The following are KOMO Newsradio host John Carlson's primary 2012 political endorsements. Let John know if you agree or disagree with his picks on his Facebook fan page.
US Senate: State Senator Michael Baumgartner would be a worthy opponent for incumbent Maria Cantwell.
US House District # 1. (northern King, Snohomish and Skagit counties) Snohomish county councilman John Koster is the Republican choice. The best Democrat in the field is moderate State Representative Steve Hobbs.
US House District # 2. (Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties). Democrat Rick Larsen has held the job for 12 years. His best opponent for the general would be Republican Dan Matthews.
US House District # 3. (Southwest Washington, sweeping eastward along the Oregon border). Jaime Herrera Beutler has shined in her freshman term and is headed for re-election
US House District # 4. (Yakima, Tri-Cities, Moses Lake, and further north) Republican Doc Hastings has owned this district, since defeating freshman Congressman Jay Inslee for it 18 years ago. Jay moved back to western Washington and represented the suburban First District until resigning earlier this year.
US House District # 5. (Walla Walla, Spokane). Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a rising star in Congress, has no serious contenders.
US House District #6 (Kitsap peninsula and Gig Harbor and most of Tacoma). Norm Dicks dominated this district for more than 35 years, before announcing his retirement this spring. Long a Democratic stronghold, this year it could be up for grabs. The likely Democrat will be Derek Kilmer, state senator from Gig Harbor. The best Republican in a good field is Bill Driscoll, military veteran and business executive.
US House District # 7 (Seattle, stretching north and south). Jim McDermott has pretty much owned this district since the Reagan era. That won’t change as long as he wants the job. But just for fun, vote for Republican Ron Bemis
US House District # 8. Dave Reichert’s east King County district (winding into eastern Pierce county) now stretches over the Cascades to include Ellensberg, Wenatchee and Chelan. For the first time since succeeding Jennifer Dunn, Reichert will not have a close race this year.
US House District # 9. Adam Smith picks up some of the suburbs from Reichert, and has moved from Pierce to King County. He will likely face Jim Postma.
US House District # 10. (Olympia area east to Shelton and north past Ft. Lewis to Puyallup). This is Washington’s brand new district, and the leading candidates are Denny Heck, a former legislator, Chief of Staff to Democratic Governor Booth Gardner, and the founder of TVW, and Republican Dick Muri, a popular and effective Pierce County Councilman.
Governor: Democrats have controlled this office since 1985. Time for a change: Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna.
Lt. Governor: The Lt. Governor presides over the state Senate, chairs the Rules Committee, and represents the State when the Governor is out of town. Democrat Brad Owen has done this job well.
Attorney General: Two King County Councilmen are facing each other for the job. Liberal Bob Ferguson from Seattle, and moderately conservative Reagan Dunn from east King County. Dunn is the clear choice.
Secretary of State: The Secretary of State is responsible for registering and licensing state corporations and, most importantly, running and certifying elections in Washington state. What you want here is an honest umpire with experience in the field. By far the best candidate is Kim Wyman, Republican county auditor from Democratic Thurston County, where’s she’s been running elections for 12 years.
State Auditor: One of Washington’s most popular politicians, Democrat Brian Sonntag, is leaving after spotlighting government inefficiency and waste for the past 20 years. To continue Sonntag’s legacy, elect Republican James Watkins, who has a wealth of auditing and finance experience.
Commissioner of Public Lands: Incumbent Democrat Peter Goldmark deserves a challenge this year. Republican Clint Didier will make sure he gets one.
State Treasurer: The persons responsible for keeping the state’s money on a sound financial footing is incumbent Democrat Jim McIntire, who has done a stellar job, earning accolades from both sides of the political aisle.
Insurance Commissioner: This job really requires an expert in the world of insurance. Unfortunately, insurance salespeople usually make lousy politicians, so politicians get the job, and usually foul things up (remember Deborah Senn?). Former legislator and Congressman Micke Kreidler has held the post for 12 years. Two good candidates, Independent Brian Berend and Republican Scott Reilly, would be great improvements. Reilly is running the more energetic race.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: OK quick: who do you hold responsible for education in this state – the Governor or the SPI? That’s what I thought. This job is largely administrative, though it provides a bully pulpit for someone to crusade for education reform. Incumbent Randy Dorn is headed for easy re-election, but he’s more of an obstacle to reform than a supporter. As much as I like him personally, I’m casting a protest vote for former science and math teacher Don Hansler.
STATE SUPREME COURT
Keep in mind, that if anyone gets more than 50% of the vote in the primary, they don’t have to run again in November – the job is theirs.
State Supreme Court (Position 2) Liberal incumbent Susan Owens was first elected in 2000, and she’s facing two challengers. My preferred choice is Douglas McQuaid, a 40-year attorney and Viet Nam combat veteran.
State Supreme Court (Position 8) Incumbent Steve Gonzalez, with an impressive background and judicial temperament,has been endorsed by just about everybody, including Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee. His opponent, Bruce O. Danielson, filed for office, but oddly, is not really campaigning for the job.
State Supreme Court (Position 9) Four highly qualified candidates in this one. I was one of the few who endorsed Richard Sanders when he stunned the legal establishment and won a spot on the high court back in 1995. When it comes to property rights and Second Amendment rights, he’s been superb, but on crime issues, he’s been poor. Despite our long friendship, I can’t support his return to the Supreme Court. Of the other three, it’s a close call, but the one I’m voting for is John Ladenburg, former Pierce County Executive, who supported the “Three Strikes, You’re Out” initiative when he was county prosecutor, back in ’93.
STATE COURT OF APPEALS
No incumbent has drawn a challenger in King, Pierce, Snohomish or Whatcom-Skagit counties.
Division 2, District 2 – Thurston-Jefferson counties: A six way race comes that is a very close call between veteran prosecutor Pam Loginsky and assistant AG Thomas Bjorgen. Both would be a credit to the bench. I’m giving the edge to Loginsky.
OTHER JUDICIAL RACES
Superior Court, King County
Judge Position # 25: Easy call: Roger Davidheiser, an exceptionally well qualified candidate, with 21 years in the prosecutor’s office, where he founded the King County Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit.
Judge Position # 29: Sean O’Donnell has one of the most diverse array of endorsements as any candidate for judge this year, including both political parties. A highly popular and effective prosecutor, he would be a superb judge.
Judge Position # 30: Doug North is a respected judge who merits re-election.
Judge Position # 42 When she ran unsuccessfully four years ago, I suggested that Sue Parisien try again. She did, and her key opponent in this election makes the choice easy. Incumbent Christopher Washington has been criticized for giving shockingly lenient sentences to violent juvenile criminals. Parisien, with a wealth of legal experience in government and the private sector, would be a superb replacement.
Judge Position # 46: Another easy call. Gary Ernsdorff has experience as both a Public Defender and Prosecutor, with over 100 trials under his belt. If you’re looking for a law-and-order judge who understands the perspective of defense attorneys, Ernsdorff is your guy.
KING COUNTY PROPOSITION 1
Children and Family Services Center Capital Levy.
What it means: A $30 annual increase in your property taxes to build a $200 million dollar juvenile detention and court facility. You can make the case for overhauling and refurbishing the center, but the cost is exorbitant – especially when they intend to shrink its size by more than a fourth. VOTE NO.