One of my biggest surprises coming from the initial primary returns last night was in the 1st Legislative District, Position 2. This race for an open seat (created when the incumbent, Mark Ericks (D-Bothell) was tapped by President Obama for a US Marshall position) featured a novice Tea Party/Republican against a long time community organizer with strong ties to the Democratic Party and organized Labor and an unknown last-minute filer who chose “prefers Democratic Party” for his ballot ID. At the end of the night, Republican, Heidi Munson was holding a commanding 22 point lead over current 2nd place candidate Luis Moscoso who is holding a half point advantage over the heretofore unknown David Griffin. The final tally between Moscoso and Griffin will determine who will move into the general election contest with Munson. The surprise here is not that Munson; who was strongly supported by the state Republicans as well as the Tea Party (at one point sharing the stage with US Senate candidate and Sarah Palin endorsee Clint Diddier) is doing as well as she is but rather that long-time activist Moscoso (who entered the race as the Democratic Party’ “official nominee”) is finding himself in such a struggle with someone virtually unknown to both King and Snohomish County Democrats and with no known ties to any particular constituency group. The totals as of last night:
- Heidi Munson (R) – 7165 – 48.22%
- Luis Moscoso (D) – 3889 – 26.17%
- David Griffin (D) – 3804 – 25.60%
- Heidi Munson (R) – 1251 – 46.25%
- Luis Moscoso (D) – 932 – 34.45%
- David Griffin (D) – 522 – 19.30%
- Heidi Munson (R) – 5914 – 48.65%
- David Griffin (D) – 3282 – 27.01%
- Luis Moscoso (D) – 2957 – 24.33%
Perhaps it is Moscoso’s very strengths that are now proving to be his vulnerability. At a time when newspaper editorials and the right-wing are banging the same drum that “Government is the problem”, both Munson and Griffin have been running as “small government” insurgents and working to paint Moscoso as the ultimate Olympia insider. In fact in their editorial endorsement of Heidi Munson, the Seattle Times said of Moscoso, “Moscoso knows the inner workings of Olympia, but the challenge for him is to broaden a perspective shaped by representing the Washington Public Employees Association/UFCW 365 and union issues for Community Transit workers and drivers. He knows the territory, the question is how tough he can be in the interest of all taxpayers.” Their basis for Munson’s endorsement? “Munson is essentially running on pledges of leaner government, tighter spending and an open mind about new ways to doing government business, including working toward a greener environment. Her earnest rhetoric fits the times.” Pledges and rhetoric over knowledge and action.
If Moscoso is successful in advancing to the general election, it will be his task to convince 1st LD voters that it is precisely his years of service as a negotiator that will serve them best in meeting their needs in Olympia and that his knowledge of “the territory” gives him the advantage over any novice legislator; especially one who holds the very institution they seek election to in such disdain.