Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia–based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin was a freelance general assignment reporter at KING–TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He also worked as a freelance education reporter for KPLU–FM, the Tacoma–based NPR station. Austin spent 2001 in Washington, D.C. as a Knight Foundation/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Austin has also worked as a television reporter in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and has a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Over the years Austin has won numerous professional awards for his reporting. He lives in Olympia with his wife Jennifer Huntley and their two children.

Read Austin's blog, "The Washington Ledge: Dispatches From Olympia."


Wash. Governor Race
6:35 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Candidates For Wash. Governor Await More Vote Tallies

Republican Rob McKenna
Credit Austin Jenkins

The two candidates for Washington governor are still awaiting more voting tallies in an election contest that remains to close to call. At this hour, with votes still being counted, Democrat Jay Inslee leads Republcan Rob McKenna 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent. The McKenna campaign is hoping for a turn-around in the numbers.

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Northwest News
9:29 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Washington Race for Governor Too Close to Call

It’s déjà vu. Once again, Washington’s race for governor is too close to call. Democrat Jay Inslee leads Republican Rob McKenna by nearly three percentage points with just over half the expected ballots counted.

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Pretrial Hearing For Robert Bales
5:50 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Bales Hearing Underway

Prosecutors have made opening arguments in a hearing for the Washington soldier accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers earlier this year. The pretrial hearing for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is expected to last several days.

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Pretrial Hearing For Robert Bales
5:02 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Prosecutors: Video Shows Caped Sgt. Bales Returning From Murders

Army prosecutors have outlined their case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He’s the Washington soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians in two villages. At a pretrial hearing Monday the prosecution played nighttime surveillance video.

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Pretrial Hearing For Robert Bales
4:26 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Army Prosecutors: Sgt. Bales Exhibited 'Sheer Brutality'

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
Credit Maj. Brent Clemmer

Army prosecutors say Staff Sgt. Robert Bales murdered 16 Afghan civilians in two villages this past March in an act of “sheer brutality.” That was the opening argument at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine if Bales will face a full court martial and possibly the death penalty.

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Washington State Ballots
4:21 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Wash. Ballots With Late Postmarks Won't Be Counted

Washington voters can return their ballots via an official drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Credit eagle.dawg / Flickr

New polls show Washington’s open race for governor remains close. Already hundreds of thousands of Washington voters have returned their ballots. Many more will do so in the coming days. But county auditors have a warning to voters who wait until the last minute.

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Predicting Election Outcomes
5:19 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Statistical Models Help Modern Day Campaigns Project Outcomes

In vote-by-mail states, campaigns can find out on a daily basis whether or not you’ve returned your ballot.
Credit Washington Secretary of State website

What if there was a crystal ball that could reveal the outcome of an election? Turns out modern day campaigns use forecast models to project the winner of a race long before a single vote is counted.

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Wash. Paper Mill Reopens
6:34 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Paper Mill Reopening Is Cause For Celebration In Coastal Washington

Steam once again pours out of the stack at the once shuttered paper mill In Hoquiam, Wash.
Credit Northwest News Network

Grays Harbor County on Washington’s coast is tied for the highest unemployment rate in the state. But Monday there was cause for celebration. A shuttered paper mill there has reopened - nearly 18 months after it closed.

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JZ Knight Contributions
6:20 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

After Backlash Over Comments, Wash. Democrats Will Donate JZ Knight Contributions

JZ Knight runs the Ramtha School of Enlightenment near Olympia.
Credit Richard David Ramsey / Wikimedia Commons

The Washington Democratic Party says it will donate contributions from controversial spiritual leader JZ Knight to the Anti-Defamation League and the campaign to uphold gay marriage. The announcement late Friday follows the release of several video clips that show Knight making offensive and at times bizarre comments about gay people, Catholics and others.

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Undecided Washington Voters
5:31 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Still Undecided Voters Could Decide Wash. Governor's Race

Around 8 percent of Washington voters are still undecided on who they will pick for governor.
Credit TVW

As they make up their minds over the next week-and-a-half, undecided voters could decide the outcome of Washington’s race for governor. Recent polls show 7 to 8 percent of the Washington electorate is still on the fence – at least when it comes to who should be the next governor.

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