Federal Way legislative candidates get early boost with ratings | Inside Politics

Bob Roegner - Contributed
Bob Roegner
— image credit: Contributed

The 2014 legislative races are starting to kick into high gear as we pass the July 4 milestone. Candidates have been out doorbelling and refining their stump speeches for future use.

They hope to talk to as many people as possible and nail down key voters early. They are also raising money that will pay for signs, newspaper ads and direct mailing during the closing phase of the race.

For incumbents, like house members Linda Kochmar (R) and Roger Freeman (D), everything is aimed at creating momentum and a sense of the inevitability of their win. For their opponents, Greg Baruso and Jack Dovey, respectively, they need to demonstrate that they are serious contenders.

One of the key early opportunities to make a move is the independent Municipal League ratings. When asking groups for financial support, it is considered significant if the candidate can match the incumbent’s ratings. Both incumbent Freeman and candidate Dovey got a “good” rating from the League. Dovey served on the City Council for many years and that may have helped. But it still establishes an equality of the candidates by an outside group.

In the other house race, Kochmar received a “very good,” while first-time candidate Baruso received a “good.”

The same theory applies in the open Senate seat. Mark Miloscia has been elected to the Legislature several times from this area and is almost running an incumbent-style race. He was previously elected as a Democrat and in an interesting twist, is now running as a Republican.

His opponent, Shari Song, used to live here, has moved back and is running as a Democrat. The Miloscia camp has made much of her moving. Since the district leans Democrat, if Song can keep the focus on policy issues and away from her residency, it is to her advantage.

In a surprise, both Miloscia and Song got a “very good” rating from the League. Even though candidates are not rated against each other in the League process, most observers would have expected Miloscia to have an advantage given his previous service in the Legislature and Song’s lack of having held public office.

The League ratings are only one part of the election puzzle. But at this point in the races they can play an important role for the candidates. Kochmar, Dovey and Song got the early benefit. But there is still a long way to go.

Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn: bjroegner@comcast.net.


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