Sunday, February 10, 2008

McCain's Washington washout

By now, I should've learned to expect the unexpected in this campaign. But I admit to being stunned by John McCain's poor showing in my neighbor state of Washington last night. Washington state Republicans tend pragmatic and economic, rather than ideological/evangelical...there hasn't been anywhere near as many social-conservative initiatives here as economic/tax-limiting. Their dream state candidate is Dino Rossi, a businessman-turned-politician who just missed winning the governorship in 2004 and is challenging incumbent Chris Gregoire this coming year again, despite her relatively strong record of success and a state budget surplus.

McCain pulled down about 25% of Republican votes. Mike Huckabee, who by rights should really not be competitive here based on his social conservatism and unorthodox tax plan, was close behind at about 24%--in fact, the race between those two was too close to call late into last night. Plus, everyone seems to have forgotten about anti-war, anti-tax Ron Paul, who got another 20+% of the vote. I've seen a LOT of Ron Paul lawn signs and bumper stickers in my mid-sized eastern Washington workplace. If you do the math, only a third of pragmatic Washington Republican supported their presumptive nominee yesterday--pretty surprising for a party that supposedly falls into line when the nominee is determined.

They're just not cottoning to McCain as you would expect them to...there's a lot of unhappiness out there, and at least two vehicles for that unhappiness remaining in this race. Rough waters ahead for the skipper, if the Washington state results are the beginning of a trend.


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