Owen, McCraw for lieutenant governor
Washington’s lieutenant governor essentially has two duties: fill in for the governor when he or she is incapacitated or out of the state, and preside over the state Senate and its Rules Committee.
Of the five candidates for the position, Democratic incumbent Brad Owen is qualified to fulfill both responsibilities. But Republican attorney Marcia McCraw shows enough intelligence and promise that she rates a co-endorsement in the Aug. 19 primary. The top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 3 general election.
Owen, who is seeking his fourth term, was a Senate leader from Shelton during his 14 years representing the 35th Legislative District. He runs a tight ship in presiding over the Senate, requiring that senators conduct themselves with decorum and respect for each other and the institution. When the Legislature is not in session, he leads trade missions, hosts visiting dignitaries and visits schools promoting substance abuse prevention.
McCraw, a business and real estate attorney in Seattle, has worked as a policy analyst for King County Councilwoman Jane Hague on Eastside rail corridor issues. A Mandarin speaker, she would use the office’s “bully pulpit” to cultivate more trade with Asia. And as a longtime community activist, she would promote more volunteerism.
Also running for the office are Democrat Randel Bell of Olympia, Republican businessman Jim Wiest of Olympia and Spokane Valley resident Arlene A. Peck of the Constitution Party.
Three other state executives on the ballot have been doing a good enough job, in our opinion, that we are giving them our sole endorsement.
Reed for secretary of state
A Republican, Secretary of State Sam Reed has a deserved reputation for integrity and nonpartisan fairness.
This served the state especially well in 2004, when the governor’s race ended in a statistical tie between Dino Rossi and Chris Gregoire. Reed’s handling of the disputed election angered both Republicans and Democrats by turns, but he couldn’t be credibly accused of favoring either party.
Reed has also overseen extensive election reforms since he was first elected in 2000. None of his challengers – Seattle Democrat Jason Osgood, Mark Greene (Commons Party) of Bellevue and Marilyn Montgomery (Constitution Party) of Spokane – would be a trade up.
Sonntag for state auditor
State Auditor Brian Sonntag has been a high-profile champion of government openness and accountability since his election in 1993. He’s been vigorously carrying out performance audits of governments since the Legislature and a citizens initiative empowered him to do so in 2005.
His opponents, Republican Richard “Dick” McEntee of University Place and Constitution Party candidate Glenn Freeman of Kent, haven’t made a case for replacing him.
Kreidler for insurance commissioner
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is another case of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He’s been overseeing the state’s insurance industry for eight years, and he’s been a spectacular improvement on his headline-hungry predecessor, Deborah Senn.
Kreidler brings an unusual expertise in health insurance to the office; he’s been working on the problems of cost-control and access to medical care for decades, in the Legislature, in Congress and in the insurance commissioner’s office. With health insurance again a pressing issue, he’s a handy man to have around right now.
Kreidler’s opponents are Republican John Adams of Seattle and “nonpartisan” Curtis Fackler of Spokane.