Friday politics: Money flows into a campaign, and Seattle police budget cuts head toward vote
The primary election is Tuesday. And one race getting lots of attention, and lots of money, is the contest for state Senate in the 5th District centered around Issaquah.
It's a fight between two Democrats that so far has seen more than $1.2 million raised.
(To see who has raised the money, go to the Public Disclosure Commission site here and select LEG DISTRICT 05 - SENATE.)
C.R. Douglas with Q13 News and Joni Balter of “Civic Cocktail” on the Seattle Channel, joined KUOW’s Angela King.
Angela King: What do you make of this expensive state Senate race, where there are no Republicans on the ballot?
Joni Balter: This is a race between Democratic incumbent Mark Mullet and Democratic challenger Ingrid Anderson, and as you say, no Republicans, which is wild. It's not like this is downtown Seattle, where you expect two Democrats to appear on the ballot. These eastern suburbs were once almost always Republican. This lineup shows how much the suburbs are changing. Every time Microsoft hires new staff, the employees, I'm just guessing probably break two to one Democratic. Bodes very well for Democratic Congresswoman Kim Schrier in the 8th Congressional District in roughly the same general area. This race is the priciest so far and could become more so. But it will not approach the $9 million that was spent in the 2017 special election that determined control of the state Senate.
So C.R., what does this intraparty battle mean politically?
C.R. Douglas: It's the local version of the Democratic Party split we saw nationally between Sanders progressives and Biden moderates. Obviously, Biden won that fight. But here where we haven't had our state primary yet, you're still seeing this dynamic play out in this case, and in the progressive challengers pushing the capital gains tax and other revenue and spending increases. Mullet, the incumbent, is generally more moderate and has been opposed to more taxes and spending. So it's a pretty good microcosm of the divide within the Democratic Party all up and down the line.
Let's take a look at the city level right now. Next week is going to be a big week politically. Wednesday, the Seattle City Council begins to take a much anticipated preliminary vote on the police budget. Are they actually going to defend the department by 50 percent, as almost all the council members have promised?
Balter: No, because it's almost impossible to do, especially in August when you've already spent much of the year's money. Are you following these overly aggressive protests outside council members homes who haven't agreed to the exact 50 percent cut? Yes, I know the protesters have also gone to the homes of council members who do support 50 percent. I watched one at Tammy Morales’ house, but the tone was different. I was appalled by what happened at Councilmember Debora Juarez’s home, where they street-painted and bullhorn-yelled disgusting, misogynistic things. They blared their car horns, flashed lights into her home, and that of Councilmember Alex Peterson late at night. I mean, come on, protest in the public sphere all day. But when did Seattle become so intolerant?
Douglas: What's been interesting on this is how some council members who supported the 50 percent cut are already qualifying those promises, not explicitly walking them back but clearly laying the groundwork in recent statements for going slower because they they know it's going to be hard. But the thing to really watch for, I think, is how forgiving the activist community will be with a budget next week that comes up short of what they demanded, which I believe is is quite likely. Will they stick with those council members who thus far have been supportive or will be activists really go after them and double down on these protests?