Wash. Democrats Make Final Push to Get Out The Vote

Nov 5, 2012

In the final hours of the election, the state’s main political parties are engaged in massive get out the vote campaigns. They are especially critical this year, with several close statewide races and ballot initiatives. Deborah Wang has more on what the Democrats are up to.

Democratic candidates Maria Cantwell, Jay Inslee, Jim McDermott and Sen. Patty Murray at Sunday's get-out- the-vote rally in South Seattle.
Credit Photo by Deborah Wang / Northwest News Network

Washington state’s Democratic Party has been shuttling its candidates around in a big bus, which made its final stop in South Seattle yesterday.

On board were the state’s two senators, a congressman, the King County executive, and the party’s candidate for governor, Jay Inslee.

“How many votes you guys going to get? About 150 apiece? Good, OK, I’m counting on you!" said Inslee. "Because that 150 votes could make the difference.”

Inslee stood in the middle of a group of very eager high school students who were about to go out door to door, and then he led them in a cheer. "1,2,3 Washington!”

Benton Strong is the state’s Dem party spokesman. He says the candidates are getting volunteers psyched up for the final push.

“Their goal here I think is to just fire up some of these volunteers who have been working tireless hours to help get these folks elected," said Strong. Many volunteers have been working so hard in recent days they "haven’t spent a lot of time with their families," he added.

Strong says the state’s Democrats are known for their get out the vote operation. As of last week, the party had made more than three million phone calls and knocked on 1 million doors. Strong says they are targeting a wide variety of voters, not just likely democrats.

“We know that Washington State is a blue state, and so we think a significant number of those people are going to vote for Jay Inslee, they are going to vote for Barack Obama, they are going to vote for Maria Cantwell," he said. "So we are going to talk with as many of those folks as we can and get them to turn their ballots in.”

At Sunday's get-out-the-vote rally, the Democratic candidates reminded volunteers just how important every vote is in the state. Congressman Jim McDermott, who is running for his 13th term, is heavily favored to win re-election. But he reflected back on a race in 2004 that was more of a struggle.

“Christine Gregoire won by 127 votes, the governorship, now that’s about one vote for every 20 precincts in this state," he told the crowd. "So you don’t know which one of those phone calls is going to make the difference.”

With the governor’s race this year in a virtual dead heat, the get-out-the-vote drive could make the difference between winning and losing on Election Day.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio