the country, Sanders staffers in Washington maintained optimism Tuesday as polls closed across the state at 8 PM.

Before results came in from the set of states voting Tuesday, FiveThirtyEight gave Biden a 99% chance of winning the nomination. This is just weeks after the forecast had Sanders or a brokered convention leading the way.

But that doesn’t mean efforts ceased to scoop up Washington’s 89 delegates, 31 of which are awarded on a statewide basis and the rest of which are based on congressional districts. Just from March 2 to Sunday, the state campaign made 517,797 calls, hit 40,732 doors, and completed 1,321 canvassing shifts, according to state field director Shaun Scott.

“Those numbers are the sign of a campaign that takes its grassroots mission very seriously,” Scott told CHS in a text message. “Lots of candidates have grand ambitions and well-crafted statements, but without a movement we cannot institute the change we need.”

Scott said the campaign’s goal was to build the “biggest grassroots organization ever” he thinks they’ve done that in Washington. Continue reading

Community organizer and sex worker advocate Lascelles joins challenge for Chopp’s seat in the 43rd

 Sherae Lascelles

(Image: Sherae for State)

Sherae Lascelles can trace their activism back to the third grade. A fellow student was sent to the hall after she “acted out of turn” in class. Lascelles talked to her on the way to the bathroom and she said she was hungry. So Lascelles pulled out some Red Vines and brought them to her.

This resulted in a confrontation with the teacher who was upset that Lascelles had brought the girl a snack.

“I learned quickly that I would have to advocate for myself at every turn to survive,” Lascelles tells CHS. “I didn’t even know why I felt like I had to do that, but I just didn’t understand the punishment and I didn’t understand how she was being treated and it didn’t make any sense so I put it upon myself to do something about it.” Continue reading

Jessi Murray: from SlutWalk and Seattle Clinic Defense activism to a challenge in the 43rd

(Image: Elect Jessi Murray)

When Jessi Murray decided to join the Amnesty International Club at her Massachusetts public high school, her twice-George W. Bush-voting dad said it would brainwash her.

Now, she’s running to unseat one of the most powerful political figures in Washington history in Rep. Frank Chopp, the longest serving Speaker ever who gave up that gavel last year. Murray’s race begins now with a run into the August primary with hopes of making it through to the general election in November.

Murray moved to Seattle in 2010 after attending the Olin College of Engineering, a school with about 350 undergraduates a year, and put down roots in Capitol Hill the next year. She works for a small tech consulting firm and wants to focus on “software for good,” but couldn’t talk about the project she’s working on now.

She has a long history of local activism, starting with Seattle Clinic Defense for Planned Parenthood and helping organize the Seattle SlutWalk in 2011, emboldened to work on issues of reproductive rights and sexual assault given her own experience with sexual assault before she moved here.

“There’s just been kind of a sense of trying to get to justice in this world,” Murray told CHS at Victrola Coffee and Art earlier this week while wearing a Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sweatshirt with the words “Fight for the things you care about” printed on it. Continue reading