By Evan Smith
Newspaper editorial boards are split on endorsements of candidates in the 1st Legislative District, particularly on the three-way race for the district’s state senate seat.
The senate position is open due to the retirement of Democratic State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe.
Ten days after the Seattle Times endorsed Democrat Guy Palumbo for the State Senate seat, the Herald in its Tuesday edition recommended both Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso and Republican Mindi Wirth.
The Times has been recommending its top choice for each position, but the Herald editorial board says that it is recommending the two candidates in each legislative race that it believes are the best candidates, despite their differing positions, to move on to the Nov. 8 general election. In the top-two primary, the two candidates receiving the most votes, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Herald editors said that they would endorse legislative candidates before the general election.
The Times said that Palumbo, an elected Snohomish County Fire District 7 commissioner and appointed county planning commission chairman, is well-versed in the education options before the legislature.
The Herald noted that Wirth, who works at Microsoft, objects to tolling on I-405, wants to restore two-plus carpool lanes, add lane capacity, implement more bus rapid transit and additional park-and-ride stalls.
The Herald said that Moscoso, vice-chairman of the House Transportation Committee has helped increase Snohomish County’s share of the 2015 transportation package, that he believes the state’s tax structure needs structural changes, and that he successfully shepherded a Voting Rights Act through the House before the bill died in a Senate committee.
For the House seat that Moscoso is giving up, the Times endorsed Republican Jim Langston, saying that he is the best choice for his understanding of the broad challenges facing the Legislature and his open mind on solutions, including new tax revenues for school funding.
The Herald has recommended both Langston and Democrat Shelley Kloba. The Herald editorial board praised Langston for his open mind on whether the state needs new sources of revenue to meet education needs. Herald editors said that Democrat Kloba, a Kirkland city councilwoman and former state PTA legislative director, says full funding for education is long overdue and would be her focus and that she supports a levy swap.
Three other Democrats are running for the position: Aaron Moreau-Cook of Bothell, a tech industry manager who is financing his own campaign; Darshan Rauniyar, a high-tech executive, community volunteer and former 1st Congressional District candidate; and Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, a Mountlake Terrace City Council member.
For the other 1st Legislative District House position, the Times supported incumbent Democratic Rep. Derek Stanford, vice chairman of both the House Capital Budget Committee and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, who the Times said runs a small business specializing in analytics solutions and statistical consulting.
The Herald supported both Stanford and Republican Brian Travis.
Herald editors noted that Stanford believes that the Legislature will need to find new revenue to support education and other state spending and that he calls the current system “extremely regressive, both for people and for businesses” that in seeking a compromise on revenue, he is open to putting a revenue-reform package to a referendum for voter approval, as long as education funding is not delayed and that he believes a greater emphasis on the state’s water supply is necessary for agriculture, municipal needs and protecting fish runs and tribal treaty rights.
The Herald noted that Travis, a hotel night auditor, says he represents what he calls “food bank Republicans,” who hold one or two jobs but still struggle to make ends meet. Herald editors said that he wants to remove tolls on all highways, repeal and replace the business-and-occupation tax and repeal the state’s prohibition on rent control, and that he believes that the state Supreme Court mandate on education funding is unconstitutional and that funding for schools does not need to be increased.
Other candidates against Stanford and Travis are Republicans Neil Thannisch and Democrat Kazuaki Sugiyama.
The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.
Evan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.