By Evan Smith
The Herald and Seattle Times editorial boards have split their endorsements in the 1st Legislative District contest between incumbent Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso and Republican opponent Ed Barton.
The two will appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot, along with another Democrat, Dave Griffin. The top two vote getters in the primary qualify for the November general-election ballot.
The Herald endorsed Moscoso in a July 14 editorial, saying that he “ has been a standout legislator, farsighted and responsive to the needs of the 1st District, and willing to tackle long-term challenges from transportation infrastructure to gang violence and civil rights.”
The Herald added, “As a vice chair of the House Transportation Committee, Moscoso helped shepherd a transportation-finance package. Its passage in the House, but subsequent collapse in the Senate, illustrated the limits of ideology. Transportation — like basic education a primary responsibility of state government — should be a best-politics-is-no-politics issue. Moscoso worked transportation in that spirit, elbowing Republicans and underlining the economic imperative. His focus and experience informed the creation of a House rail caucus (encouraged in part by former Republican Secretary of State Ralph Munro). Freight mobility transcends party, especially with the flow of agricultural goods from Eastern Washington. The added dilemma for Moscoso and other rail-caucus members is finding ways to bolster capacity while ensuring public safety. The volume of highly flammable Bakken crude moving through Snohomish County is concerning, especially with the possibility of a derailment.”
The Herald editorial board said that Barton, a CPA and former Mill Creek planning commissioner, is an impressive candidate with creative approaches to identifying revenue for transportation and K-12 education.
“He’s a paradox,” the Herald said, “a Dan Evans Republican in a tea party culture, and a fiscal conservative who underscores the value of a state income tax. Barton also embraces a transportation-finance package, with a focus on state businesses underwriting much of it. Here common sense and political reality part ways. Barton would make a fine legislator, and we encourage him to remain active in politics. If he gets elected, Barton will need to emulate Moscoso’s example. Moscoso had to navigate the transition from outside activist to effective political operator. No small feat, that.”
The Herald said that Griffin hasn’t bothered to study the issues and is not qualified.
The Times endorsed Barton in a July 13 editorial, saying that he shows the intellect and moderation to be a strong lawmaker.
The Times editorial board said, “Barton easily meets the test to be a credible candidate. He has a strong business and civic résumé, as co-owner of Glass Doctor and president of a Web-services firm, and a former member of the Mill Creek planning commission.
“If elected, he would represent a new breed of suburban Republicans. He blends socially liberal and fiscally conservative views, and indicates a willingness to buck national party dogma on such issues as climate change.
“On the critical issue of education, Barton is rightly skeptical of the state Supreme Court’s heavy-handed education-funding mandate, but advocates additional funding through the so-called levy swap proposal, which has been advanced by some key House Democrats.
“Barton has some knowledge gaps in public policy, and his otherwise principled local-control approach to governance becomes muddled on gun control, which he would defer to the federal government.
“But his independence contrasts with Moscoso, a two-term Democrat, who indicated he defers to House Democratic leadership on key education funding — the most fundamental issue facing the Legislature. Every elected official needs to be en pointe. Moscoso, a former Community Transit bus driver, has shown leadership in transportation issues, including forming a bipartisan ‘rail caucus.’”
Griffin, The Times noted, lost to Moscoso in 2010.
“Barton shows the most promise to be a strong, pragmatic and independent lawmaker,” The Times said.
“To win, he’ll have to lose his stated aversion to soliciting campaign contributions.”
Moscoso has reported raising $51,086 and spending $31,723 to no fundraising or spending for Barton. Griffin has yet to register with the State Public Disclosure Commission.
The 1st Legislative District includes part of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, part of Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland.