Talking political reality

June 9th, 2016 by Ken

I’ve had the opportunity these last couple of weeks of attending nearly half a dozen political kick-0ffs or political fund-raisers.  I’ve attend both Democratic and Republican events – -as well as those not affiliated with either major party.  Here are some observations:

The race for Thurston County Commissioner in District Two is between Gary Edwards and Kelsey Hulse (pronounced Hulls).  Since there are only two candidates for this position, both will automatically advance to the General election.   But – their campaigns are a microcosm of the national campaign.

Edwards is the former Thurston County Sheriff who has been out of the public’s eye for more than a decade.  His kickoff was full of “older” people who remembered Gary from his years behind the badge – and from those neighbors of his from the South County area.   Young people were very absent from his first public event   While he has raised a great deal of money and has garnered support from several sources, he has one disadvantage.   Nobody under 30 knows who he is.   And, those thousands of new residents who have moved here in the last decade also have no relationship to the former sheriff.

Hulse’s kickoff was the typical Democratic celebration.   The unions were in force, barbequing vast qualities of food, while the old Democrats gathered in the corner talking about the “good old days”.   But arriving in force were dozens and dozens of young people, their children in hand – many of them new to the party and many of them supporting Bernie.   This was a case where the old bumped up against the new.   Hulse has a long way to go to get name recognition – – and a longer way to go to get the support of those who are not Democrats – something she will need in a countywide race.

I’ve also realized that the Democratic party is keeping a tight rein on the candidates and are not endorsing everyone who wants to run as a Democrat.   This is particularly true in the legislative races, where several candidates seeking a legislative seat in the 22nd District – – have been shunted aside and denied party support.  This in some way echoes the Clinton-Bernie split in the party – – with the old guard wanting to keep control and the younger members wanting to shake off the chains.  Just because you file as a Democrat doesn’t mean the party recognizes you.

Kim Wyman’s efforts to be returned as Washington Secretary of State started off well.   She pulled nearly 300 supporters to her kickoff event at St. Martin’s.  Wyman is the only statewide Republican in Washington and the only statewide Republican elected official on the West Coast.

In her first race, Wyman carried almost every county in the state except King County and she only won election by about 20,000 votes.   Her margin of victory came in Thurston County which gave her a 22,000 vote edge.   For a Republican to win a race in Thurston County says something about the candidate.   Wyman is well-liked and well-respected in Thurston County and knows she will have to continue to stress her non-partisan approach to running elections if she hopes to get re-elected.

I have several other observations about our local elections, but they will have to wait for another time.


Posted in Local Politics, The Real News

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