August 6th, 2019 Primary Election
August 20, 2019 • 7 min read
Summer elections have some of the lowest turnouts in the state. We’re here to make it a little easier by researching the candidates and issues and summarizing their backgrounds from a purely socialist point of view.
We’ve sent out our questionnaire to candidates in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties and are awaiting their responses. In the meantime, we’re researching their records, policy positions, and backgrounds.
Ballots are going out now! Watch this page for updates in the coming days.
Ballots are now POSTAGE PAID, which means NO STAMP REQUIRED.
You can vote if you have a criminal record (as long as you aren’t currently “under the control of the Department of Corrections.”)
Your ballot should arrive between now and next week. If it hasn’t, contact your local elections office.
As a socialist political party, we only offer our full support or endorsement to candidates openly running as socialists under a strictly socialist platform. For the August 2019 Primary election, one candidate running meets that criteria: Kshama Sawant for Seattle City Council.
Campaigns Worth Noting
As mentioned above, we do not endorse candidates who aren’t running on a strictly socialist platform. However, there are races across the region worth discussing. Below are some non-endorsement and non-support thoughts from our membership.
Mayor - City of Olympia
Like many other smaller cities in Washington, Olympia has a manager-council form of government, where the mayor is mostly a figurehead who waves in parades and presides over meetings. Many don’t know that an unelected “city manager” actually runs the show. The difference is that while most city councils select one member to serve as their figurehead mayor, Olympia elects theirs.
Cheryl Selby has presided over a dark period in Olympia, with incomes stagnant, rents rising, and a growing affordable housing shortage. We’ve also seen the Olympia Police used to abuse and harass homeless people in the name of beautifying the downtown. Selby celebrates the outcomes and continues to vote to close what limited resources are made available to residents. When served with a lawsuit for these violations of US law during a public meeting, Selby proclaimed, “I’m not Cheryl Selby.”
If Cheryl Selby can deny her identity while sitting behind a nameplate that reads “Cheryl Selby – Mayor,” would we notice if she were to be ousted? Four other candidates are appearing on the ballot to be Olympia’s next figurehead mayor, including Phil Cornell, a HAM radio enthusiast and an environmentalist candidate who dropped out last week, homeless hate machine and Judge Dredd cosplayer David Ross, currently elected council member Nathaniel Jones, and young newcomer Brenden Clerget. Jones says some good things about the environment but then talks about being buds with Puget Sound Energy, while Clerget talks about fixing our transit shortfalls by replacing our buses with those rental scooters you see all over the sidewalks in Seattle and Tacoma.
City Council Position 2—City of Olympia
Incumbent Jessica Bateman has almost nothing to show for her time in office. She brags of her support for the “Missing Middle” gentrification scheme, which the state just ruled violates multiple laws and regulations. Bateman boasts of her support for the homeless community, even though the council member typically votes against expanding what the city offers. When speaking on ways to address climate change at a recent council meeting, she suggested banning plastic straws.
In addition, Bateman also was seen with Gov. Inslee supporting HB 1923, which removes the SEPA Environmental Review process requirement from all new developments. This is nothing but a way to fast-track development and increase profits for developers at the cost of our environmental protection and rights to clean air and water.
Bateman’s opponents are Phyllis Booth, an area affordable housing activist, and nurse at the free clinic, and Alyssa Humbert, who has worked in the non-profit sector promoting literacy for immigrant children.
Council Position 3—City of Olympia
Dani Madrone is someone who is going to win because nobody is running a strong enough campaign to defeat her. Her two opponents include Boudicca Walsh, who publicly stated that capitalism is the source of all of society’s problems, and Dr. Matt Goldenberg, who declined to offer any differentiation between his campaign and that of his opponents. Posts on social media by Dr. Goldenberg suggests that he believes Dani Madrone deserves to win this one, which begs the question, why is he running?
While Dr. Matt does go as far as to say the “Missing Middle” gentrification scheme is troubling, he won’t provide details or comment on Dani Madrone’s enthusiastic support of it. On her podcast, Dani Madrone claims “Missing Middle” would “build houses for homeless people,” which is a blatant lie—the plan builds condos and other types of housing for people who make up to 130% of the area median income, or roughly $100,000/yr. At a September 2018 City Council meeting, Madrone was caught marking the sign-in sheet to identify opponents of the city’s gentrification plan, signaling to City Council to exclude them from public comment.
