Labor and environmental activists kicked off major door-to-door campaign efforts today in Tacoma, Olympia, Issaquah, and other communities. Democrat Jay Inslee is a major beneficiary of both as he campaigns against Republican Rob McKenna for governor in the week before mail-in ballots go out to voters.
Jeff Johnson, executive leader of the Washington State Labor Council, fired up a crowd in Tacoma this morning at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 76 hall, and Inslee joined him in making remarks to an estimated 200 workers. Democrat Denny Heck running in the 10th congressional race and Derek Kilmer in the 6th district also spoke.
“It is a very, very tight race” for governor in the Nov. 6 election, Johnson told the group.
The audience was full of workers that planned to go door to door talking to union households in Tacoma today about the importance of the election. Johnson estimated 500 people would be doing the door-to-door work in Olympia, Tacoma, city of Snohomish, Vancouver, and King County.
Inslee fired up the group, saying he was the candidate that would get up every morning the next four years to do “everything under the sun to get jobs” for Washington. He also pledged to support more apprenticeship programs to ensure that those wanting training can get it.
“I’m the only candidate with a jobs plan,” he declared.
Johnson said in an interview that he is seeing an upsurge of interest in the campaign work the past few weeks, including a record 179 volunteers for recent phone banks.
I showed up for the event at IBEW 46’s offices as part of my tag-along with the Inslee campaign today. I plan to do the same next weekend with the McKenna campaign.
In Tacoma, I talked to a state worker concerned about privatization under a McKenna administration and to machinists who said they like Inslee’s clean-energy approach to creating jobs. Recent news reports have suggested there might be a risk to relying on such start-ups.
Later in Issaquah, I watched Inslee talk to about 50 or 60 environmentalists gathered to support him and state Senate candidate Mark Mullet. Mullet is running against Republican Brad Toft for Cheryl Pflug‘s former position (now held temporarily by Republican appointee Dino Rossi).
I’m saving most notes from today for a later story, but I will say that the Washington Conservation Voters, which organized the door-to-door efforts in five communities today (also Olympia, Auburn, Snohomish and Bellingham), is planning an unprecedented push behind Inslee. Organizer Shannon Murphy said close to 150 people were expected in the effort today.
Over the campaign season, WCV plans to get 1,000 volunteers out doing door-belling work, the largest such campaign in its history, according to Brendon Cechovic, executive director. It remains to be seen how big an effect the environmental and labor pushes can have on the outcome.
Inslee told the labor workers his opposition has help from the conservative industrialist Koch brothers and Karl Rove, “but I have you.”
Updated to fix reference to IBEW Local 76.