The 2018 elections featured historic turnout thanks to a president who drove both parties to the polls.
The midterms were massive in both raw vote totals and participation rates. According to the Associated Press, an estimated 113 million Americans went to the polls Nov. 6, the highest total for a non-presidential election in U.S. history and the highest voter participation rate in a midterm election in at least 50 years.
In Washington state, we had several high stakes initiatives on the ballot. One would have brought a carbon tax, which would impose fees for carbon emissions in an effort to curb climate change.
We were surprised that it didn’t pass given how serious people are in this state about environmental issues. Perhaps supporters expended too much energy and money demonizing Big Oil and defending themselves.
We were also pleasantly surprised that voters disregarded the Seattle Times endorsement of Republican Joe Fain in the Legislative District 47 state Senate race. Mona Das, a Democrat, pulled ahead of the incumbent Fain, a couple of days after the election. Fain has been accused of raping a woman in a Washington, D.C. hotel room in 2007, an accusation he denies.
The Times stood by its endorsement of Fain, even after the rape accusation became public. The Times editorial board wrote on Oct. 10, “We believe Candace Faber’s accusations should be taken seriously and fully investigated. Fain has denied the allegations in two statements. He called for a full investigation. However, an investigation does not appear likely.”
That remains to be seen. Perhaps just the mere accusation was enough to sway voters.
Another race we were closely watching was the Washington State Supreme Court race between incumbent Steve Gonzalez and relative unknown Nathan Choi.
Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu wrote a scathing op-ed against Choi. She urged voters, especially Asian Americans, to look past the Asian name and vote for her colleague, Gonzalez.
Though Gonzalez won easily with 75 percent of the vote, we were astounded that Choi got 188,019 people to vote for him.
In February, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office sued Choi for a wide range of campaign finance violations during the 2017 election year, and the King County Bar Association found that Choi violated the bar’s Fair Campaign Practices Guidelines.
Choi has refused to be interviewed by the news media. On his campaign website, Choi stated that he is a patriot and that he will be a “Rule of Law Judge. This makes me unpopular with the Main Stream Media and the Establishment.”
While dismayed that so many people voted for him, we are relieved that Choi did not win.