Fuse 2015 Election Wrap-Up: What a night!




Progressives in cities and counties across Washington won big in the election on Tuesday. Clearly we're very disappointed that I-1366 appears headed to a narrow victory, but in nearly every other local race progressives came out on top.

Thank you to every Fuse member who knocked on doors, called voters, donated money, shared the Progressive Voters Guide, and most of all, voted. Here's a rundown on what happened in the top races on Tuesday:

Taking on Big Money in politics: Once again, Seattle is leading the nation on boldly progressive reforms. Voters overwhelmingly approved a historic campaign finance reform measure called Honest Elections Seattle that will limit big money's influence and give ordinary voters a stronger voice in government. Fuse played a lead role in helping pass Honest Elections - Fuse members canvassed, phonebanked, and donated money, and staff helped with communications and fundraising. We're excited about the precedent this could set across the country.

Volunteers getting ready to canvass for Honest Elections

Initiative 1366 passing narrowly: While we celebrated many local progressive victories on Tuesday, our biggest disappointment was a narrow victory for Tim Eyman's I-1366. We started 13 points down in July and clawed our way to a tie in October, but we were unable to overcome low voter turnout - resulting in a conservative electorate statewide - to defeat this dangerous measure.

Fuse's Sara Kiesler talking about I-1366 on KING 5 TV

With a shoestring budget for a statewide campaign, we helped lead a comprehensive communications campaign to educate voters about I-1366. We generated more than 100 news stories about the impact of this initiative, and more than 100 Fuse members across the state signed up to phonebank from home. While we're disappointed at this loss, we're confident that I-1366 will be found unconstitutional by our state Supreme Court. We will work with our partners to make sure this initiative is challenged and overturned.

Electing progressive leaders in East King County: In one of the most impressive victories of the evening, progressive Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci soundly defeated 20-year conservative incumbent Jane Hague for the King County Council. In addition, Vandana Slatter won her race to replace Balducci on the Bellevue City Council. Fuse members came out to phonebanks and canvasses for both candidates, and we broke the news that Hague's husband used shell companies to skirt campaign finance laws and funnel cash to her campaign.



Our blog post about Hague reached nearly 18,000 people during the final week of the election. Together, these two progressives will represent the rapidly changing Eastside and keep our region moving forward.

Defending a progressive majority in Spokane: Fuse endorsed progressives Ben Stuckart, Lori Kinnear, and Karen Stratton won big for the Spokane City Council. Unfortunately, a fourth progressive candidate, Randy Ramos, came up just short. The Fuse Spokane local council organized phonebanks and canvasses to support these great candidates and showed that progressive issues are just as important to voters east of the Cascades.

Fuse staff and volunteers canvassing in Spokane

Moving forward in Pierce County: From Keith Blocker for Tacoma City Council to the Pierce County Charter Review Commission and Puyallup City Council, our local organizing provided critical support for progressive candidates who otherwise might have been ignored by many voters. These victories in swing districts help us build a base for bigger wins in the future.

PVG
Supporting candidates with the Progressive Voters Guide: Every year, we hear from you that the Progressive Voters Guide is critical to being an informed voter. This year, we recommended more than 170 candidates and ballot measures across the state. More than 100,000 voters used the guide from 85 countries, and an incredible 70 percent of progressives we recommended won on Tuesday. From the Fife City Council to the San Juan Islands Hospital District, the Progressive Voters Guide is a powerful tool to educate voters about competitive races, statewide measures, and up-and-coming candidates.


Passing Best Starts for Kids: This commonsense measure will use proven prevention and early intervention strategies to increase access to healthy food, affordable housing, and disease prevention for many of King County's most vulnerable children. We organized phonebanks, canvasses, and a ballot party in South King County to support this proposition to give all kids the opportunity to thrive.

Disappointing loss in Federal Way: Other than I-1366, our only other major disappointment was former Federal Way teacher Carol Gregory losing a progressive seat in the state House. Despite a broad coalition effort, this loss puts Republicans within striking distance of a takeover of the House. We worked to support Gregory because she was the only candidate in the race that supported closing tax loopholes in order to fund our kids' schools.

Fuse staff canvassing in Federal Way for Rep. Carol Gregory

Small elections with a big impact: Local progressives won several other important races you may not have heard about. In Clark County, Eric LaBrant defeated Big Oil's candidate Lisa Ross in a Port Commissioner race that has a big impact on the fate of a proposed oil export terminal. Our friends at Washington Conservative Voters played an important role in supporting LaBrant. In Whatcom County, progressives Todd Donovan and Satpal Sidhu overcame the opposition of coal export companies to win their races for county council. In addition, a Whatcom County jail measure that neglected to fund essential mental health services or substance abuse diversion programs appears to be headed to a narrow defeat. Finally, all three progressives were elected to the San Juan County Public Hospital District in contentious races that will ensure access to reproductive health care.

A historic election for Latino representation in Yakima: After a prolonged legal fight, Yakima held district-based elections for City Council for the first time. We're thrilled that all three progressive Latina candidates won - Dulce Gutiérrez, Avina Gutiérrez, and Carmen Méndez - as well as progressive Holly Cousens. In particular, our partners at Progressive Majority Washington, OneAmerica Votes, and the ACLU of Washington were instrumental in bringing about this landmark change. These candidates will finally give a voice to Yakima's Latino population, as the city has never elected a representative to the City Council.

Fuse staff at a canvass supporting Avina Gutiérrez in District 2

From Spokane to Puyallup, we continue to be inspired by the dedication of Fuse volunteers across the state who fight for a better future. Thank you to everyone who knocked on doors, made phone calls, donated money, shared the Progressive Voters Guide, and most of all, voted. Your dedication to a building a progressive Washington is the heart of our work.