2012 Election Wrap Up

Tuesday night was awesome. From Barack Obama and Jay Inslee to marriage equality and control of the Legislature, progressives won across the board.

Together with our allies, we put our hearts and souls on the line for strong families, a secure middle class, and a better future for our children. We beat back a tsunami of money from powerful conservative special interests. Together, we won.

Fuse members stepped up in an unbelievable way. We called or knocked on the doors of nearly half the voters in our targeted races, more than 275,000 voters used the Progressive Voters Guide, and we generated more than 3,000 news stories during the election.

If nothing else, remember this about 2012: grassroots organizing overcame Super PACs and conservative billionaires' deep pockets. People came together and fought for working families, equality and democracy for our kids, and it worked.

Here's a breakdown of the key races in Washington and how Fuse members made a difference:

Jay Inslee: Fuse invested more than two years of organizing, communications, and research into holding Rob McKenna accountable. In particular, we led efforts to educate voters about his lawsuit to overturn the entire health insurance reform law. Our work generated at least 199 news stories this year exposing McKenna's partisan agenda.

Sheryl Gordon McCloud: Voters thoroughly rejected the comeback bid of anti-choice, anti-gay former Justice Richard Sanders. In a non-partisan race like this, thousands of voters turn to the Progressive Voters Guide for thoughtful recommendations about which candidates support equality, fairness, and justice for all. Thanks to the generous support and sharing of Fuse members, we shattered our previous records and reached nearly 1 out of every 10 voters across the state.

Referendum 74: This is historic. For the first time ever, voters approved marriage equality for all loving couples by a public vote. We were proud to stand alongside our partners at Washington United for Marriage and Equal Rights Washington as they showed that equality can defeat fear and hatred. We hope Washington's leadership will fuel the national movement for equality.

Initiative 502: We're thrilled that the people of Washington support this huge step forward towards creating a more effective, just and humane drug policy. We were stretched too thin to mobilize significant resources into supporting I-502, but the Progressive Voters Guide informed hundreds of thousands of voters about the importance of this historic reform.

Suzan DelBene: Our state's most competitive congressional race was essentially tied for months. But one week before Election Day, we released audio recorded by a local Fuse volunteer that exposed Koster's extreme anti-choice views for survivors of "the rape thing." His remarks generated more than 3,000 news stories worldwide, including features on The Today Show, NPR, The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Huffington Post, and buried his hopes for victory.1

Defending progressive champions: When legislators stand up for progressive values, we need to have their back. Our top priorities to defend this year were Reps. Tami Green, Hans Dunshee, and Roger Goodman. We’re proud to say that all three were victorious on Tuesday, despite facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in dirty attacks. More importantly, they won in challenging swing districts. We focused our grassroots organizing in these swing areas because we know we have to reach out to moderate and independent voters and share our vision for a more fair, just, and equal state.

In Pierce County, Fuse staff and volunteers made 17,736 phone calls and knocked on 4,076 doors for Tami Green. In Snohomish County, we made another 11,078 phone calls and knocked on 2,130 doors for Hans Dunshee and Mary McNaughton. Fuse staff and volunteers called or knocked on the doors of more than one out of four voters in both of these key swing districts.

A new generation of progressive leaders: We're never content to just play defense. We also prioritized electing Mark Mullet to the state Senate in the 5th District, as well as supporting Cyrus Habib, Andy Billig, and others. Fuse staff and volunteers made a staggering 35,597 phone calls and knocked on 2,734 doors to elect Mark Mullet in a critical balance-of-power race. Our field efforts reached more than half the voters who cast a ballot in the district. Mullet won his race by more than 7 percent on Tuesday.

Where we came up short: You can't win them all, even on the best days. We are disappointed that Tim Eyman's unconstitutional supermajority requirement for new revenue passed again, and a few of our favorite candidates were not successful. But we know that up and coming progressive leaders like Noel Frame and Mary McNaughton will continue to be a force for progress in other roles.

As we celebrate, it's important to remember what led to this success. After the 2010 elections we didn't have much good news to report. Far-right Republicans had just retaken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and all we heard about was the rising power of the Tea Party and conservative billionaires unleashed by Citizens United.

It took two years of hard work, strategic communications, and grassroots organizing to turn things around, both locally and across the county. We stuck to our values and fought every day for an open and democratic government that limits the power of special interests and promotes equality and opportunity for all Americans.

As a member driven organization, we're also curious to get your input on the election. Click here to send us your comments about Fuse's work, as well as your observations and stories about the election. We promise to read every single comment:


This election showed the power of people coming together to build a better future, but our work isn't over. We must hold these newly elected representatives accountable to the people and continue to organize for progressive reforms. We're counting on you to be there fighting with us every step of the way.

Thanks for all that you do,

Aaron and the entire team at Fuse

P.S. The election might be over, but our work is just beginning. We're already gearing up to advocate for progressive priorities in the Legislature and hold our newly-elected representatives accountable. Click below to support our ongoing organizing for progress as a monthly donor: Yes, I'm in!
  1. seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019621624_elex1stcongdistrict07m.html