Obama handily beats McCain in Newcastle

January 2, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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Gregoire, Reichert tops among local voters

Color Newcastle blue with a tinge of red politically from the November election. Barack Obama handily defeated

John McCain among Newcastle voters, according to a Newcastle News analysis of voting results from the city’s 11 precincts.

Obama received 61 percent of the 5,059 ballots cast in Newcastle. In King County, Obama got 70 percent of the vote; statewide, he garnered 58 percent.

In the East Hazelwood, Milepost and downtown east of Coal Creek Parkway precincts, Obama had twice as many votes as McCain. In seven of the city’s 11 precincts, Obama received 60 percent or more of the vote.

In the gubernatorial race, Chris Gregoire won by four percentage points over her Republican challenger, former state Sen. Dino Rossi, of Sammamish. Gregoire had 52 percent of the vote in Newcastle to Rossi’s 48 percent, and she carried nine of Newcastle’s 11 precincts. Rossi won in the Reserve/China Creek and highlands precincts.

Gregoire had 53 percent of the vote statewide and 64 percent in King County. She beat Rossi in 2004’s bitterly contested election by just 133 votes, following three vote tallies and a failed Republican court challenge. 

In this election, Democrats won the White House, the governor’s race and added House and Senate seats in Congress. While 2008 was not a good year for the GOP, Republican incumbent Dave Reichert defeated Democrat Darcy Burner in the state’s Eighth Congressional District as he did in 2006. 

Reichert defeated Burner by 39 votes among Newcastle voters. He won in six of Newcastle’s 11 precincts — the Reserve/China Creek, Lake Washington Ridge, West Hazelwood, the highlands, Meadowview Park/China Falls and Newcastle residents living west of 116th Avenue Southeast.

Burner won in the southeast Hazelwood/Lake Boren area, Olympus, East Hazelwood, Milepost neighborhood and downtown east of Coal Creek Parkway, and Windtree neighborhood.

Reichert won with 53 percent districtwide.

But the closest race in Newcastle occurred in the state House race between Democrat Marcie Maxwell and Republican Steve Litzow. While Maxwell won the 41st District race by 745 votes, Litzow prevailed by two votes among Newcastle voters. Maxwell won in six precincts (primarily west of Coal Creek Parkway in the Renton School District). She is a Renton School Board member whose district covers Newcastle, Newport Hills and north Renton. 

Litzow carried 60 percent of the vote in the Reserve/China Creek precinct, while Maxwell garnered 56 percent of the ballots among Milepost and downtown residents east of Coal Creek Parkway. A few votes separated the two candidates in the remaining precincts.

In the state Senate race, Democrat Fred Jarrett had 55 percent of the vote compared to Republican Bob Baker’s 45 percent among Newcastle voters. Rep. Judy Clibborn, a Democrat from Mercer Island, ran unopposed.

In the statewide ballot measures, Newcastle residents overwhelmingly (by 72 percent) approved Initiative 1029, a measure that would require extra training and state licensing of long-term-care workers.

Newcastle voters rejected Tim Eyman’s transportation ballot measure that would have opened car pool lanes to all traffic in off-peak hours and made other changes to state transportation. About 56 percent of Newcastle residents voted no to Eyman’s Initiative 985.

Newcastle voters gave the thumbs up (by 62 percent) to Initiative 1000, the so-called Death with Dignity initiative, which allows physicians to prescribe lethal medications for patients diagnosed with less than six months to live. The initiative is modeled after an Oregon law that has been used by a relatively small number of people since its passage in 1997.

“Newcastle voters took the time to educate themselves and weren’t misled by the scare tactics of the opposition campaign,” said Sue Beverly, a Newcastle resident who collected signatures to put the measure on the ballot. “Now, we must watch to see that the courts protect the rights of those who seek to avail themselves of the relief the new law provides.” 

Among statewide office holders, Newcastle voters favored incumbents: Democrat Brad Owen, lieutenant governor (60 percent); Republican Sam Reed, secretary of state (64 percent); Democrat Mike Kreidler, insurance commissioner (62 percent); Republican Rob McKenna, attorney general (68 percent); Democrat Brian Sonntag, auditor (65 percent); Republican Doug Sutherland, lands commissioner (53 percent); and Terry Bergeson, state superintendent for public instruction (50 percent). 

In the open state treasurer race, Republican Allan Martin won among Newcastle voters with 54 percent. Martin lost to Democrat Jim McIntire, who garnered 51 percent of the vote statewide, to replace incumbent Democrat Mike Murphy, who decided not to seek re-election.

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