Losing 1st District candidate frustrated by GOP vote ceiling

Neil Thannisch

By Evan Smith

A Republican candidate who has lost a race to incumbent Democratic 1st Legislative District Rep. Derek Stanford says that the proportion of Republican votes in the district is set.

Republican Neil Thannisch said last week that Republicans in the district are stuck in a range between 35 and 45 percent of the vote.

“If you’re a potato with an ‘R’ by your name, you will get no less than 35 percent,” he said. “If you’re Capt. Sully, loved by everyone, and yet you decide to put an ‘R’ by your name, you will get no more than 45 percent.

“One’s stance on any specific issue has zero impact in this district in this political environment.”

He added that he found getting his message to voters hard.

“There is no avenue for the minority voice to be heard in this district.”

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 including the Maltby area.

Stanford leads Thannisch 61 percent to 39 percent in results of the Nov. 8 general election reported through Monday morning.

Also in the 1st Legislative District, Democrat Guy Palumbo leads Republican Mindie Wirth by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin for the state Senate position that Democrat Rosemary McAuliffe is giving up after six four-year terms, and Democrat Shelley Kloba leads Republican Jim Langston by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin for the position that Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso gave up to run unsuccessfully in the August primary for the open state senate seat.

Margins were similar in 2012, when McAuliffe defeated Republican Dawn McCravey by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, Stanford defeated Republican Sandy Guinn 58 percent to 42 percent and Moscoso defeated Republican Mark Davies 61 percent to 39 percent.

In 2014, Republican Ed Barton did better when he took 46 percent against Moscoso.

Thannisch said he isn’t surprised to be trailing this year by 61 percent to 39 percent.

“Everyone has gone hyper-partisan on both sides to the point that issues do not matter,” he said. “Hyper-partisanship is the only thing that would explain why our community consistently continues to vote for the very people that brought them heavier traffic, tolling on roads for which we already paid, improperly funded education and support for the organization that gave us Big Bertha.

“It’s the very same thing Democrats fear at the national level. I would love to see this party polarization deteriorate to allow for civil conversation.”

He added that the 2011 redistricting, which increased the King County part of the district, had helped Democrats.

Democrats attributed this year’s victories to running a good campaign.

District Democratic chairman Dan Willner said last week, “We have a very active ground game. We were able to spend money for printing sample ballots and got volunteers to show up seven days a week to go drop them on doorsteps and talk to people. Plus our candidates’ message resonated with the people they met on the doorstep. All in all it is a group effort behind quality candidates to make it happen.”

Democratic State Sen.-elect Palumbo added, “I think voters responded to our message that we need greater urgency when it comes to public-school funding and transportation.”

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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