A February primary? Both good and bad

  • Evan Smith<br>Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:55am

A committee has set Washington’s presidential primary for Feb. 19.

The move could be a good one for the state if candidates come out of the multi-state Feb. 5 primary with the issue still in doubt.

But some state needs to fight this national dash to the front of the line, a move that could see the presidential nominations decided six months before the national conventions and eight months before the general election.

The state political parties can act by moving their caucuses. Those caucuses will decide 43 percent of the state’s Republican delegates and all of the state’s Democratic delegates but a few elected officials and party officers. They are now set for Feb. 9, when they will get lost in the “Super Tuesday” hype.

Let’s place them where they can get guidance from primary results. Hold the caucuses in May, when they could provide last-minute tipping points, with County and District conventions in June and the state convention in July.

More school board candidates this year

Two years ago, fewer than 15 percent of the school board members elected in King and Snohomish counties had opponents. That meant there was almost no public debate over school issues.

The outlook for public debate is better this year with contests for 40 percent of the positions. Thirteen percent of the positions have three or more candidates, forcing primaries in August to narrow the field to two for November.

Many of the unopposed positions are in tiny rural districts like Index and Skykomish, but controversies in several large districts have brought out candidates.

While one of the two Everett School District seats has only one candidate, the other has four candidates, meaning it will have a primary to narrow the field for November.

This year’s contests will mean candidate forums for both the primary and the general elections. A retired longtime school board member once told me that he liked having opponents because it forced him to discuss school policies in public settings.

Support F.R.O.G. on Referendum Measure 68

The Frog Referendum Organizing Group (F.R.O.G.) needs help with petitions for a referendum to put the designation of the Pacific Chorus Frog as official state amphibian on the November ballot.

In recent years we’ve adopted a state animal, a state fish, a state marine mammal, a state fruit, a state vegetable, a state grass, a state rock, a state gem, a state ship, a state tartan, a state dance and now a state amphibian. It’s time for the nonsense to stop.

I’ll have petitions for Referendum 68 ready next week. To get a petition, send me an e-mail.

Evan Smith is the Enterprise Forum editor. Send comments to entopinion@heraldnet.com.

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