How money bought State Senate seats in the 2010 election

There were only a few competitive State Senate races in 2010. The Republicans won all of the close races with the exception of the 44th LD and 26th LD, where conservative Dems won by outspending their Republican opponents more than two to one. The following campaign spending figures are from the Public Disclosure Commission. (The figures do not include Koch brother spending in the 2010 WA elections, which has been estimated to have been over $300K against Oemig, Gordon and Kauffman. Much of the spending was on last-minute attack ads.  Interesting how the Koch brothers do not target corporate Democrats.)

Two Progressive Dems Senate races (Dems lost both)

In the 45th LD, $290,000 Eric Oemig (progressive D) versus Hill (R) $411,000. Republican won.

In the 41st LD, Randy Gordon (progressive D) 260 Versus Litzow 400. Republican won.

Total 2 progressive Dems: $550,000 average = $275,000 each

Total 2 opponents of progressive Dems $811,000 = $405,000 each

R’s outspent progressive Dems $130,000 per race.


By comparison, four conservative Democratic Senator races (Dems won three and lost only one)

In the 6th LD, Chris Marr got 557 versus Baumgartner 450K Republicans won

In the 26th LD Derek Kilmer got 366 versus his opponent only getting 35

In the 44th Steve Hobbs 366 versus an R opponent at $188

In the 43rd Ed Murray $180K versus no opponent at all

Total 4 conservative Dems: $1.5 million average = $367,000 each

Total 4 conservative Dems opponents: $673,000 average = $168,000 each

Conservative Dems outspent R’s by $200,000 per race.


Middle of the road Dem Incumbent Senate Race: (Dems lost)

In the 47th, Kauffman 400K versus Fain $380 – Republicans won.


Total of all 7 Senate races described above: Dems lost four and won three.

But keep in mind that all seven races had Democratic Incumbents.

Pre-2010 election: 2 progressive Dems, 1 middle of the road dem, 4 corporate Dems. 0 Republicans

After 2010 election: 0 progressive Dems, 0 middle of the road dems, 3 corporate Dems, 4 Republicans!


Funding was PLUS $200,000 for conservative Dems per race to MINUS $130,000 for progressive Dems per race… for a total difference of $330,000 per race!!!

It is amazing what $330,000 per race will get you.

Progressive Dems lost in the 41st and 45th by just a handful of votes. On a votes per dollar spent basis, both Eric and Randy did far better than their Republican opponents and far better than any corporate Democrats running in competitive races. Had the funds been more fairly or evenly distributed, for example by moving $100 K each from Murray and Kilmer to Gordon and Oemig, we rank and file Democrats would not have been at the mercy of the “centrist” Road Kill Caucus in 2011 and we would not be in danger of losing the majority in the Senate in the 2012 General Election.

I know some people with no feelings and no conscience

They have no qualms about doing nasty things such as polluting air and water and not paying their fair share in taxes.

They’re called corporations, conservatives, and Koch brothers.

And if, as right-to-lifers claim, embryos are people, then embryos too lack feelings and conscience since they have undeveloped nervous systems and are the size of raisin at five weeks.

ExxonMobil & Goldman Sachs: a winning ticket for the GOP in 2012

The Republicans are having trouble coming up with an acceptable candidate for president.

But now that corporations are persons, there’s an obvious choice for the Republican ticket in 2012: ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs.

ExxonMobile Goldman Sachs
Change you can believe in for 2012

Think of the advantages.  There’d be no problem about financing the campaign. There’d be no embarrassing lapses of memory like Rick Perry’s debate gaffe.  They wouldn’t have to apologize, like Mitt Romney has, for having in the past done something to help the middle class and the poor obtain health care.   There’d be no need to suppress laughter, as there’d be if Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann were on the ticket. And there’d be no allegations of sexual misconduct like Herman Cain has to endure.

The candidates would run on a platform of lower taxes for the rich and deregulation.

