While it lacks the statewide implications of the state Senate election here in Federal Way, the re-election battles of incumbent House members Kristine Reeves and Mike Pellicciotti have just as much meaning. The Democrats retained control of the House of Representatives because the two were able to defeat two Republican incumbents two years ago. Turnout, particularly among women and independent voters, will be a key and Donald Trump will hover over the election in every state to see whose voters will show up and in what numbers.
Pellicciotti is an assistant attorney general and is in a rematch with former state Rep. Linda Kochmar. As a former legislator, mayor and council member, and in what may be the year of the woman, Kochmar was a logical choice to run again against Pellicciotti. But with the Democrats in control of both Houses, Pellicciotti and Reeves have been well positioned to pass legislation to help local needs. Be it mothers and children,veterans, education, a building at Highline College or support for our business community through the Chamber of Commerce, they have been able to produce results. Also both were in support of additional transparency of legislative records. Much of Kochmar’s previous success came when she was on the City Council and not in the partisan halls of Olympia where her party was in the minority.
In the primary, Pellicciotti out-polled Kochmar 59 percent to 41 percent.That has hampered Kochmar’s fund raising efforts as some sources have shifted donations to other House races. She has raised $24,516, and was assisted by third party special interest groups who have spent $7,421 to help her. Special interests have also spent $4,380 to oppose her. Conversely, Pellicciotti has raised $122,025 and spent $64,901. No third-party money has been spent to help Pellicciotti, although special interests have spent $6,348 to oppose him.
In the other race, Kristine Reeves out-paced Mark Greene 63 percent to 37 percent in the primary. She has raised $154,179 and spent $109,047. No independent expenditures were reported in her race.
While serving in the Legislature, her day job is director of economic development for the military and defense for the state Department of Commerce. But it is as a mother with two small children where her passion comes out as a fierce supporter of families and their needs. A pro Second Amendment Democrat, she and her children were in the mall recently when gun fire occurred. It was a reminder to her that rational changes are needed. She brings that passion and her knowledge of legislation to the debates in a way Greene simply can’t match.
Greene has run for several different offices, in several different states and under different party labels. This time he is running as a Republican. Greene has raised and spent very little.
Likely election winners this year: In the 30th District, Reeves and Pellicciotti will be reelected. Look for Claire Wilson to upset Mark Miloscia in the Senate race. Next door in the 47th, Sen. Joe Fain is facing a sexual allegation and has handled it correctly by asking for an investigation, and that the other party be shown respect and privacy. Fain recently received support from nine elected women including mayors, and is known for his progressive views. The Seattle Times retained its endorsement of him. Fain and House members Pat Sullivan and Mark Hargrove will be reelected, although Hargrove could be vulnerable. But the issue may continue for Fain after the election.
To the north in the 33rd District, incumbent Democrats Sen. Karen Kaiser and House members Mia Gregerson and Tina Orwell will be returned to office. Expect the Democrats to gain at least three seats in the Senate and six to eight in the House and retain control of the state Legislature.
In Congressional races, incumbent Democrats Suzan Delbene, Rick Larson, Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck, Primila Jayapal and Adam Smith will all be reelected, as will Republicans Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Incumbent Republican Jamie Herrera-Butler may be upset. The race for the open seat in the 8th District between Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Kim Schrier is a toss-up. Lean is Rossi. In the Senate race, Maria Cantwell will be re-elected. Expect the Democrats to win control of the House, but come up short in their bid for the Senate.
Four Initiatives are on the ballot. I-1634 concerns taxation on items for human consumption; don’t be fooled, this one is misleading. State law already preludes taxes on groceries. It would take local control away from local governments. It seeks to prohibit Seattle’s tax on soda pop from spreading to the suburbs. It is likely to fail if voters read it. I-1639 concerns firearms and would require increased background checks, training, age limitations along with other changes. It is an attempt to avert another school shooting. It should pass.
I-940 concerns law enforcement and use of force and seeks to add several training items to police requirements including de-escalation and mental health training. It would also delete the requirement that malice by an officer be established for accountability in police in shootings. With recent court results and new lawsuits in Federal Way, it is likely to pass and probably should. I-1631 would charge pollution fees on sources of green house gas pollutants and use the revenue to reduce pollution. With the recent report of the danger to our planet it is likely to pass.
Turnout will determine whether Democrats or Republicans win. Upset specials are Schrier over Rossi, Long over Herrera-Butler and Wilson over Miloscia. But there are still two weeks left.
Voting earns you the right to complain if you don’t like the results. Vote.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.