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Which Democrats are immune to tax ads?

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 15, 2010 at 11:27 am with No Comments »
April 15, 2010 11:27 am

The answer: Not very many.

A number of freshmen and swing-district Democratic legislators were cut loose by their party to go their own way on tough tax or budget votes. But very few voted no across the board.

If the key bills are the main tax package, the tobacco taxes, and the operating budget that depends on both of those tax increases, the list of Democrats who opposed all three is small. I only see four: Rep. John Driscoll of Spokane,  Rep. Tim Probst of Vancouver, Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, and just one from Pierce County: Rep. Troy Kelley of Tacoma.

Of course, Republicans may be able to find a way to portray even some of those strident ‘no’ voters as tax-hikers. There are thousands of votes for opposition researchers to mine, including bills that let local governments or voters raise taxes, and a construction budget that counted on the tax package. (Failing that, ads can always just lie. Not that that has ever happened.)

But the others will be easier to tar with the tax brush, even if they didn’t vote for the main tax package. Among South Sound legislators, Rep. Larry Seaquist and Sen. Derek Kilmer opposed the $668 million package, but they voted for tobacco taxes; Reps. Mark Miloscia and Christopher Hurst opposed both, but they voted for the operating budget (Hurst switched to no for the final vote); and Sen. Claudia Kauffman voted for both the budget and the cigarette taxes while opposing the biggest tax increase.

Republican candidates and politicos I’ve talked to since the session ended are ready to pounce on those votes.

A few swing-district lawmakers from the region voted for all three measures, generally those with leadership posts: Rep. Dawn Morrell (who switched from voting no at first on taxes), Rep. Tami Green, and Sen. Tracey Eide.

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