by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
While Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43), and Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33) are unopposed for reelection, Rep. Marko Liias (D- 21) faces Republican Elizabeth Scott on the general election ballot.
Liias led the field of four primary candidates with just over 50% of the vote. Scott came in second place with almost 33%.
Liias is openly Gay, and earned high marks for successfully leading a push for new and enhanced state anti-bullying legislation. Liias' measure passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
He has also sponsored consumer protection legislation, and a measure to give small aerospace companies tax benefits equal to those the state offers Boeing.
Scott, on the other hand, is neither Gay nor progressive.
She is, in fact, linked to the Tea Party. Her list of endorsers might make SGN readers cringe.
One of them is John Koster, former state Representative and current Snohomish County Council member. Koster is running for U.S. Congress against incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen (D-2).
Koster has been a vocal opponent of domestic partnership rights, and he was a supporter of the No on Referendum 71 campaign, seeking to abolish them. ?
His campaign manager this year is Larry Stickney, one-time president of the Washington Values Alliance (WAVA), the author of Referendum 71, and campaign manager for Protect Marriage Washington. ?
Another Scott supporter is former KVI talk show DJ Kirby Wilbur. Wilbur heads the Washington chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the front group used by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch to fund Tea Party organizations.
A third Scott supporter is African American minister Wayne Perryman. Perryman is perhaps best known for his quixotic endorsement of Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele as a running mate for the Republican presidential nominee in 2008.
Perryman is also the author of several articles and blog posts asserting that sexual orientation is a choice, and therefore should not be protected by civil rights laws.
Nansen Pihlaja Malin - who bills herself as the 'Top Conservative on Twitter' - has also endorsed Scott.
Sen. Val Stevens (R-39) and Rep. Matt Shea (R-4) - both notoriously hostile to LGBT rights - are also supporters.
Scott is also endorsed by the NRA, the Gun Owners Action League, the Washington Farm Bureau, the Citizen's Alliance for Property Rights, and Human Life PAC, an anti-choice organization.
Scott's campaign manager, Megan Devere, is listed as a member of the Tea Party Patriots and the Seattle Sons and Daughters of Liberty.
SGN spoke with both Liias and Scott about the race.
Liias was guardedly optimistic about his campaign.
'It's about what I expected,' he told SGN. 'It's a difficult environment for Democrats. But when people hear about my record and my priorities, they're fine. People just need to hear it from me.'
Liias says the main issues voters want to hear about are jobs, the economy, public education, and senior issues.
'I have a positive message,' Liias says. 'People don't want to hear us tearing each other down. People want to know what you're going to do for the state.'
'My opponent doesn't want to do anything but bash me and bash the legislature,' he added.
Asked if LGBT issues were in play in the race, Liias admitted some of his opposition might be motivated by anti-Gay bias.
'Some people feel threatened by my votes - by my strong stand for equality,' he said. 'That's why I've been targeted. But I will not go down without a fight. I will go door to door to door to talk about my record.'
Initially, Scott was hesitant to talk to SGN.
'I think it's pretty clear who you'll be voting for,' Scott said.
Scott acknowledged that many of her supporters are anti-Gay, but she insisted she has no ill will toward the LGBT community.
'I'm not hostile to the Gay community,' she told SGN. 'Some of my longtime friends are Gay. I want them to be assured I'm not hostile to the LGBT community.'
Asked if she supported equal rights for LGBT Washingtonians and their partners, Scott said simply, 'I support all existing legislation.'
When asked specifically if she supported current state law on domestic partnership rights, Scott replied, 'Yes, I support the existing law [on domestic partners].'
Liias was quick to point out that Scott has stated in writing that she opposes 'granting same-sex domestic partners the equivalent rights and benefits of marriage.'
'She tells one crowd one thing and another crowd something else,' he said.
SGN readers can refer to Scott's questionnaire responses at washingtonvotersguide.com.
When she was asked if she would support future expansion of LGBT rights, Scott said 'No, probably not. If you're talking about marriage, no. I don't support anything other than marriage involving one man and one woman.'
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