Pin It

Campaign Notebook 

by Kevin Taylor & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & A & lt;/span & woman called The Inlander last week wondering how a voter gets good intel on judicial candidates. She wanted to know if we'd written anything to illuminate the masses.

Lady, we're just as befuddled as you are. We were hoping to dodge the whole thing. Thanks a lot.

As it turns out, the Spokane County Bar Association offers evaluations of the four district court races; and a progressive statewide group, Citizens To Uphold the Constitution, offers information in state Supreme Court races.

Locally, the bar association ( polls its members -- 910 questionnaires were sent out this year, 255 returned -- looking for a 1-to-4 rating of the candidates in the areas of legal ability, judicial temperament, integrity and experience. In addition, a panel conducts extensive interviews and separate questionnaire of the candidate for an overall evaluation. (See the results below.)

The Citizens To Uphold the Constitution "sounds a little scary," The Inlander's caller said, but appear to be progressives fighting off right-wing attacks on the judicial system. Their Web site,, collects newspaper and blog stories about judicial candidates.

Don't Vex the Vets

Another group with ratings that voters turn to for guidance is the Disabled American Veterans, which tracks votes on congressional measures that benefit vets.

"Our voter scorecard has been used -- this election season in particular -- as a weapon," says Lisa Bogle, a legislative support aide in the DAV's Washington, D.C., legislative office.

Her boss, Joseph Violante, DAV's national legislative director, says Project VoteSmart is the most egregious violator of the ratings -- using outdated 2005 statistics that show many Republicans as having a zero rating from the DAV.

"What they are doing is using just the votes from 2005, not the entire congressional session," Violante says. And VoteSmart has resisted appeals to update its Web site. He adds DAV is raising the stakes: "Our general counsel sent them a letter."

Cathy McMorris has been mentioned in this breath by Democratic activists around Spokane. And it's not exactly fair. McMorris -- along with most Republicans in the Inland West finished the 109th Congress with a 66 percent rating from the DAV, meaning they voted for two of the three bills that helped vets with medical care.

Even this is misleading in the political mudslinging over veterans' benefits, Violante says "Yes [funding] increases. Is it adequate? No.

"The large majority of funding comes out of the pockets of vets in co-pays or by third-party insurance companies. Close to $2 billion annually now comes from vets and third-party insurers -- not the federal government," Violante says. "So when you factor that in, these increases aren't as large as everybody is claiming."
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • A Win for Everyone
  • A Win for Everyone

    The water protectors at Standing Rock achieve an important victory
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • My Dinner with Fidel
  • My Dinner with Fidel

    Looking back nearly 20 years, when three Americans sat down with the Western Hemisphere's most notorious communist
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • 'No' to Sessions
  • 'No' to Sessions

    Trail Mix: Murray opposes AG pick Sessions, McMorris Rodgers' future
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Winter Glow Spectacular

Winter Glow Spectacular @ Spokane County Fair & Expo Center

Through Dec. 11, Through Dec. 23 and Through Dec. 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Kevin Taylor

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment


green zone




Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Guilty Climate Pleasure
  • Guilty Climate Pleasure

    How the Inland Northwest could take the lead in addressing global warming
    • Apr 22, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation