12. November 2023 · Comments Off on FUSE Washington – Legislative Wrap-up 2023 · Categories: Announcements

There were some incredible wins for progressives across the country in this year’s elections. Ohio voters enshrined the freedom to make their own reproductive health choices – including abortion – into their state constitution, Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear won re-election in a deep red state, and Democrats swept both houses of Virginia’s state legislature, denying MAGA Governor Glenn Youngkin a Republican trifecta.

Even in some very red areas, Democratic voters turned out to stop Moms for Liberty candidates, keep election overthrowers out of auditor offices, and defied the mainstream media’s manufactured panics about enthusiasm and the booming economy.

It was also a great night for Fuse’s top priority races where we focused our resources across the state. From taking back the Spokane Mayorship to defending the democratic majority in Bellevue, our investments in advertising, mobilization, and Get Out The Vote efforts made a big impact.

There were more mixed results in school board races across the state, complicated by a mix of wins, losses, and still-unclear results in contests that featured right-wing Moms For Liberty candidates. Progressives also had a tougher time in Seattle, where more centrist candidates who were backed by a late infusion of $1 Million from business-backed PACs are winning most of their races.

After 12 years of conservative mayors, Spokane has elected a Democrat to lead the city! Lisa Brown holds what appears to be a reliable 3% lead in the race, and offers the chance to transform city and local government in Spokane. Spokane voters rejected MAGA Republican incumbent Nadine Woodward, due in part to her embrace of domestic terrorist and former state Rep. Matt Shea in August.

Betsy Wilkerson, with her 6% win over Republican Kim Plese, has become the first-ever Black president of the Spokane City Council! We’re excited to have helped elect Wilkerson as part of our Spokane independent expenditure campaign. We know she’ll get right to work on her top priorities, like finding ways to encourage homeownership for families of color with more accessible down payment assistance and educational programs to address racial disparities.

City Council candidate Paul Dillon canvasses with Fuse staff in Spokane

The Spokane City Council provided plenty more good news, as longtime Planned Parenthood VP and Fuse partner Paul Dillon defeated Katey Randall Treloar, and former U.S. Army reserve medic Kitty Klitzke won her race for District 3, bringing to the council a strong advocate for making our streets safer for everyone walking and rolling. Although Lindsay Shaw fell short in her race to unseat incumbent conservative Michael Cathcart in District 1, we know she’ll continue to be a powerful progressive leader in the community.

Across Spokane County, voters rejected the expensive new jail measure by an overwhelming 63%, capping off a successful campaign by Fuse and our partners to defeat this $1.7 billion boondoggle. Spokane residents deserve proven, cost-effective approaches to public safety, not pointless new jails rejected by legal experts.

Fuse helped fuel these wins by organizing a powerful coalition of partners in Spokane that raised over $450,000 to run a comprehensive Get Out The Vote campaign targeting infrequent progressive voters and exposing the right-wing candidates’ extreme positions.

Progressive city council members Janice Zahn and John Stokes were re-elected by voters, protecting Bellevue’s narrow 4-3 democratic majority! Eastside Progress, our Bellevue-based PAC for Eastside races, organized a $50,000 independent expenditure campaign in support of Stokes and Zahn. Despite receiving maximum donations from billionaire developer Kemper Freeman and other prominent Republicans, conservative candidates Paul Clark and Betsi Hummer were soundly defeated.

Bellevue City Councilmember Janice Zahn campaigns with Fuse staff members

King County
Current Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is on track to be elected to the King County Council with 52% of the vote. Mosqueda, a former member of the Fuse board of directors, defeated Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon, who was embroiled in several recent controversies including removing the Burien Planning Commission chair, which led to nearly a dozen resignations in protest.

Pierce County
School board races featuring Moms For Liberty candidates produced some mixed results, with the Puyallup candidates who were caught on secret video celebrating being a hate group having won their races. But in Sumner-Bonney Lake, Moms For Liberty candidates Denis Caron and Paul Monsen have both been defeated by Kevin Lewis and Bill Gaines, respectively. Other high-profile Moms For Liberty candidates in the area also lost, with Janet Caldwell defeating Noa Bunting in Clover Park, and Megan Bearor defeating Mark Pampe in the Dieringer School District.

In Tacoma, Olgy Diaz successfully retained her At-Large position on the city council, where she has been a standout first-term councilmember. Less importantly, but more adorably, Diaz is also the proud winner of Fuse’s “Best Candidate Dog” competition that we held on our TikTok account.

Countywide Sheriffs winning in NW Washington
Two more progressive sheriffs were victorious over their MAGA opponents. Susanna Johnson defeated incumbent Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, who infamously hired Proud Boys and police who lied under oath to his office. Meanwhile, in Whatcom County, Donnell “Tank” Tanksley is set to win his race for the open sheriff seat against the Republican-endorsed undersheriff, Doug Chadwick.

Progressive Voters Guide results
The Progressive Voters Guide (PVG) reached a new milestone as we surpassed 300 PVG candidate recommendations for the first time in Fuse history! We ran guides in six states, teaming up with our progressive partner organizations in each state to pair local political expertise with our successful tech infrastructure.

Dots showing voters who used the Progressive Voters Guide across Washington

We saw strong interest in our data for who used the PVG, including 12% of all voters in Seattle and Tacoma, and 10% of all voters in Spokane and Bellingham! You may also have noticed that the guide is longer and more comprehensive than ever before, which came in response to your requests in our annual member survey last year. Thanks to Stephanie and Abigail for their tireless work researching candidates and ballot measures this year!

Civic Voices Fellows
We were thrilled to have six fellows on the ground in Southwest Washington this year for our Civic Voices Fellowship. Fellows Tammy Pham, Lee Weselmann, Ashlye Triebs, Luis Huerta Hernandez, Diana and Jorge Luis-Contreras all worked very hard at the campuses of WSU Vancouver and Clark College, and in their community, to register students and community members to vote. The fellows talked to students in their classrooms, organized campus events, tabled at community events, and worked on creative art and media projects. Some of their chosen art and media projects included creating TikToks, letters to the editor, memes, and even a zine!

2023 Fuse Civic Voices Fellows

The fellows also learned more about elections, policy, and important issues in their community in our education sessions with them. In these sessions they also got to meet organizations and individuals that are doing this work, expanding their network and career opportunities. The fellows are wrapping up their work now and we are super proud of them!

What’s next?
Tuesday was a true testament to how our strength comes from our members across the state. While we celebrate some important wins you made possible, we’re also pivoting quickly to build support for meaningful policy changes in the 2024 state legislative session.

Unlike political campaigns, our work doesn’t end on November 7. Planning for next year’s legislative session is already underway as progressives hope to pull key legislation from last year across the finish line. From balancing our state’s tax code to improving transportation and expanding affordable housing, we must keep pushing for progress in Washington. While the results are still trickling in from Tuesday, we’re also thinking about the 2024 elections, when control of the House of Representatives will run through Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. We’ll need to go bigger than ever to defend our vulnerable rural democrats like Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and defeat Donald Trump in swing states.

We need your help to make all this happen! Together, we can enact bold progressive reforms our communities need, and defeat the MAGA agenda in 2024.

More than 450 Fuse members donate monthly to fuel our year-round progressive organizing. Will you join the Progress Partners team by contributing $5 per month?

Thank you for all that you do,
Aaron and the entire team at Fuse

Want to support our work? Become a monthly donor!

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