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In the comments of last weeks post on a budget for Sound Transit 3, several commenters noted that getting the funding authority for Sound Transit would be impossible so long as the GOP controls the State Senate. I thought I would go through what the post-primary situation looks like and if the lack of hope displayed by many commenters is justified.

Right now the Republicans have a de-facto 26 to 23 edge in the State Senate, de-facto because they have gotten an assist from turncoat Democrats Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon. Senate seats are a zero sum game, so that three person edge is actually just two seats, the GOP loses a seat for every one the Democrats gain. Rodney Tom’s seat in the 48th district was won overwhelmingly by Cyrus Habib in the primary, by just over 29 points. Assuming that the popular Habib can repeat his performance that would cut the GOPs edge down to 25-24.

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The question then is this: where is the other seat going to come from? One possibility is the 35th where Irene Bowling leads both Tim Sheldon and Republican Travis Couture (who unfortunately doesn’t seem to have used Hi Couture or Haute Couture as his campaign slogan). Since Mr. Couture came in 3rd and the Republicans will probably defect to Tim Sheldon, it seems likely that the current victory would turn into an almost 30 point defeat.

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The next best performance by a Democratic candidate was by Matt Isenhower in the 45th who lost by 7.5 points to Andy Hill. 7.5 points may seem like a great deal, but because two candidate race margins are a zero sum game just like the composition of the senate as a whole listed above, it would only take a 3.75 point swing (4 if we want to be safe) to flip the district.

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The 45th has several other advantages for Seattle transit advocates compared to other districts. The 45th has a pair of incumbent Democratic State Legislators which won by margins bigger than Andy Hill’s margin of victory, but could use shoring up. The 45th is very close to Seattle compared to the other competitive districts and is accessible directly from Seattle using many Sound Transit and Metro routes Such as the 268, 542 and 545.

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One of the reasons Matt is running is because the Senate didn’t pass a transportation package when the House did. Having divided government is impairing the normal functioning of the state and imperiling Sound Transit’s ability to put ST3 on the ballot in 2016, when it will be coming what appears will be the early and $150 million under budget opening of University Link and have our best chance at electoral success.

With the additional turn out in the general election this district will be very close, four years ago Andy Hill won by less than 1200 votes in a very Republican leaning year. With our support Matt Isenhower could flip the Senate and help Sound Transit get the funding authority it needs.

11 Replies to “Want ST3 Funding Authority? Support Matt Isenhower!”

  1. For people that really want to make a difference here, they can volunteer at http://voteisenhower.com/pages/113/volunteer/. He has a great campaign team and is very committed to solving the transportation and education roadblocks that we have seen in the State Legislator for the past couple of years. Washington State is a place that fixes it’s problems, but it hasn’t been under an obstructionist GOP Senate.

  2. I really don’t like any shilling for candidates or political parties here. Any.

    Keep this up and I’ll start toeing the Republican line. Okay?

    1. The whole blog is political. Voting guides, discussions about council positions, etc. This was clearly titled as supporting a specific candidate. The simplest solution for you would have been not to click and read it.

    2. At one time there were Republicans that supported good transportation policies. Write about them, if there are any on the horizon!

      Democrats will never control the eastern half of the state. So, what Republican allies of transportation projects are there in those areas?

      1. Will do, Glenn.

        We have the Road Bullies/Road Caucus pushing their form of transportation projects too. Some of them make sense, some don’t.

        But Republicans DO need to start supporting transit the way Senator Bailey and Representative Hayes have. For starters.

    3. This is my personal opinion, and would be marked as such if it were on the front page.

      That said having met Andy Hill, I have no confidence that he will support any kind of public transportation. He used his position as Ways and Means Chair to meet with corporate lobbyist over citizens groups and hardly gave me the time of day in multiple visits. I’ve also talked to Matt who was enthusiastic about transit.

      The election of Matt over Andy is an absolute gain for transit advocates even if the Senate stays controlled by the GOP.

      My ultimate goal in posting here is to get Sound Transit funding authority for ST3 in 2015, so that the measure can be run in 2016. Prove that Republicans would prioritize ST funding and I’ll stop posting political things here.

      1. Peyton S, if we start shilling for candidates and not transit alone then what are we?

        No seriously.

        I’m at some point going to write an open letter urging Republicans to support transit – and explain why. I recognize there’s a serious imagination problem in my party on this issue.

        One last thing in the interest of full disclosure: I’m not so gung ho for ST3 without some serious reforms in how transit is run.

      2. “…then what are we?” A group of people posting on a blog and a group of people agitating for transit needs. If Andy Hill has demonstrated that he does not have a commitment to transit, like we generally want at this blog, then his opponent will be championed if only to show that not championing transit is a path to being voted out. It comes down to a question of how to get the representation that those of us in Puget Sound want for our area; advocating for specific candidates and, yes, political parties, is a part of that. Transit planning and funding advocacy does not happen in a vacuum.

        It’s not sporting of you to “threaten” to toe the Republican line. Decide on your beliefs and opinions and make them known as you see fit but don’t lord them over others. You’re always entitled to an opinion but there’s no requirement that others share it.

      3. I think it’s time somebody interviewed Senator Andy Hill on transit. I’ll see what I can do and give him seven (7) days to reply.

        Stay tuned……………

      4. That’s fine.You are allowed to be against ST3. But people who are interested in building new rail in Seattle as soon as possible ought to be for it since it is their best option.

        Seattle Subway for instance has maintained that Light Rail from ST3 could begin operations in 2025 if we have a 2016 vote.

        If we start advocating for candidate who support us enthusiastically, we are pragmatist who engage in politics as it is, instead of idealist who engage in politics as it should be (and frankly we all know that public transportation should not be a partisan issue).

        If you help state Republicans understand transit issues then that is commendable and amazing. I don’t think it is likely because of an ideological commitment to lower taxes and less provisioning of public goods among the right.

        How Sound Transit is run can be changed by the legislature at any time. But any delay in planning and construction just pushes off invested that should have been made years ago into the future.

        I hope that Andy Hill comes out for transit. But I don’t trust his answers any more than I trusted Rodney Tom the get a transportation package passed over the last two years. Actions speak louder than words and what the MCC has done with de facto GOP control speaks volumes.

        Andy Hill is in control of Ways and Means Committee and controls what taxing and spend bills go to the Senate floor and which die in committee, including any transportation bills.

      5. Peyton S;

        I intend to help when I can make State Republicans realize if you want to cut welfare and cut government waste (on pavement) plus create “a culture of life” you just might want to support mass transit. Enthusiastically.

        Since it’s been decided that advocating for candidates is okay, I intend to advocate for Republicans like Island County Commissioner Candidate Rick Hannold who will support transit. I just want transit to NOT be partisan and I want my fellow Republicans to understand.

        Finally, I do think ST3 should come with some accountability measures. It is no secret I am a Sounder North opponent. It is no secret I am for getting government to work together. It is also no secret I believe taxes should go to a vote of the people – especially with the high regressivity of taxes in our state.

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