Seattle Times editorial page editor Kate Riley explains the editorial board's election endorsement process.
By now, you should have received your ballot for the Nov. 6 election. This is a high-stakes election at federal and state levels. Dueling polls suggest anything from a national blue tsunami to a not-so-fast status quo in Washington’s congressional seats. State Democrats are working hard to take advantage of voter animus toward President Donald Trump to expand their slim majorities in both houses of the Legislature.
An advertising deluge has started in a big way — into your mailbox, TV commercials and voicemail boxes. It can be confusing and overwhelming.
The Seattle Times editorial board is here to help. Since May, the editorial board has been interviewing and researching candidates for political office and proponents and opponents of ballot measures — more than 130 in all. We have published our recommendations here.
Some readers are criticizing our choices — that we endorsed too many Democrats and too many incumbents.
That might be right on the partisan point — we recommended 36 Democrats and seven Republicans for the Legislature. But these critics’ quarrel really should be with the Republican party, which failed to field strong candidates — those with solid civic and community volunteer background and a strong grasp of the issues facing the office they seek.
We did recommend a couple of challengers over incumbents, most notably Shoreline Mayor Jesse Salomon over incumbent state Sen. Marilyn Chase in the 32nd Legislative District. Both are Democrats. Salomon’s experience as a pragmatic leader makes a strong case for change. In the primary in the same district, we endorsed independent-minded Keith Smith, who identified as a “centrist,” over Democratic incumbent Rep. Cindy Ryu. He failed to advance to the general election so Ryu gets our nod over a very inexperienced Republican challenger.
Another reasonable criticism is that we endorsed too many incumbent lawmakers who voted to exempt the Legislature from the state Public Records Act. Piqued by this shameless process that rushed a bill through in 48 hours, The Seattle Times and 12 other daily newspapers ran front-page editorials urging citizens to act. More than 20,000 called the governor asking for a veto and hundreds also called their lawmakers and asked them to stand down and not to override. It worked.
It’s never wise to recommend a candidate on their position on a single issue, even as important as the people’s right to know and a free press. In interviews, we grilled each incumbent about their votes on the Public Records Act bill. Some fell on their swords; others remain clueless — read about it in the endorsement. And in one case, we endorsed state Rep. Larry Springer, a co-chair of a task force to address the disagreement, while lamenting that he didn’t have a stronger challenger. On many other issues, this editorial board is impressed with his legislating style and sensibilities.
Readers will disagree on our recommendations — along the way there were disagreements within the editorial board as well. Regardless, we offer our reasoning on each decision. Additionally, Deputy Opinion Editor Mark Higgins worked diligently to provide readers with credible Op-Ed columns in a pro-and-con format debating the state ballot measures, ranging from a ban on grocery taxes to gun control measures to a fee on carbon. Be sure to check those out here.
So, voters, get cracking. Do your homework and vote.