Madrone was also the former editorial writer for The Olympian. In this job, she used her position to anonymously attack activist candidates and bully pro-worker organizers in the area, often using factual distortions and racist dog whistles, including weaponizing previous criminal records. Madrone has a criminal record for breaking into homes while intoxicated, which makes her a bit of a hypocrite.
An interesting but politically unimportant note: Dr. Goldenberg and Boudicca Walsh are both openly trans, which must be some sort of first in a primary, at least in our state. More interesting is the obvious primary alliance of centrists Dani Madrone and Matt Goldenberg against leftist candidate Boudicca Walsh.
School Board Director—Olympia School District #111
Of the three candidates, we have Heath Howerton, a former representative for developer lobbying group Olympia Master Builders, Maria Flores, who is close with the corporate establishment in Olympia (and has endorsed anti-homeless mayor, Cheryl Selby), and Evergreen librarian, Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast, motorcycle rider, musician, and overall normal person, Ahniwa Ferrari.
Council Position 1—City of Lacey
Four candidates are on the ballot for this position: Sarah Jean Morris, a realtor and former Bernie Sanders delegate (2016), Malcolm Miller, a loan officer and community volunteer, Jesse Orndoff, a small business owner afraid of homeless people, and Troy Kirby, owner of the Pocket Gophers soccer team and guy who thinks liberals and socialists are the same things. Interestingly, in his League of Women Voters forum, Troy Kirby seems to believe that new development can be built on septic when regulations require sewer. When pressed on this, he said that “most new development is in the county,” which doesn’t have this requirement. To clarify: he’s running for city council, not county commissioner.
The candidates in this race seem to have one major difference: centering workers vs. centering business. Morris and Miller want to treat the homelessness and affordable housing issues with compassion and evidence-based solutions, while Orndoff and Kirby—the business owners—unsurprisingly believe in “enforcing the law” and building luxury condos while cutting business taxes and regulations.
Council Position 2—King County
Girmay Zahilay is running against the incumbent (since 1993) Larry Gossett. Larry is known for his involvement in civil rights, including rebranding King County from being the namesake of the slave owner and former vice president William Rufus DeVane King to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
While Gossett is an icon, Zahilay seems to be at least promising more in terms of modern-day civil rights. He wants to move King County towards a goal of 0% incarcerated youth and has promised to move towards getting King County to divest from fossil fuel investment banks like Wells Fargo. A public bank could bring in more revenue for things like public housing and education, and allow for county money to be kept in the local economy.
Council Position 8—King County
Joe McDermott, the incumbent, and first openly gay member of the county council, is running against two nutcases. One is perennial candidate, Goodspaceguy, which we hope needs no explanation. The other is a man named Michael Robert Neher, who is known for his involvement in the right-wing anti-homeless group “Speak Out Seattle.” Neher, aside from being the type of guy who watches Bumfights videos on YouTube, is against safe consumption sites, LEAD programs, and supports putting “people who commit crimes” into concentration camps. And if that isn’t reason enough to avoid him, he’s buds with rich dick Saul Spady of Dick’s Drive-in fame. McDermott may be your typical centrist Democrat, but he’s not the other two guys; he’s a good advocate for immigrants rights and funding for arts.
Council Position 4—City of Seattle
Shaun Scott, author, DSA member running as a Democrat, and the obvious choice in this race. His main opponent, Alex Pedersen, the Chamber of Commerce candidate, is backed by Amazon. Shaun has two other opponents, but they’re your typical liberal middle-of-the-road Democrats. Shaun’s ideas include public housing, bringing back the head tax, safe consumption sites, and municipal broadband internet.
School Board Director Position 3—City of Renton
Kristen Deskin is one of the few candidates to quickly return our candidate questionnaire, and her answers were pretty impressive. Even though she’s running for school board, she happily explained her views in support of women’s reproductive rights, affordable housing, addressing climate change, and expanding and protecting immigrant rights. She was also very clear in her belief that capitalism is a system based upon greed, and that corporations should be paying their fair share. This is someone who also has the best interests of kids in mind. She serves on various boards and volunteer organizations and is an advocate for early childhood education. We have not yet heard from her opponents.
We will be posting more candidate ratings and opinions throughout the week leading up to the election. Stay tuned!
Note: The opinions on this page are for informational (and sometimes entertainment) purposes only and are strictly the opinions of members of Puget Sound Socialist Party. These statements are made without the knowledge of candidates and campaigns and do not serve as an in-kind contribution or reflect the opinions and/or endorsement of the party as a whole.