By Zachariah Bryan
Northwest Asian Weekly
It was a good night for Democrats in Washington.
Hundreds of enthusiastic citizens packed the Seattle Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom, where the Washington State Democrats hosted their election night watch party. For many, the results seemed almost unbelievable.
President Barack Obama was officially re-elected. Democrat Jay Inslee pulled ahead in the gubernatorial race and is expected to win. Democrat Bob Ferguson beat out Republican Reagan Dunn in the bloody Attorney General race. Democrat Peter Goldmark put a whooping on Republican Clint Didier, whose main credential was largely being a former NFL player, in the race for Commissioner of Public Lands.
Democrat Suzan DelBene sprinted ahead of Republican John Koster in the race for the 1st Congressional District. And incumbent U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Jim McDermott handily won their re-elections.
“There was a trend. Every one of those numbers began with a 5. And with the Republicans, every one of those numbers began with a 4,” said Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats. “And as Clinton said, math matters.”
In Washington, perhaps more notable than anything else, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization both now look like realities instead of fantasies. For the former, people hugged and cried. For the latter, people cheered and clinked glasses.
One measure that Democrats have been negative of is also passing: Initiative 1185, the ever-popular Tim Eyman measure, which requires the Washington State Legislature to make a two-thirds vote before raising any taxes.
Another one the party has been generally critical of, Initiative 1240, which would allow the creation of up to 40 charter schools, is currently too close to call, but is holding a narrow lead.
Inslee took the stage late in the night, reported to have been watching the election results upstairs for a prolonged amount of time.
“I hope he’s coming out soon,” Gov. Christine Gregoire said at one point, “because I’m ready to pass on the baton to the next great governor of the state of Washington — Jay Inslee.”
When he did appear, at 10:40 p.m., a frenzy of screaming and a furious flapping of “I Voted for Jay Inslee for Governor” signs erupted.
Inslee’s remarks were to the point and brief, first praising the night’s other successes before talking about himself.
“Now, let’s stick to the heart of the matter,” he said. “They are still counting the ballots in the governor’s race, but I believe this — I believe tonight, our state has taken another step forward and we have elected a forward-looking governor.”
He said he wanted to get to work the very next day, so he could help lead Washington into a better “working” future.
Opponent Republican Rob McKenna did not concede the race that night, telling voters at 9:30 p.m. that it wasn’t over yet.
“We’re going to ask you to be patient for a few more days,” McKenna said. “This year, it will be worth the wait.”
The Washington State gubernatorial race was thought to be one of the most contested in the country.
The star of the night, though, was President Obama. Many were on edge, eyes glued to the various television and projector screens all over Westin Hotel, as election results rolled in. In the end, though the popular vote was tight, it wasn’t even close. Obama swept several key swing states.
When Mitt Romney officially announced his concession, the screams were loud and long.
When Obama made his acceptance speech, they were deafening. (end)
Zachariah Bryan is the lead reporter and web editor of the Ballard News–Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.