If politics were boxing – and sometimes it certainly seems that way – then we have finished with the sparing and its now time for the main event. In other words, the general election will be nothing like the primary.
The primary election had its moment of angst for the Democratic and Republican parties. The new system, called the Top Two, no longer guaranteed that a Democrat and a Republican would move on to the general election. In some King County districts, it will be two Democrats vying for the seat.
However, that is the exception. Where races are contested around here, most still will have a Democrat and a Republican. That said, the general election offers candidates and issues of far-reaching significance. Voters should begin paying attention.
At the top is the battle for president of the United States. Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are hard at work trying to convince voters to choose them as the person to take the country beyond the past eight years of President Bush. Voters must choose between distinct political differences.
That’s also true in the race for Congress in the Eighth District. U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and Darcy Burner have been spatting at each other in press releases for the past two years. The next few months will take the rhetoric even higher.
It’s no less important at the state level. The rematch between Governor Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi already has taken up where it left off four years ago. The question this time is whether the voters like the job Gregoire has done or want to give Rossi the reins.
Races for the Legislature seem less of a contest. Most primary races weren’t that close. Those trailing have their work cut out for them.
If most partisan races look tight, it is nothing compared to the battles we can expect over several issues and funding packages.
Most significant is Initiative 1000, which would legalize assisted suicide. The issue goes to the core of most people’s beliefs.
There’s also the issue of Sound Transit’s Phase 2 plan to add more buses and extend light rail – at a cost of $18 billion to $22 billion.
Start thinking about all this now. The Nov. 4 election will be here sooner than you think.
Craig Groshart is editor of the Bellevue Reporter, part of the newspaper group that includes the Covington and Maple Valley Reporter.