Watkins ‘scaling back’ campaign, apologizes

By SUSANNA RAY

Herald Writer

EVERETT — Democratic legislative candidate Kerry Watkins doesn’t seem to know what he wants .

He said he wanted to run a positive, issues-oriented campaign, but then slammed his Republican opponent on the Web and in newspaper advertisements.

When he discovered that those charges were false, he urgently requested this week that The Herald run his apology letter, but he kept some of the negative attacks on his site, correcting the factual errors.

And Thursday, Watkins said he doesn’t think he has much of a chance of winning anyway, so he’ll be "scaling back" his campaign.

For several months Watkins accused incumbent state Rep. Dave Schmidt, R-Bothell, of having accomplished nothing during his three terms in office. Watkins claimed that none of the bills Schmidt had sponsored since 1994 made it into law.

But Schmidt actually was the prime sponsor of seven bills in this year’s session alone that the governor signed into law.

"I’ve had so many (bills passed) I don’t even keep track anymore," Schmidt said Thursday, adding that he knew of the inaccurate charge but had decided to ignore it and simply outline his record on his own Web site.

Watkins said he discovered the error one night when he was looking at Schmidt’s site. He sent an apology letter to Schmidt and to The Herald’s editorial board.

"I would be very upset, very upset, if someone said something about me that was untrue, and I would want them to be held accountable," he said Thursday.

"Of course the apology is accepted," Schmidt said. "He just didn’t do his homework."

Watkins explained the mistake by saying his former campaign manager and the House Democratic Campaign Committee had done the initial research on Schmidt’s background.

Watkins said he may not have looked at Schmidt’s record correctly.

"I basically came to rely on the information given to me" by the Democratic committee, Watkins said, adding it has been difficult to campaign while working full-time at Boeing and for the Washington National Guard. Schmidt is not working now, but is still a reservist for the guard.

Watkins rips Schmidt in the first line of his statement in the state voters guide: "I’m running for state representative because Dave Schmidt has been too divisive in his approach and too extreme in his views."

Watkins wouldn’t divulge who considers Schmidt in that regard, but he said they were several key Democratic legislators.

When asked if he felt the charges were within the parameters of a positive campaign, Watkins said: "It’s marginally … in retrospect, and as we keep getting more information … we will probably keep going back and modifyingc it further."

Schmidt is socially conservative, but has not been an extreme crusader on social issues in Olympia. Instead, he has worked mostly on policy issues such as saving money through election reform and revising state government.

Watkins expressed frustration with campaigning .

"I’m used to the military, and giving my orders and having them carried out, not having to work with other people and listen to what they say if we want any support," he said.

When asked if that’s not exactly what’s involved in being a legislator, he clarified his comments: "I’m not a savvy politician. I’m not used to the games and them saying, ‘Kerry, you need to do this if you want to win.’ "

Watkins is not a greenhorn in the political arena. He ran for state Senate two years ago, but lost with less than 40 percent of the vote. He has been active in the party since then and is editor of the 44th District’s Democratic newsletter, "Donkeytales."

In the Sept. 19 primary, Schmidt received 58 percent of the vote, Watkins 32 percent and his Democratic challenger, Herb O’Bryant, 10 percent.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Boeing 787's in various stages of assembly at Boeing's Everett Plant on April 29, 2017 in Everett. (The Boeing Co.)
Boeing workers signal support for strike if contract talks fail

The union is calling for a 40% raise for workers over the next three years.

A wall diagram shows the “journey of the ballot” at the new Elections Center on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County primary election ballots shipped to registered voters

This year’s primary election will feature races in every corner of the county. Turn in a ballot by Aug. 6 to ensure your vote is counted.

A skeletonized cranium found at Scriber Lake Park in Lynnwood, WA on March 24, 2024. The remains are likely a black male estimated to be over 25 years of age and unknown height and weight. He is estimated to have been deceased at least one year. (Provided by Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office)
Authorities seek help identifying partial skull found in Lynnwood park

A homeless man discovered the skull at Scriber Lake Park. Forensic scientists hope to connect the remains to a missing person.

Guests enjoy the sunset and wind Friday afternoon at Cama Beach Historical State Park on Camano Island on October 25, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
State commission weighs permanent closure of Cama Beach cabins

The Washington State Parks Commission said the park’s native history, sea level rise and septic issues will figure in its decision.

Animal Chaplain Shel Graves has her dog Lily pose for a photo in her home office on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is your dog or cat grieving? There’s an animal chaplain for that

Chaplains offer spiritual care for beings of all species: “Absolutely, animals do feel grief and loss.”

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains on Wednesday. (Provided by the National Weather Service)
Red flag warning issued for eastern Snohomish County through Wednesday

The National Weather Service says critical fire conditions are either imminent or occurring now.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.