Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maxwell wins

Many of us have been watching the shifting return counts since election night, but now it’s official:  Marcie Maxwell won the election for 41st district state representative over Steve Litzow.  The margin was extremely close:  748 out of 64,394 votes cast, much tighter than the 1591 votes that separated the two of them during the primary election.

I think she won for two reasons:

  1. She’s not George Bush.   In a district that Obama carried by 64%,  anybody with a “D” in their name was guaranteed at least 748 voters who wanted their state legislator to end the war in Iraq, end subsidies to Big Oil, end all that corruption in Washington D.C., stop the Born Again Fundamentalists from running the government, help those poor Katrina victims, and make abortion legal again.  If you can fog up a mirror you can vote in this country, and this year the momentum was on the side of Democrats.
  2. Steve went negative.  Too many people were put off by the petty, irrelevant attack mails that Steve sent, implying that Marcie somehow doesn’t care about student privacy.  Or something – I’m not even sure what he was implying about her.  Anyone who knows Marcie personally (or knows somebody who does – which is half the city of Renton) looked at his ads and rolled their eyes.  Same thing with his comments about Renton school performance; there was a right way to legitimately bring this up as an issue, but Steve came across as somebody who was just picking on the good people of Renton.

The full downloadable results will be ready in early December, and I can’t wait to pour through the numbers so I can update the analysis from the August primary.  Here’s what I’ll be looking for:

  • Did Steve carry Bellevue?  I bet he did.  That would be interesting because it challenges the popular explanation that the Eastside is becoming more Democratic.  In other words, it’s possible (even likely) for a Republican to win District 41, even in a terrible year.
  • Did education voters make the difference?  Since this is Marcie’s main campaign theme, it will be interesting to see how much the voters agreed.  This didn’t matter much in the primary, so I want to see if anything changed in the larger turnout for the final election.

Meanwhile, Marcie deserves congratulations, and I’m proud to stand behind her as my legislator for the next two years  (Argh, is that all it is?!  After nearly a year of hard work campaigning, the prize is a lot more of those 2-hour drives to Olympia, a diddly state legislator’s salary,  and then you have to do it all over again!

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