Mark Griswold tells me that the editorial boards of both the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have decided not to endorse any candidate in the race for the 43rd Legislative Distrct House of Representatives Position 2. Not only are the dailies not making endorsements, they're not even going to bother to interview the candidates, citing "lack of resources"
This is both surprising and disappointing. Of course the dailies can't research and interview all of the candidates for all 98 House seats. But 43rd #2 is not an ordinary race. The incumbent is Speaker of the House Frank Chopp. He is the leader of the entire Democratic majority caucus. A vote for any other Democrat in a House race is also a vote to keep Chopp as Speaker. The Seattle dailies owe it to voters all over the state to carefully weigh their endorsement for or against Frank Chopp.
Certainly, Griswold has an uphill battle to defeat the sitting Speaker. Nevertheless, he is probably the strongest Republican legislative candidate in Seattle in years. And not only because he is the first Republican opponent that Chopp has ever faced since he first ran a decade ago. Although Griswold trails Chopp in fundraising overall, he has actually raised more money from more individual donors in the 43rd District than Chopp has. Out of the nearly $100,000 that Chopp has raised, only $400 of that comes from exactly 3 individual residents of the district. $400. Chopp's not exactly Mr. Popularity in his own neighborhood, is he? (By contrast, other incumbents who are defending seats assumed to be safe, and even some, like Maralyn Chase, who face no opponent at all, have raised far more money from more constituents than has the sitting Speaker).
Chopp is also running a lame campaign. For all of the big bucks in his campaign war chest, the best he could do is put up a web site with an empty issues page, backwards photographs, and a misspelled e-mail address.
Both Seattle dailies have endorsed legislative candidates from elsewhere in the region, so their lack of interest in this Seattle race appears to be a deliberate choice -- especially since the Seattle Times is actually located in the 43rd district. For an editorial board to deliberately ignore this race suggests one of two things:
a) the editorial board believes that Chopp is entitled to his seat without the inconvenience of having to explain his plans or accomplishments.
b) the editorial board doesn't rate Chopp highly enough to endorse him, but doesn't want to risk the wrath of the powerful sitting Speaker by endorsing his opponent. That is what the Association of Washington Business apparently calculated to be in its best interest (Scroll down to 43 and look who's missing). That also seems to be what the P-I did in today's editorial titled "Valued incumbents" (Scroll down to 43 and look who's missing).
Whether (a) or (b), it doesn't make the editorial board look particularly good to be conspicuously silent on so important a race.Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at October 18, 2004 07:00 AM | Email This