Message from the Chair

Democrats rocked on the August 7 Primary! We showed what weeks of work getting out the vote can do, surprising nearly everyone when Jay Inslee outpolled Rob McKenna, and our great U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell took 56 percent of the vote. We knew we had the better candidates, but primaries are always difficult because of the smaller and more conservative electorate.

Still, the numbers were all on our side. Maria Cantwell won Spokane County, where her opponent is from, by six points. McKenna has less than 35 percent support in King County, way below what he would need to win a statewide election. The Republican’s attorney general candidate, Reagan Dunn, was even worse, with just under 33 percent in King County. Dunn lost in a landslide to Democratic King County Councilman Bob Ferguson.

If you look at our elections over the past few cycles, we always see Democrats improve from the primary to the general election. McKenna once again demonstrated his right wing ideology when he hosted Republican firebrand Governor Chris Christie (to a meager 200 people) to Bellevue.

But the big news broke a week ago, when Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Ryan is the Republican Young Gun whose House GOP budget aims to end Medicare as we know it and slashes Medicaid by hundreds of millions of dollars. Like Romney, Ryan wants to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and pay for it by raising taxes on the middle class. What did Rob McKenna have to say about it? He said, “There is no greater expert on the federal budget than Representative Ryan.”

That is why we are going to beat Rob McKenna in November.

But we also know it isn’t going to be easy. The Republican Governor’s Association already committed $4 million to attack Jay Inslee, and is sure to spend more. Other national Republican figures, like Karl Rove, are sure to spend millions to smear our candidates. A parade of national Republicans, who want to cut funding for family planning and women’s health, privatize our education system, and prevent many great Washingtonians from marrying the person they love, will come to stump for Rob McKenna.

We have made too much progress on these issues, and have too far to go, to elect a governor who will take us backward. That is why we are going to elect Jay Inslee in November.

Primary night wasn’t just great for Maria Cantwell, Jay Inslee, and Bob Ferguson, however. Democrats had more than 50 percent of the vote in every statewide race, we were competitive in state legislative races, and we even won the 5th Legislative District, currently represented by Dino Rossi.

We have three months to make sure twice as many people turn out to vote as did on August 7. In that time, we will get to see more and more Republicans remind us why we support our great president, Barack Obama; our incredible Senator, Maria Cantwell; our next governor, Jay Inslee; and Democrats up and down the ballot.

We’ll need your help. The State Party has a great challenge ahead of it, but one we know we can meet. We are going to keep our state blue and make sure we keep moving our state, and our country, forward.

On to November!

Dwight Pelz, Chair
Washington State Democrats