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TRAIL MIX — November 15, 2012 

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Science: 2, GOP: 0

In the final weeks of the election, the Republican Party’s complicated relationship with facts came into sharp relief. First, their party line that global warming is a hoax became a not-so-funny punchline when an unprecedented, nearly 1,000-mile-wide storm hit the East Coast. Some hoax.

Then, just before the election you had a number of rightward-leaning pundits dismissing polls, saying “the vibrations feel right” (Peggy Noonan) for Mitt Romney, even predicting a landslide (George Will, Karl Rove). Forget science — they just felt it.

Well, science won again, as super-geek Nate Silver’s poll of polls nailed the outcome in all 50 states.

Teachers Beat Laptops

Idaho may be deep red, but education — voters seemed to say — remains outside the bounds of partisan politics, as they rejected Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna’s controversial reforms.

Another Weak Veep

Choosing a running mate is never going to win the White House, but it should at least help. For all the initial excitement over Paul Ryan as Romney’s No. 2, he didn’t help much. He couldn’t even bag his home state of Wisconsin.

As strategists debrief, it will be hard not to conclude that Romney would have been better served by choosing Rob Portman of Ohio or Marco Rubio of Florida. Both have run statewide campaigns, while Ryan only ever had to make his pitch to his safely gerrymandered little corner of Wisconsin.

The King of Counties

If you watched the Washington state results as posted to the Secretary of State’s website Election Night, it washed over you like a big, blue wave. Early on, during the 8 o’clock hour, several Eastern Washington counties’ results were posted, along with a few southwestern counties. Rob McKenna was smoking; Jay Inslee had to be sweating. But closer to 9 pm, King County’s results hit, and — Bam! McKenna’s lead turned into a 50,000-vote deficit. King County gave Inslee a 140,000-vote edge, which wound up making the difference.

It was a stark reminder that the road to Olympia still runs through King County. And that road is now bluer than ever.

Staying to the Right

So would Spokane County return to 2008, when it seemed to be growing bluer? Or would it get back to 2010, when Eastern Washington’s conservative bent reasserted itself? For an answer, look to the 6th District — our suburban district.

We only had one race in the 6th, as Rep. Kevin Parker did not draw an opponent, and Sen. Michael Baumgartner is not up for re-election until 2014. The one open seat did go Republican, with Jeff Holy besting former legislator Denny Dellwo. Despite the big night for Democrats, Spokane County stayed conservative.

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