Will of LL voters in sync with local outcomes
Splash Staff Writer
If the only votes that counted were cast in Liberty Lake, Mitt Romney would be president, Rob McKenna would be governor and measures to allow same-sex marriage and the legalization and regulation of marijuana would have to try again another year.
Local ballot trends didn't match up well with statewide and national results, where Democrats and progressive positions gained historic success Tuesday. Closer to home, it was a different story.
The first wave of election returns indicates Liberty Lake voters are even more Republican than Republican-leaning Spokane County and even more conservative than the state's staunchly conservative 4th District.
The Splash analyzed early returns Tuesday to see how Liberty Lake voting patterns compared with overall results on local races, statewide initiatives, statewide offices and federal offices.
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Washington state's 4th District, which encompasses most of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, hasn't elected a senator or representative who was a Democrat since Republican Larry Crouse defeated incumbent Democrat George Orr in 1994. Liberty Lake voters helped boost Shea to re-election.
The Spokane County board of commissioners looks like it will remain solidly Republican, as incumbent Mielke and O'Quinn will likely join Republican Al French, whose four-year term expires in 2014. O'Quinn replaces retiring commissioner Mark Richard, also a Republican.
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Discrepancies between Liberty Lake and statewide results particularly show up on the social issues, as the state was in position after Tuesday's returns to change the way it defines marriage and remove criminal and civil penalties for marijuana use while licensing and regulating its production.
Both measures would lose in Liberty Lake. Initiative 502, incidentally, was passing among Spokane County voters with 52 percent support.
We won't list out all nine statewide executive offices, but suffice it to say, the numbers show very similar margins from a Liberty Lake perspective.
Statewide, most Democrats held more comfortable margins than Inslee's election night cushion, with one exception. Republican Kim Wyman led Democrat Kathleen Drew by 14,000 votes in a tight race for secretary of state, 50.4 to 49.6 percent.
The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that if Drew comes back and the other races hold steady, it would be the first time since 1960 that one party controlled all nine seats.
One other statewide race to note is the only contested Supreme Court election, where Sheryl Gordon McCloud's 55.1 percent share of the vote seemed to be a comfortable enough margin over Richard B. Sanders at 44.9 percent. Liberty Lake voters favored Sanders by nearly opposite margins, with 54.6 supporting the sometimes controversial and Libertarian-leaning justice. The race, however, attracted more than quadruple the "under" votes of most other competitive races in Liberty Lake. A full 22 percent of Liberty Lake ballots left the Supreme Court contest blank.
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U.S. REP., 5th Dist. Overall LL
While the will of Liberty Lake voters lined up with the comfortable win for McMorris Rodgers, true statewide or nationwide races trended Democratic.
Despite considerable Liberty Lake support, Spokane's Baumgartner was barely trailing in Spokane County after Tuesday's returns and far behind statewide.
The presidential race, as one might expect, resulted in the most ovals drawn on Liberty Lake ballots. Only 12 of the 3,731 Liberty Lake ballots counted through Tuesday left this race unmarked.
Breaking down Liberty Lake
All six precincts trended Republican and normally took positions that would be labeled as conservative. One exception might be Initiative 502. The marijuana measure was passing among unincorporated Liberty Lake voters.
Among city residents, precinct 4303 stood out consistently as the most Republican. The precinct is made up of voters in the southeast quadrant of the city, roughly east of Molter and south of Country Vista Drive.