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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 38
Neck-and-neck in the 1st District
Section One
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Neck-and-neck in the 1st District

Polls show homophobe John Koster in a virtual tie with Suzan DelBene

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Republican John Koster is in a statistical dead heat with Democrat Suzan DelBene in the race for an open seat in the First Congressional District, north of Seattle.

According to a KING-TV poll released September 18, Koster was favored by 46% of respondents and DelBene by 42%. The telephone survey of 593 likely voters was conducted between September 13 and 15, with a stated 4.1-point margin of error.

Koster's campaign manager this year is none other than Larry Stickney, one-time president of the anti-Gay Washington Values Alliance (WAVA), the author of 2009's Referendum 71, and campaign manager for Protect Marriage Washington, the group that tried to turn back Washington's domestic partnership law that year.

Indeed, Stickney and Koster go a long way back.

Stickney managed Koster's two unsuccessful congressional campaigns against Democrat Rick Larsen in 2000, and again in 2010. In 2001 he managed Koster's winning Snohomish County Council campaign, after which he became Koster's legislative aide.

In that post, Stickney drafted Council Resolution 03-026, which Koster sponsored, supporting the City of Everett's controversial monument to the Ten Commandments.

Stickney also helped draft a 2006 Koster amendment to the Snohomish County budget seeking to strike funding for a December holiday program because it included a performance by the Seattle Men's Chorus.

As a state representative from 1995 through 2001, Koster's claim to fame was his 'Freedom County' resolution - seeking to allow his hometown of Arlington to secede from Snohomish County and set up its own county government.

While Koster pitched 'Freedom County' as an anti-tax paradise, it is widely believed that he intended it as a haven for right-wing extremists.

PRAISES RUSH LIMBAUGH
In 1995, Koster co-sponsored a resolution to honor talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh as 'the epitome of morality and virtue.' The proposed text praised Limbaugh for 'performing 'libosuction' on young skulls full of mush and firing lethal shots with devastating aim at the whole spectrum of liberal ideologies.'

DelBene has charged that Koster is too extreme for the suburban First District, pointing out that he is anti-choice as well as anti-Gay, but respondents to the KING poll were evenly divided on the question of who best represents voters' social views. Forty-one percent said Koster and 40% said DelBene.

On the related question of who best represents 'the concerns of ordinary people,' 40% said Koster and 39% said DelBene.

The economy was the top issue for respondents - 59% said it was the most important issue to them in this year's election. Unfortunately for DelBene, 43% of respondents said Koster represented their views on economic issues, compared with 37% who favored DelBene.

A former Microsoft executive, DelBene was Washington Department of Revenue director in 2011. She ran unsuccessfully against Republican Dave Reichert for his Eighth District seat in 2010.

In both her 2010 run and her primary campaign this year, DelBene self-funded, spending a reported $4.5 million on her political aspirations. She is worth an estimated $50 million and therefore enjoys a considerable financial advantage over Koster.

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