I do see one problem, though.    Would ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs be acceptable to the religious right?

The solution?  Hold a baptism for ExxonMobil and a bar mitzvah, or a bris, for Goldman Sachs.

But I gotta say.  If you want to please the neocons,  General Dynamics and KBR sure would make a better ticket.

Ron Paul as a lesser-of-evils Republican

Ron Paul is extreme and libertarian, but he gets some things right. According to the article Ron Paul slams Herman Cain’s media coverage, he said “I’m challenging the whole banking system, the military industrial complex, the welfare state, our foreign policy. I want to go back to following strictly the Constitution.”

Paul has won several straw polls. This shows that some Republicans have some common sense and realize that the rest of the GOP candidates belong on a freak show.

The Left should welcome Paul as a lesser-of-evils among the Republicans; he’d damage candidates like Perry, Bachmann, Cain, and Romney, and he’d bring some sense to the GOP on some issues.

On the other hand, if the Left did promote him, other Republicans would probably use that as reason for opposing him.

Perhaps the Left may even need to enter into some sort of  twisted strategic coalition with libertarians like Paul. Sigh. In this imperfect world we do need to make difficult lesser-of-evils decisions.  People complain about America’s political system and sometimes suggest that a parliamentary democracy would be an improvement. But in such a system, there’s even more of a need for parties to enter coalitions with other parties.

At the AM 1090 forum in Kent this summer Dennis Kucinich “pointed out that a huge number of Tea Party congressmen voted against funding the war in Libya. We need to build some coalitions on separate issues and forget about labels and parties. Forget finding someone who agrees with you on every issue. With 50% of discretionary spending devoted to the Pentagon, we need to be flexible about ending it.” (source)

Think strategically. Don’t expect to win all battles right away.

Washington State is Coming Up Short

in so many ways… but let’s start with revenue. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons, svilen.milen

The Olympian reported (so it might be true) that the Gov is calling the legislature back in special session to deal with a revenue shortfall of at least 1.3 billion dollars. It’s probably a 2 billion dollar deficit, but the accountants are still penciling that out.

So the legislators are coming back sometime in November to address the shortfall. The tea party tax initiative that passed last general election cycle requires a super majority for the State to raise taxes, and the repub side has not yet warmed to the necessity of taxes for essential services, so this is likely to be another session devoted to finding things to cut. The activists who like education and essential services like medical care, disability services and more will be doing all they can to oppose another all-cut budget, but it’s going to be a struggle. There are arguments over whether the super-majority initiative is constitutional, whether closing tax loopholes (that could produce the 2 billion) are subject to the super-majority rule, but it’s an uphill battle. You have to give the Norquist puppiteers credit for creating a wildly successful and destructive political agenda, but what is the end game? When the success of trickle down, unregulated, free market economics is the meltdown of 2008, it does raise the question of “where do we go from here?” Further down the right wing rathole? I would rather not.

Activists, including Washington Can, have been organizing and gearing up for the next legislative session, but will now need to hustle to put an agenda together for the special session. I think we need to focus not just on posing loopholes that can be closed, let’s look at budget cuts that will truly share the sacrifice. How about:

  • Immediate cuts in pay to State Legislators of 25%
  • Immediate 100% cut of travel budget for legislators
  • Let’s sell the Governor’s mansion and cut the expense of maintaining that big house
  • Let’s set the thermostats at 55 degrees in cold weather and 85 degrees in hot weather for the office and meeting space that the legislators use. (apologies to the staffers)
  • Let’s convert the Capitol campus to public garden space and save the cost of mowing that big lawn

Just some ideas off the top of my head. What are your ideas? What services should the legislature cut in this special session? Shared sacrifice anyone? Can we make the legislators uncomfortable enough to challenge the super-majority rule? Or to vote as a super majority to do the right thing and raise revenue?

Or if you insist, what loopholes need to be closed to fix this mess?