August 12, 2019
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Appointed legislators lead after primary votes in 40th and 13th districts

Last week's primary election lacked the punch that's expected in next year's presidential races, but there were some noteworthy results.

Two legislators recently appointed to open seats were easily the leading candidates in their top-two primaries as voters weigh in on who will fill the seat until the 2020 election. Sen. Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes, took 48% of the vote in the 40th Legislative District, with Republican Daniel Miller in second place with 30%. Two other Democrats split about 22% of the vote. The race is to fill out the rest of the term of former Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island. The Seattle Times has more.

On the other side of the mountains, Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, took 70% of the vote to 30% for Democratic challenger Steve Verhey. Both candidates will advance to the fall ballot for a rematch in the 13th Legislative District to see who serves the rest of the term of former Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg. The Yakima Herald-Republic has more.

In Seattle, which featured energetic races for the City Council, all of the candidates favored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's political organization will appear on the ballot, with two (including incumbent Debora Juarez) leading their primaries. And while business-minded candidates will be on the ballot, so will many of the year's most left-leaning candidates, including two who identify as socialist.

One of them, incumbent democratic socialist Kshama Sawant, won 33 percent of the vote, an unusually low figure for an incumbent. She'll face Egan Orion in the general election. Orion, the chamber's preferred candidate, won 23 percent of the vote in a crowded field.

In that race, as in the others in the City Council race this November, "most voters will be presented with two distinct visions of how the city will move into the future," Crosscut reports.

However, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, this appears to be a status quo election in the Emerald City, one that could move the council a little more to the left.

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Solutions Needed

Washington's China trade dilemma

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Trade-dependent Washington state is in a tight spot as the U.S.-China trade war escalates.

Voters should start thinking now about what course they'd like to see the White House take if the trade war continues beyond 2020.

While just 37% of Washingtonians voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, the majority are now depending on him to successfully address China's ongoing theft of intellectual-property and unfair trade practices harming the state's economy.

Whether Trump's unpredictability, bombast and use of tariffs as a bludgeon result in a good outcome remains to be seen. Patience with his tactics will wear thinner if there's no progress this year and the U.S. enters a recession. Then the risk is that Trump caves, letting China off the hook and giving Wall Street a bump ahead of the election.

Both parties share some blame. The Democrats' 2016 presidential candidate joined Trump in turning against the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by President Obama. That multilateral trade agreement could have prevented this dispute. It would have imposed fair-trade rules around the Pacific Rim. That bloc would pressure China to comply without resorting to blunt and painful tariffs. Still undetermined is whether Trump has the right strategy, tactics and execution...

Republicans must be ready to seek change if Trump fails, and Democrats must be ready with an equal or better strategy to address China's unfair practices and improve trade relations.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Lawsuits Aren't the Answer on Climate

No Matter Which Way You Turn, Climate Litigation Hits the AEP Precedent Roadblock

By the Manufacturers' Accountability Project

Plaintiffs and supporters of the climate lawsuits filed against energy manufacturers are cheering recent decisions by federal judges to send cases in Rhode Island, Baltimore, and several California jurisdictions to state courts. The proponents of the cases are desperate to escape federal court, which have continually rejected climate liability suits. But, those cheers will be short-lived, as the cases have no more validity in state court. Mitigating the impacts of climate change is not a liability issue for either state or federal court. Selling and using energy is not a violation of tort law; it is necessary to modern life. Figuring out how best to address climate change concerns along with other key aspects of national energy policy, including affordability and energy independence, is the province of Congress and federal agencies.

In American Electric Power (AEP) v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court made these points abundantly clear, stating that the judiciary is not the venue for making climate change public policy judgments:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the unanimous majority opinion, stressed that setting national energy policy to account for climate change concerns was "within national legislative power," and that Congress and EPA are "better equipped to do the job than individual district judges issuing ad hoc, case-by-case" decisions...

What has become clear is that climate change is a shared global challenge whose solution won't be found in a courtroom. Rhode Island and the other communities that want to do something about climate change should join with manufacturers on energy innovations, not target them for baseless litigation.

Read the full column from the National Association of Manufacturers