At Seattle's Town Hall, Democrat Christine Gregoire would later that night buck up her supporters and urge confidence in the face — and the hope — of a recount. Town Hall, that graceful building with encircling pews, the epicenter of urban, urbane Seattle, looked like the Alamo.
Rossi and McKenna are distinctly and artfully suburban. Their political base in Sammamish and Bellevue grew in the high-growth 1990s, a decade that now appears to be the defining pivot from city to non-city life in the region.
That shift is accelerated in Snohomish and Pierce counties. It was the suburbanizing Pierce County portion of the 8th Congressional District that kept that seat Republican. It is the growing suburbanization of Kitsap County across the water that makes it less and less a ferry stop to Seattle's urban center. It was traditionally Democratic Snohomish County that pivoted away from Gregoire.
While pollsters and political consultants talked about the "suburban crescent" that would go Republican or shift Democratic, I think we are all missing the point of the departure of the suburbs from city life. It just happened here later than in Eastern metropolises. The suburban voter is more independent — not many swing voters reside in Seattle — and less abiding of the urban agenda that dominated our state.
They can go centrist Democrat as they do for Congress with Reps. Jay Inslee and Adam Smith. They can go right of center with new member of Congress Dave Reichert. They are certainly looking for voices to represent them that are neither rural nor urban.
Talking with one of the more-seasoned politicians of the Sammamish Plateau Wednesday night — a group gloriously indifferent to Seattle — there was something of a realization that Puget Sound had changed, even if Seattle has not. He spoke of highs and lows over the years, but of those who know Sammamish well and have seen it evolve in the past dozen years.
Sammamish? Nobody in Seattle knows Sammamish. They don't know its life and its troubles or why people move there with aspirations and hopes for a life in suburban America.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Good article on how the Puget Sound no longer centers on Seattle and how Rossi and McKenna use that to win: