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By Riley Sweeney
You hear that sound? That's the sound of Washington Republicans crying all across this great state, because we just retired their entire bench. For those of us who care about good government, civil rights and moving our country forward, election night was a night of celebration. Sure there are some very good reasons to be cheering on the national level (say it with me, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Tammy Baldwin), and of course the Presidency, but let me drill down on why we can celebrate locally.
In Washington State, we elected Jay Inslee and stopped the Republicans' strongest candidate in a generation. Pundits on both sides of the aisle expected Rob McKenna to win. Despite obfuscating his extreme positions on women's health and civil rights, and refusing to offer up numbers on how we would pay for education, McKenna was not able to close the deal with Washington voters. He pinned most of his hopes on convincing moderate Democrats in King County to vote for him but he was unable to crack 40% there, allowing Inslee, who used to represent parts of Eastern Washington, to drive up his totals in rural areas and finish McKenna off.
But there is more to be delighted about. The Republicans were also attempting to load up our state offices with their next generation of candidates, but we said no. With the exception of Kim Wyman, who managed to edge out Democrat Kathleen Drew for Secretary of State, all the state offices went to Democrats this year: Attorney General, Commissioner of Public Lands, Lieutenant Governor, Auditor, Insurance Commissioner. Also, the new 1st Congressional District, which takes in a large part of rural Whatcom County, decisively elected Democrat Susan Del Bene over three-time loser John Koster,who clearly needs to find a new hobby. All in all we left them no place to hide.
And let's not forget the ballot measures. Two received national attention: R-74, which upheld Washington State's marriage equality legislation, and I-502 legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Voters approved both. On the local level, Bellingham voters approved the Low-Income Housing levy.Finally, we elected Deborra Garrett to the Whatcom Superior Court, makingher the first woman to serve on that court. Unfortunately, we fell short in the 42nd legislative district. Redistricting made that mountain a little too steep to climb. Just wait till next year!
Congratulations to all of our candidates, and to all the hard-working volunteers that got them there. It was a good year, we should all be smiling.